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in the classroom

Firmly Planted in Three Cultures

Moira RogersMoira R. Rogers is firmly planted in three cultures. Born and raised in Argentina, she spoke French at home, went to a German school and learned Spanish while in grade school. She now lives in Harrisonburg and speaks English fluently, is an associate professor of Spanish at Eastern Mennonite University and has done a major research project in Germany for which she is receiving special recognition.

Dr. Rogers, who joined the EMU faculty in 2003, will receive a "BMW Award for Intercultural Learning"—yes, from that car company—for a project she undertook, "International Construction Camp: Building Blocks for Peaceful Living in the 21st Century" and published under the title, "Active Peacebuilding from below. Intercultural Learning in Construction Camps. A Study." From July 2003 to August 2004, Rogers worked as an intercultural consultant for the Institute for Youth and Society, a research branch of the Reichenberg Fellowship, an intentional, ecumenical community based in Reichelsheim, Germany.

"My task was to articulate the group’s extensive intercultural work with young people in scholarly terms, to design and implement several units to promote intercultural learning— Germany in 2003; St. Petersburg, Russia in 2004—including individual reflection and assessment tools for all participants, and to make recommendations for the improvement of the organization’s intercultural practice," Rogers said. The award seeks to promote exemplary, innovative projects in intercultural learning on a global scale and motivate positive and peaceful coexistence among peoples.

This is an opportunity to put a variety of skills to work in the facilitation of wholistic, intercultural learning…this is a key building block of peacebuilding efforts so sorely needed today.

With a "focus on practice," the project meets the following criteria:

"This award represents a major milestone in my personal, professional and faith journey, as it represents a major shift in my research field and an opportunity to put a variety of skills to work in the facilitation of wholistic, intercultural learning," Rogers said. "This is a key building block of peace building efforts so sorely needed today."

Rogers describes the Reichenberg Fellowship as "an amazing group of persons who represent a broad range of educational and cultural backgrounds. They are engaged in projects aimed at promoting family issues and social needs in international settings.

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"I met members of this group many years ago in Argentina and was impressed with their commitment to combining personal faith and action," she added. "I’m eager to continue cooperating in the development of new initiatives that make a difference in this world." Rogers, accompanied by the Fellowship director, Dominik Klenk, plans to attend the award ceremony, on Mar. 3, 2005, in Munich, Germany.

The EMU professor received her undergraduate training at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, an M.A. degree from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary and a Ph.D. in science and technology studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Most recently she has done training in intercultural communication at the Intercultural Communication Institute in Portland, Ore.

—Jim Bishop (C 67), public information officer