What is Intercultural Communication?

Intercultural Competence = Applied Social Justice

Cultural Competence. Intercultural Communication. Cross-Cultural. Multiculturalism. Privilege. Ethnicity. Race. Racism. Racist. Code Switching. Ethnocentrism. Xenophobia. Cultural Humility. White Supremacy. White Superiority. Reverse Racism. Patriarchy. Bigotry. Allyship. Structural Racism. Transphobia. Cisgender. Equity. Equality. Dominator Thinking.

All of these terms are floating around right now in the US, and they are used in many different ways. Though we can’t say that we’ll have the last word on these concepts, at P-P-T, we do think they are all useful and have distinct meanings. We have a short definition of all of them in our glossary. In this section, we’ll give you an overview of what we think are the most useful entry points, highlighting the work of some incredible thinkers & doers from right here in Portland.

Then we’ll tell the story of how we started as moonlighting English teachers, and ended up launching a socially responsible business offering Intercultural Communication services.


Local Luminaries In Intercultural Communication

Portland, Oregon houses the Intercultural Communication Institute. They offer a Master of Arts in Intercultural Communication. You can’t get a better starting place for Intercultural Competence than this short, readable document here:

Developing Intercultural Competence For International Education Faculty and Staff – Dr. Janet Bennett (2011)

The Oregon Health Authority Office of Equity and Inclusion has been working to define cultural competence in health care. This presentation is very helpful, particularly with respect to defining what cultural competence is.


There are 3 elements to Intercultural Communication:

Lived Experience & A Lifelong Process

Awareness of Code Switching

Desire to Connect/Empathy