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Dr Catherine Xiang unravels the nuances of intercultural communication with China


The Business Confucius Institute welcomed Dr Catherine Xiang from the London School of Economics on Thursday 16 May 2024 to give a guest lecture about Intercultural communication with China.

Over 70 staff, students and external guests attended in-person and online.  The networking opportunities, lecture and Q&A allowed them to make connections and consider the practical applications of Dr Xiang’s insights in their own life and work.

The lecture outlined some key concepts from Catherine’s recent book, 'Bridging the Gap'. Real examples of missteps from famous global brands demonstrated the importance of understanding the various factors that shape how the Chinese communicate, and relevant theoretical tools were also highlighted.

Breaking down the character for ‘listen’, 聽, Catherine showed all the context and cultural insight embedded in this traditional version of the character and observed that “Ancient Chinese worked out what we call active listening a long time ago!”

The networking session prior to the lecture brought some of these cultural details to life, with calligraphy by School of Design PhD candidate Jinpeng Xu and guzheng music from School of Music student Lijun Zhang.

Dr Xiang said:

It was an absolute pleasure presenting my new book Bridging the Gap at the University of Leeds to such an engaged audience. Many thanks to Leeds Business Confucius Institute for hosting me and for offering opportunities for discussion on the importance topic of intercultural communication with China.

Reflecting on the event, Business Confucius Institute UK Director Professor Lynda Song said:

As Catherine said in her slides: Developing intercultural competence is a lifelong journey. The BCI was honoured to accompany so many enthusiastic staff, students and guests this evening as they progressed further along this rewarding path.

View more photographs from the event on our Instagram.

Watch the recording on our Youtube channel

Text reading 'Bridging the Gap: Intercultural Communication with China' seen alongside the book cover and the author.

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