Canadians Are Leaders in Cultural Intelligence

The Gazette

By Marian Scott

Montreal — First there was IQ – intelligence quotient. Then there was EQ – emotional intelligence (the ability to monitor and be guided by one’s own and others’ emotions).

Now there’s a new kind of intelligence that is increasingly indispensable in today’s global village.

CQ – cultural intelligence – is a must-have skill, not just for foreign diplomats but also for businesspeople, public sector workers, military personnel and just about everyone in multicultural societies.

And Canadians score more highly in it than people in the United States, United Kingdom and France, according to a recent study.

CQ is a heightened awareness of cultures – including one’s own – that makes a person more sensitive to people from diverse origins. It implies having a broad knowledge of customs and beliefs among different nationalities, ethnic groups and faiths. It also reflects a person’s motivation to overcome cultural barriers, and confidence in one’s ability to communicate with people from different cultures.

In an era of conflicts some attribute to a clash of civilizations between secular Western values and Islamic fundamentalism, CQ holds out hope for dialogue and mutual respect.

“It’s a person’s ability to look at and conceive of a situation from different angles,” said Daniel Lagacé-Roy, a professor of ethics in the department of Military Psychology and Leadership at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., where future officers receive training in CQ.

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