Scholars from throughout world to meet on URI’s Providence campus for communication conference

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KINGSTON, R.I. – June 30, 2014 – Professors, scholars and students from throughout the world will gather at the University of Rhode Island’s Providence campus next month to brainstorm about ways to improve and promote global communication.

Sponsored by URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media and the International Association for Intercultural Communication Studies, or IAICS, the conference will be from July 31 through Aug. 3 at URI’s Feinstein campus, 80 Washington St., Providence.

Founded nearly three decades ago, the association is an international academic group of scholars from more than 32 countries, including the United States, Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Iran, India and Chile.

The group meets every year at different places around the world. Last year, participants met in Vladivostok, Russia. Professor Guo-Ming Chen, Professor of Communication Studies at the Harrington School, was successful in luring them to Rhode Island this year.

“International scholars from many fields, including communication, language, business and education, benefit from opportunities to exchange information to help bridge cultural divides and promote cultural understanding,” he said.

The program’s pre-conference event features a free screening of the one-hour documentary film by Tiffany Schlain, “Connected,” which uses animation and archival footage to share a personal portrait of Leonard Schlain, author of Art and Physics and The Alphabet vs the Goddess. The film explores the visible and invisible connections linking major issues of our time, including the environment, consumption, technology, human rights and the global economy. The screening, at 6 p.m. July 31 in Paff Auditorium, is free and open to the public.

The IAICS conference also features Professor David Bellos of Princeton University, winner of the Man Booker Prize for translation and author of the book, Is that a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything. Bellos will talk about the pros and cons of having just one language for the global community. He’ll explore what language the global community really speaks and examine whether it’s possible to understand another culture without speaking the same language. His keynote, “Stop, Learn, Listen! Language in Intercultural Communication,” will start at 10 a.m. Aug. 1 in Paff Auditorium.

The other keynote speaker is journalist Llewellyn King, who will focus on the media and global energy. His weekly television show, “White House Chronicle,” airs nationwide on PBS. King will talk about the “new world order” in communication, with information and disinformation, the one-source piece and “vulnerable truth.” King says the new media landscape is more speed and less space, with an absence of accountability and fewer editors and reporters. He questions whether it is the end of the golden age of newspapers and the beginning of the age of citizen journalism, dominated by opinion rather than reporting. His talk, “The Media Revolution,” will start at 10 a.m. Aug. 2 in Paff Auditorium.

During the conference, more than 200 papers will feature the work of scholars from 30 countries in a variety of fields and disciplines in the arts and humanities, languages, communication, business, education and the social and natural sciences. URI faculty including Norbert Mundorf and Joy Ye are among those giving talks.

Other talks include:

* “Sustainability, Communication and Culture” by Chen, professor of communication studies at URI. The talk will start at 11 a.m. Aug. 1 in Room 202.

* “National Boundary in International Communication” by Cho Roland Nkwah, Binzhou University, China. The talk will start at 2 p.m. Aug. 1 in Room 202.

* “Digital Media and Communication” by Cecilia Basabas-Ikeguchi, Tsukuba Gakuin University, Japan. The talk will start at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 1 in Room 228.

* “Advertising and Culture” by Trisha T.C. Lin, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The talk will start at 5 p.m. Aug. 1 in Room 203.

* Branding, Marketing and Culture” by Doreen D. Wu, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong. The talk will start at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 2 in Room 233.

* “Intercultural Understanding Through Communication” by Diri I. Teilanyo, University of Benin, Nigeria. The talk will start at 2 p.m. Aug. 2 in Room 202.

* “Acquiring Cultural Awareness and Communication Skills” by Priscilla Young, Peking University HSBC Business School, China. The talk will start at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 2 in Room 202.

A banquet for registrants will be held at the Providence Public Library, 150 Empire St., the evening of Aug. 1.

For details about the conference and to register, visit IAICS Conference or email Jonathan Friesem, assistant director of the Media Education Lab at the Harrington School of Communication and Media and a doctoral student in media literacy, at

In addition to the Harrington School and IAICS, the other key sponsors of the conference are URI’s Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Confucius Institute of URI.

Photos above: David Bellos, a world-famous translator, and Llellwyn King, a nationally recognized journalist and energy expert. Both are keynote speakers at the International Association of Intercultural Communication Studies, July 31 through Aug. 3, at the University of Rhode Island’s Feinstein campus in Providence. Photos courtesy of David Bellos and Llellwyn King.