March 2020

Diversity and Cross Cultural Interactions

Earlier this month I was honoured to be a keynote speaker and open the International Nuclear Youth Congress for 2020 which was held in Sydney. This annual conference brings together people from all facets of the nuclear industry and was attended by 350 delegates from more than 35 countries. The theme for this year was Diversity in Nuclear and the mission was to promote and enable the diversity of people engaged in the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology. A key objective of the congress was to facilitate interaction between participants, particularly in the sharing of knowledge and ideas between professionals of different personal and professional backgrounds and different generations of nuclear experts.

My keynote set the tone for the 5-day conference and was titled ‘Unconscious Bias in Cross Cultural Interactions’. The presentation was very well received and highlighted the diversity in the room and also how bias can interfere in the process of working together and optimising results. It also prompted a discussion on the biases that exist within the industry itself and how it is perceived by those who are outside of it. A number of people mentioned that having a presentation such as mine was a great way to reset their thinking and raise awareness before they began the interactive, collaborative part of the conference.

I reflected after the congress, on the many conferences around the world which have international delegates and where there is an assumption that interactions will be mutually beneficial. I considered the numerous conferences that I have attended over the years where this was the case and how short-sighted I was. What I learnt from the Diversity in Nuclear congress was that if we are explicit about our assumptions and intentions, then it makes the interactions much more effective.

I have no doubt that face to face conferences will be back in vogue after this current COVID-19 pandemic has passed. Humans are social beings and the desire to share human connections are strong - this is something that the virtual world makes difficult to execute on a deep and personal level… but that is my bias!!



In this episode Tom discusses what we all can do to adapt ourselves in times of uncertainty and rapid change. Click here to listen



Book Recommendation:


The Curious Traveler: See the World. Change your Life, David Livermore

Curiosity can instantly connect you with anyone. It’s what sets us apart and it’s a key factor behind curing cancer, stopping terrorism, and resolving interpersonal conflicts. Meanwhile, international travel is the ideal laboratory for putting your curiosity to work. This is a book about the power of curiosity to improve the way we travel. Rooted in decades of research on curiosity and cultural intelligence, David Livermore explores the key research behind curiosity and exemplifies it through exploring the dilemmas faced when traveling abroad. These include quandaries like: Why do people always cut in line here? Why do they eat the fish eye? Why would someone give me the wrong directions instead of just telling me they don't know? Additionally, the book provides practical travel tips on everything from exchanging money, traveling on a budget, and dealing with jet lag. This book will equip you to leverage the power of curiosity and travel to make you happier, to connect with others, and to solve problems big and small.


Newsletter Footer