LARGE ABROAD: JA­MAICANS FIND­ING SUC­CESS OVER­SEAS Emer­ald Isle in­ter­cul­tur­al­ist

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOMETHING EXTRA - An­dré Poyser Staff Reporter an­dre.poyser@glean­

IN­TER­CUL­TURAL TRAIN­ING is a boom­ing busi­ness in Europe. The multi-ethnic na­ture of the con­ti­nent makes cul­tural tol­er­ance one of the key in­gre­di­ents which con­tin­ues to shape Euro­pean in­te­gra­tion. It was the recog­ni­tion of this fact that led Dr Liv­ing­stone Thomp­son to set up his Ire­land­based cul­tural train­ing agency, Liv­ing Cul­tural So­lu­tions (LCS).

LCS spe­cialises in in­ter­cul­tural train­ing, cul­tural aware­ness and cul­tural com­pe­tence train­ing, di­ver­sity aware­ness and man­age­ment train­ing. The agency pro­vides sup­port to busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions, across Ire­land and Europe, in how to op­ti­mise the ben­e­fit of cul­tural di­ver­sity to im­prove ef­fi­ciency and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

An in­tel­lec­tual en­tre­pre­neur of sorts, Thomp­son told The Gleaner that he got the idea for the busi­ness through the ap­pli­ca­tion of post­grad­u­ate re­search he had con­ducted for his doc­tor­ate in re­li­gious plu­ral­ism, with a the­sis that fo­cused on in­ter­cul­tural the­ol­ogy and world re­li­gions

As the prin­ci­pal of LCS, he has worked with a variety of com­pa­nies, de­liv­er­ing train­ing in cul­tural com­pe­tence and lead­ing Dr Liv­ing­stone Thomp­son’s pub­lished works.

global vir­tual teams. He has pro­vided train­ing for Ire­land’s largest ho­tel group and Ger­man elec­tric util­ity ser­vice provider E.ON In­ter­na­tional. He also de­vel­oped the di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion train­ing man­ual and work­book for the Malta Tourism Au­thor­ity, cur­rently be­ing used by tourism or­gan­i­sa­tions through­out the is­land­coun­try. Thomp­son also de­liv­ers work­shops in cul­tural com­pe­tence for tourism or­gan­i­sa­tions in Malta, Ire­land and the Caribbean.

The for­mer deputy head boy

of Manch­ester High School, who served as a min­is­ter in the Mo­ra­vian Church while in Ja­maica, mi­grated to Ire­land to pur­sue post­grad­u­ate stud­ies.


“I ar­rived with my fam­ily in Ire­land in Au­gust 1999 to pur­sue post­grad­u­ate stud­ies, first at the Ir­ish School of Ec­u­men­ics and later Trin­ity Col­lege, Univer­sity of Dublin. I first com­pleted the MPhil in ec­u­men­ics and later the PhD,” he said in re­sponse to ques­tions from The Gleaner. Dr Liv­ing­stone Thomp­son speaks dur­ing a train­ing pro­gramme in Fin­land.

Thomp­son pointed out that Ir­ish aside, there are many the fam­ily’s tran­si­tion to Ire­land op­por­tu­ni­ties for highly ed­u­cated was made easy by the help of an Ja­maicans in Ire­land. Ir­ish fam­ily, who were gra­cious “The Ja­maicans in Ire­land in help­ing them to set­tle in the in­clude peo­ple who are coun­try and with find­ing jobs. per­form­ing ex­tremely well in

“My first jobs in Ire­land, ed­u­ca­tion, busi­ness, com­mu­nity which I landed while pur­su­ing de­vel­op­ment, ac­count­ing and stud­ies, was as teacher of math­e­mat­ics fi­nance, tourism and in health, and com­put­ing at a par­tic­u­larly nurs­ing and so­cial vo­ca­tional school and a sales­man work­ing,” he said. for com­puter prod­ucts at a He also in­di­cated that there large com­puter store. Af­ter are op­por­tu­ni­ties to com­pete for com­plet­ing my MPhil and while jobs in com­put­ing and re­lated pur­su­ing my PhD, I started in­dus­tries and the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal lec­tur­ing in the­ol­ogy and church sec­tor. He, how­ever, pointed his­tory at the Univer­sity of out that the knowl­edge-based Dublin, Trin­ity Col­lege. Af­ter econ­omy of Ire­land de­mands com­plet­ing my PhD, I was then that job­seek­ers have a strong taken on as a lec­turer in world ed­u­ca­tional back­ground. re­li­gions and the­ol­ogy at “The gov­ern­ment puts a lot of Univer­sity of Dublin and Dublin em­pha­sis on sup­port­ing in­no­va­tion City Univer­sity, where I also and re­search in tech­ni­cal su­per­vised post­grad­u­ate fields, and there is a strong in­ter­est re­search,” he said while in start-ups, es­pe­cially in ex­plain­ing the var­i­ous jobs he com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy and held be­fore set­ting up LCS. re­new­able en­ergy,” he added.

The na­tive of Wales, near New­port in Manch­ester, is proud of his Ja­maican her­itage as it has taught him to be pas­sion­ate, hard-work­ing, po­lit­i­cally aware and assertive, when nec­es­sary; this, he said, has en­sured his sur­vival in the Ir­ish repub­lic.

“Ja­maica gave me a sharp eye for the machi­na­tions of power and the virtue of not al­low­ing one­self to be pushed around. Ja­maica taught me the value of hav­ing a good sense of hu­mour, to re­lax and en­joy life and even to laugh at my­self. In Ja­maica, I in­cul­cated strong Christian val­ues and a re­li­gious out­look at life and the world. All these have served me well liv­ing in Ire­land,” he said.

Thomp­son was or­dained in 1983 and has served at ev­ery level of lead­er­ship within the Mo­ra­vian Church in Ja­maica. His in­ter­est in in­ter­cul­tural stud­ies seems to have grown from his ac­tive in­volve­ment in the ec­u­meni­cal com­mu­nity through his work with sev­eral in­ter­faith or­gan­i­sa­tions in Ja­maica and the Caribbean.

In ad­di­tion to run­ning his cul­tural train­ing agency, the the­olo­gian now serves as the min­is­ter of two Mo­ra­vian churches in North­ern Ire­land, where he is based. His wife, who ac­com­pa­nied him to Ire­land, is a vi­ceprin­ci­pal at a pri­mary school in the Emer­ald Isle. The cou­ple has three daugh­ters, two are cur­rently pur­su­ing ca­reers in tourism and ac­count­ing and the youngest is still in sec­ondary school.


Thomp­son, who be­tween 2013 and 2015 served as pres­i­dent of the So­ci­ety for In­ter­cul­tural Ed­u­ca­tion, Train­ing and Re­search, Europe’s largest as­so­ci­a­tion of in­ter­cul­tur­al­ists, has learnt many lessons from his time in the Emer­ald Isle.

“I am con­stantly re­minded of how sig­nif­i­cantly cul­tural ori­en­ta­tion im­pacts com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Ja­maicans tend to speak di­rectly and their words usu­ally mean what they say. In Ire­land, speech is more in­di­rect and coded; words some­times con­ceal true in­ten­tions and views are not nec­es­sary hon­estly ex­pressed, in or­der not to of­fend,” he ex­plained.

The cul­tural nu­ances of the

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