Difference between pages "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Armenia" and "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali"

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In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years.  Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.  
 
In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years.  Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.  
  
Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Armenia, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Armenia.  
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Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Mali, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Mali.  
  
Outside of Armenia’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Armenia are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.  
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Outside of Mali’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and Caucasian. The people of Mali are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.  
  
To ease the transition and adapt to life in Armenia, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during [[Armenia|pre-service training]] and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.
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To ease the transition and adapt to life in Mali, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.  
  
==Overview of Diversity in Armenia==
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===Overview of Diversity in Mali ===
  
The Peace Corps staff in Armenia recognizes the adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.  
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Trainees from less represented groups should come prepared to cope with being one of a few or possibly the only senior, African American, Native American, Hispanic American, Asian American, gay, or lesbian in their training group because the group of Volunteers in Mali is currently fairly homogenous: relatively young, Caucasian, and middle class. Yet Volunteers from less represented groups serve with the same high levels of effectiveness and satisfaction as other Volunteers.  
  
===What Might a Volunteer Face?===
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The Peace Corps staff in Mali recognizes adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.
  
====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers====
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===What Might a Volunteer Face? ===
  
Armenia has a traditional, patriarchal culture. Among the challenges of living and working in Armenia is learning to cope effectively and constructively with the different status of women and men and the different standards of behavior to which they are held.
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====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers ====
  
Female Volunteers may find that being a single woman living alone goes against the cultural norms of their community.  Besides receiving unwanted and inappropriate attention from Armenian men, female Volunteers may also have to work harder than male Volunteers to gain the professional respect of colleagues in the workplace. In addition, female Volunteers may experience resentment from host country women over their “male-like” position of authority in the community. Finally, female Volunteers need to keep a low social profile and practice discretion in public (e.g., not smoking in public or drinking in bars) to avoid developing an undesirable reputation.  
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Mali has a traditional, patriarchal society. Female Volunteers may be surprised by the extent to which community and domestic roles are defined along gender lines and how little control they have over this. Although women are becoming more visible, men generally hold positions of greater authority in the workplace, in the community, and in the home. This strong tradition can present challenges for female Volunteers, especially those in the agriculture and natural resource management projects, where they may be seen as taking on a typically “male” role. In addition, single women generally do not have the status and respect that come with marriage and motherhood. Thus, female Volunteers may find it challenging to have their ideas recognized and respected by both women and men.  
  
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color====
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color ====
  
Volunteers of color may face challenges both inside and outside the Peace Corps community. Within the Volunteer corps, you may be the only minority trainee or Volunteer in a particular project. You may not find minority role models among the Peace Corps/Armenia staff and may not receive necessary personal support from other Volunteers.  
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Although Malian society can be conservative, Volunteers generally find Malians to be hospitable and accepting of people with a wide variety of backgrounds. Nevertheless, Malians may have preconceived notions of Americans based on the kind of information available in Mali about Westerners, which comes mainly from television, movies, magazines, and local news reports, which often represent a limited view of American diversity. For example, Asian Americans are often called Chinois (Chinese) regardless of their actual background, and African Americans may not be considered Americans.  
  
Once you move to your site, you are likely to work and live with individuals who have no experience or understanding of a non-Caucasian-American culture. Because of ignorance, stereotyped cultural perceptions, or the country’s current or historical relations with other countries, you may encounter varying degrees of harassment. You may not be perceived as being North American, or you may be viewed with suspicion, or you may be evaluated as less professionally competent than a white Volunteer. In any community in Armenia where you are not known, you need to be prepared for staring, pointing, and comments. Finally, you should be prepared to hear derogatory terms and racial epithets that would be considered completely inappropriate in the United States today.
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====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers ====
  
====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers====
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Given their conservative values, homosexuality is not likely to be tolerated by the general Malian population. It will probably be impossible to be open about your sexual orientation and maintain a positive working relationship with members of your community. Other Volunteers and the Peace Corps staff will provide support, but you will find it very difficult to be open outside of that circle.
  
Respect comes with age in Armenia. Younger Volunteers may have to work harder than their older colleagues to be accepted as professionals. Older Volunteers may feel isolated within the Peace Corps community overseas because the majority of Volunteers are in their 20s.  
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'''See also:''' Articles about Mali on the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Peace Corps Alumni Association website at http://www.lgbrpcv.org/articles.htm Peace Corps recruiters can also send you a packet of helpful information.
  
Training may present its own special challenges. Older trainees may encounter insufficient attention to their needs for an effective learning environment, including timing, presentation of materials, comfort level, and health. You may need to be assertive in developing an individual approach to language learning.
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====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers ====
  
====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers====
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The high regard for seniors in Malian society lends support to senior Volunteers’ effectiveness at work. They, in turn, are able to find ways to use their extensive experience to assist their communities. However, seniors often comment that they feel a lack of camaraderie with other, mostly much younger, Volunteers. And the three months of pre-service training can be particularly frustrating for seniors because of the rigid schedule, classroom setting, and issues of integration with other trainees in the group. Language learning may present an additional challenge. However, most senior Volunteers find living and working at their sites to be very rewarding.
  
Gay, lesbian, and bisexual Volunteers have to practice discretion. Although
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====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers ====
homosexuality is no longer illegal (Armenia decriminalized homosexual acts on January 9, 2003), it may be considered immoral by some people. Certain styles of hair and dress (e.g., earrings on men) and mannerisms considered acceptable in the United States may be viewed with disdain or suspicion by Armenians.  Your basic civil liberties may be ignored, and you may be hassled in bars or in the streets.
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You may serve for two years without meeting another homosexual Volunteer or Armenian. Most Armenian homosexuals probably have migrated to larger cities, while many Peace Corps Volunteers are posted in rural sites. Relationships with host country nationals can happen, but as with all cross-cultural relationships, they are not likely to be easy. Lesbians will have to deal with constant questions about boyfriends, marriage, and sex (as do all women). Wearing an “engagement ring” may help. Gay men must deal with machismo: talk of conquest(s), girl watching, dirty jokes, etc.  
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Volunteers do not report negative reactions from their Malian colleagues about their religious beliefs. The majority of Malians are generally very tolerant of religions other than Islam. Proselytizing by Volunteers is not permitted, and it is wise to avoid confrontations over religious issues.  
  
The Peace Corps is committed to providing support for all Volunteers regardless of sexual orientation.
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities ====
  
====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers====
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As a disabled Volunteer in Mali, you may find that you face a special set of challenges. There are few services available for people with disabilities and local support is likely to be inadequate to accommodate a physically challenged Volunteer.
  
Volunteers are frequently asked about their religious affiliation and may be invited to attend a community church. Although Volunteers not in the practice of attending church may have to explain their reasons for not attending, it is possible to politely decline if the church or religious practice is not one of their choice. Most Volunteers find effective ways to cope with this challenge and come to feel quite at home in Armenia.  
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As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service in Mali without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. Peace Corps/Mali staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in training, housing, job sites, and other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.  
  
====Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities====
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[[Category:Mali]]
 
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In Armenia, as in other parts of the world, some people may hold prejudicial attitudes about individuals with disabilities and may discriminate against them. There is very little of the infrastructure to accommodate individuals with disabilities that has been developed in the United States.
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That being said, as part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service in Armenia without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. Peace Corps/ Armenia staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in training, housing, job sites, and other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.
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[[Category:Armenia]]
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Latest revision as of 07:57, 21 May 2014

Diversity and cross-cultural issues in [[{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |7}}]]
In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with their host countries, Peace Corps is making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |7}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |7}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |7}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |7}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |7}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |7}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |7}}]]
See also:
[[Category:{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Mali| |7}}]]

In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.

Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Mali, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Mali.

Outside of Mali’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and Caucasian. The people of Mali are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.

To ease the transition and adapt to life in Mali, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.

Overview of Diversity in Mali[edit]

Trainees from less represented groups should come prepared to cope with being one of a few or possibly the only senior, African American, Native American, Hispanic American, Asian American, gay, or lesbian in their training group because the group of Volunteers in Mali is currently fairly homogenous: relatively young, Caucasian, and middle class. Yet Volunteers from less represented groups serve with the same high levels of effectiveness and satisfaction as other Volunteers.

The Peace Corps staff in Mali recognizes adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.

What Might a Volunteer Face?[edit]

Possible Issues for Female Volunteers[edit]

Mali has a traditional, patriarchal society. Female Volunteers may be surprised by the extent to which community and domestic roles are defined along gender lines and how little control they have over this. Although women are becoming more visible, men generally hold positions of greater authority in the workplace, in the community, and in the home. This strong tradition can present challenges for female Volunteers, especially those in the agriculture and natural resource management projects, where they may be seen as taking on a typically “male” role. In addition, single women generally do not have the status and respect that come with marriage and motherhood. Thus, female Volunteers may find it challenging to have their ideas recognized and respected by both women and men.

Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color[edit]

Although Malian society can be conservative, Volunteers generally find Malians to be hospitable and accepting of people with a wide variety of backgrounds. Nevertheless, Malians may have preconceived notions of Americans based on the kind of information available in Mali about Westerners, which comes mainly from television, movies, magazines, and local news reports, which often represent a limited view of American diversity. For example, Asian Americans are often called Chinois (Chinese) regardless of their actual background, and African Americans may not be considered Americans.

Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers[edit]

Given their conservative values, homosexuality is not likely to be tolerated by the general Malian population. It will probably be impossible to be open about your sexual orientation and maintain a positive working relationship with members of your community. Other Volunteers and the Peace Corps staff will provide support, but you will find it very difficult to be open outside of that circle.

See also: Articles about Mali on the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Peace Corps Alumni Association website at http://www.lgbrpcv.org/articles.htm Peace Corps recruiters can also send you a packet of helpful information.

Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers[edit]

The high regard for seniors in Malian society lends support to senior Volunteers’ effectiveness at work. They, in turn, are able to find ways to use their extensive experience to assist their communities. However, seniors often comment that they feel a lack of camaraderie with other, mostly much younger, Volunteers. And the three months of pre-service training can be particularly frustrating for seniors because of the rigid schedule, classroom setting, and issues of integration with other trainees in the group. Language learning may present an additional challenge. However, most senior Volunteers find living and working at their sites to be very rewarding.

Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers[edit]

Volunteers do not report negative reactions from their Malian colleagues about their religious beliefs. The majority of Malians are generally very tolerant of religions other than Islam. Proselytizing by Volunteers is not permitted, and it is wise to avoid confrontations over religious issues.

Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities[edit]

As a disabled Volunteer in Mali, you may find that you face a special set of challenges. There are few services available for people with disabilities and local support is likely to be inadequate to accommodate a physically challenged Volunteer.

As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service in Mali without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. Peace Corps/Mali staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in training, housing, job sites, and other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.