The Deep Culture Academy is an education and training project sponsored by the Japan Intercultural Institute, an NPO dedicated to the learning made possible by intercultural experiences. In includes intercultural education and training seminars, workshops and special events. It oversees the Deep Culture Seminars and Certificate Program.

Deep Culture Seminars and Certificate Program

Deep Culture Academy sponsors workshops designed for intercultural educators, trainers, those working in international settings, and those who seeks to grow through intercultural experiences. The seminars were developed over a period of five years at the Japan Intercultural Institute, through the work of Joseph Shaules (e.g. Deep Culture, 2007; The Intercultural Mind, 2015). Seminars provides the latest insights into culture, mind and learning. Participants tend to be individuals who have had meaningful intercultural experiences, and who are committed to the deep forms of intercultural learning.

Why Deep Culture Learning?

The goal of deep culture learning is insight that leads to intercultural effectiveness and personal growth. Cultural understanding involves learning about cultural difference, but its key element relates to cultural self-understanding. Deep culture understanding involves exploring how the communities you grew up with have shaped your thinking styles, values, identity, perceptions and worldview. Deep cultural understanding is difficult because we take these fundamental elements of perception and self for granted; deep culture patterns are like water for a fish–we don’t notice them until we are a fish out of water. Foreign experiences give us an opportunity to gain insight into these deeper parts of the self, and of the foreign cultural patterns we experience. Deep culture understanding allows us to play a more active role as a cultural “bridge person” someone who lives among and between different cultural communities.

What is special about the deep culture approach?

Deep: Deep culture learning goes beyond the surface level of culture and behavior. Gain insight into your cultural patterns, and different ways of seeing the world. Deep culture learning leads not just to knowledge, but also personal and cultural insight.

Meaningful: Deep culture learning is not just acquiring knowledge and skills. Gaining intercultural insight helps us develop personally, and encourages more meaningful intercultural experiences.

Effective: The insight and understanding that comes from deep culture learning makes us more effective living and working interculturally. We become the “bridge person” who can reconcile seemingly opposing viewpoints and values, and play a constructive role in a global world.

Who developed this approach?

The deep culture approach was developed by Joseph Shaules (PhD), through a series of seminars sponsored by the Japan Intercultural Institute, as well as through collaboration with Matthieu Kollig (MA) and Yvonne Van der Pol (MA). Course content is grounded in research into cultural and cognitive neuroscience, and social psychology. Seminars include information about relevant research, and are committed to academic and intellectual rigor.

Our inspiration: Learning Mission—A Vision of Edward Hall

Visionary thinker Edward T. Hall (e.g. The Silent Language, 1959) felt that globalization creates challenges and opportunities for humankind. Hall believed that the biggest barrier to deep forms of intercultural understanding is unconscious cultural conditioning—we are largely blind to how culture shapes our mind and perceptions. Today, research in cultural psychology and cognitive neuroscience is shedding new light on how culture shapes fundamental elements of cognition, emotion, and identity. Informed by Hall’s vision, the Japan Intercultural Institute seeks to help achieve deep forms of cultural and personal self-understanding.