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mid-week Connect: 5/31/23 ~ Cultural islands

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

I have been thinking about islands lately so I thought we’d explore a few cross-cultural facets of islands this week. This fits into the PROfile component in our Global SKILLs PROACTive Framework and the HOME dimension of our 3D Dynamics cultural perspectives.* Often, especially if you visit an island as a tourist, you get a limited, packaged understanding of the island. Let’s go beyond that, shall we?!

Aside from being natural spaces where cultures can thrive due to their relative isolation, islands are also a rich source of cultural metaphors! Two such spaces in Senegal have come to mind recently, both of which were part of my cross-cultural experiences over the years.

One is the island of Fadiout, connected to the mainland at the village of Joal in the Sine Saloum Delta. Years ago I visited this area with a group of birders - we were checking out some local birding highlights and doing some research for several projects. The facet of islands I want to highlight here is the pedestrian bridge which connects Fadiout to Joal (see the notes below for images). It is a scenic but fragile appearing wooden structure - apparently the longest one of its kind in the region. Crossing over to Fadiout by this bridge, you enter a different world.

The other island is Ile de Gorée, just off of Dakar (the capital of Senegal). This space was a center for several hundred years of the slave trade. Today, Gorée is a beautiful island jewel - with the darkest of pasts which are commemorated in numerous ways. I have visited many times, for many different reasons but the one I want to share today was when our homeschool group did a 3 day art workshop offered by the Women’s Museum on the island. It was a marvelous time which took place under enormous fig trees in the ruins of a centuries old stucco estate. Local women taught us their traditional methods of tie-dye and block printing, and regaled us with delightful stories and a contagious joy in sharing their history and culture.

As we think of islands all over the world, and how they exist and function cross-culturally, I offer these two insights:

~ From Fadiout, it’s well worth paying attention to the bridges which connect these islands to the mainland, literally and figuratively! You might learn something in those connections - even as they serve the practical purpose of allowing you to experience the island space.

~ From Gorée, I encourage you to be aware of dark pasts which need to not be forgotten - but also, be open to cultural joys and celebration which each island offers.

Islands around the world are indeed special places…

How about you ~ what’s an island and one cultural insight associated with it that you have experienced?

Share about that with a friend or note it here.

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on island spaces.

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,



~ Related Connects: 4/5/23 - cultural appearances; 2/24/21 - cultural awakenings; 1/5/21 - new through old (scroll down from this post to the date)

~ an intriguing academic discussion on islands and islanders, and other dualities:

~ A Latin American cultural island example:


~ The two islands in Senegal which partiallyinspired this Connect:

* Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including:

3 Dimensional Dynamics Model: 1st dimension = HOME (which we explored this week)

; 2nd dimension = HOST ; 3rd dimension = HARBOR)

PROACTive Framework:

PRO = PROfile (which we explored this week), PROcess, PROgram

ACT = Application, Collaboration and Transformation

~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming:

2023 ~ Celebrating 40+ years of working in

intercultural communications and global community building

“It takes a community to build a community”

Please Note: this is copyrighted content.

Please do not reproduce or share without my permission (

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