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IUPUI to host international conference of language and culture

Yairam Perez
Yairam Perez

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August 1, 2012

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Courses that simply teach the Spanish language don’t adequately prepare non-Hispanic supervisors to effectively interact with their Spanish-speaking employees, Yairam Perez learned during research to earn his master's degree at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

In the workplace, courses to help non-Hispanic supervisors effectively interact with Spanish-speaking employees must include a combination of language acquisition and Hispanic cultural educational components, according to Perez.

His research led Perez, a Cuban native, to develop a new Spanish language and culture course for non-Hispanic managers.

Perez will present his research findings and discuss his development of “Leadership and Cultural Spanish for a Non-Spanish Speaking Workforce” during a workshop at an upcoming IUPUI conference for linguists and researchers of second language instruction.

The 7th Intercultural Rhetoric and Discourse Conference takes place Aug. 9 to 11 at IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd. The Indiana Center for Intercultural Communication, a language, intercultural research and training center that is part of the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, is hosting the conference.

“The goal of the conference on intercultural rhetoric and discourse is to further research and to create collaborations among leading research universities and organizations,” said ICIC Director Ulla Connor, Ph.D.

The conference typically attracts more than 100 participants from the U.S. and abroad. This year’s conference will feature speakers and workshop leaders from Brazil, China, Egypt, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain and Turkey, as well as the U.S.

“ICIC helped establish the first conference of this kind in 2004, and we are very pleased the conference has now returned to Indianapolis,” Connor said. “It will help us continue our important research on intercultural communication, benefitting the global business community for years to come.”

In addition to speaking at the ICIC conference, Perez will teach his “Leadership and Cultural Spanish for a Non-Spanish Speaking Workforce" course this fall as part of the Continuing Studies program at IUPUI.

Perez worked in the hotel industry in Indianapolis while earning his bachelor's and master's degree in organizational leadership and supervision at IUPUI. Now a college admissions counselor and business instructor, Perez also works as a consultant for companies hiring Hispanic employees with the goal of helping their managers bridge cultural and language gaps.