NOVEMBER 8, 2016
The Kentland Rotary Club held its luncheon meeting at noon on Tuesday, November 8 at The Depot due to election activities being conducted at the club’s regular meeting location in the Ryan Community Center.  A hearty lunch preceded an enjoyable business meeting and discussion of the Chicago Cubs World Series championship.
Andrew Martin, Cooperative Extension Director for Newton County, was the guest speaker.  His presentation was entitled Navigating Difference: Cultural Competency, and his focus was how people and the community can be open to accepting increasing levels of diversity and dealing with the resulting change.
Andrew began by noting the differences between club members and the degree of unrecognized diversity in the group, noting that some differences are visible and some are less visible. Presently, there is attention focused on diversity among and between people, by reference to racial injustice and white privilege. There are primary, secondary, and organizational dimensions that reflect diversity, with primary (non-changeable) dimensions being, for example, age, race, and gender, while secondary (somewhat changeable) dimensions are education, income level, marital status.  Organizational dimensions examples are job, work location, and union affiliation.   Culture is a socially transmitted worldview learned and shared by a group that influences values, beliefs/biases/prejudices, customs, and behaviors and is reflected in their language, food, material culture, and social institutions.  Human nature, people in relation to activity, the natural world, time-orientation, the type of social culture, were discussed, and how these, together, welcome or exclude those who bring differences to the community.  “What is necessary to change a person is to change the person’s awareness of himself.”  Andrew, who has traveled and worked in South America, Africa, and several Middle Eastern countries, provided personal experiences in understanding other cultures and working with people of diverse backgrounds, values, and beliefs.  It is a rewarding experience if one is open-minded.  The Rotary Club thanked Andrew for his interesting presentation.