Culture reflects how a group of people live their lives. Values, religious practices, beliefs, art, customs, food, language and social interaction help to define a social group. Culture can evolve over time and is often impacted by aspects of other cultural groups. It isn’t uncommon for cultures to become similar to one another or even combine and take on a new identity. This fusion is known as cultural convergence.
Technology enables people from different countries to have immediate access to new ideas and cultural identities. Small and large businesses across the globe use the Internet to interact with a wide customer base. Adapting to customer interests and needs is a business necessity. The use of technology such as computers, cell phones and the Internet encourages global communication and provides opportunities for a fast-changing and evolving cultural experience.
The English language is a prime example of cultural convergence on a global scale. English has become a main language of communication for people around the world. Driven by economic realities, many countries have endorsed English as a language that is necessary for their citizens to learn. Business leaders realize that knowing English is a commodity that can mean financial gain. The success and power of Western markets have contributed to this cultural convergence. In many countries, English is taught to all school-age children as part of the regular curriculum. At the same time, teaching English as a foreign language in non-English-speaking countries has become a study-abroad and career option for Americans.
The political principles of democracy have seeped into different countries over time and represent the ideology of cultural convergence. Political leaders from democratic republics have encouraged other governments to explore the ideas of a democratic process. Democracies have served as a role model for engaged citizenry and this has influenced political change worldwide. For example, the Soviet Union, once a communist-ruled country, fell apart in 1991. The citizens pushed for a new political process that is now considered a form of democracy.
A sporting event is a culture of its own. Sports bring together people from all cultures that understand and appreciate the game. International events such as the Olympics, World Cup soccer and other global competitions allow international interaction and celebration. Respect for the sport and for the winner transcends individual differences and national boundaries, and deepens appreciation for the players as athletes. International teams can be followed over the Internet and television. Even spectators and players attending events in countries other than their own are exposed to new ideas and customs.
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.