Obama’s Possible Miscue on Culture

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

 
Chicago Reacts to Olympic News
Photo by Presswire
 
 
 
The 2016 Olympics will be officially held in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (yes, I am spelling it with an “S” instead of a “Z”… spelling with the “S” is the official Portuguese way). It was a joyous occasion for people of Brasil because this will be the first time that a country from South America would host the Olympics.

It was a bit of a shocker for the rest of the world because Chicago was the first one to be eliminated. People were touting that Chicago would be a sure winner, especially with the support of some famous people like Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, and Oprah Winfrey. But the clincher was having the President of the United States, Barack Obama physically there in Denmark to make the pitch for the 2016 Olympics coming to Chicago.

But the big question is: Did President Obama’s presence helped or hurt the selection process?

Kai Holm, a former International Olympic Committee (IOC) member believed that the short appearance in front of the IOC might have counted against him. In fact, Holm mentioned that the quick visit by President Obama was, “too business-like. It can be that some IOC members see it as a lack of respect.”

In most countries, especially in Asian countries that is how they would have perceived it. Since many countries value relationships over “getting something done,” it could have communicated the wrong message.

No Hollywood or rock star status would have been able to get the bid if the people making the decision perceive you as showing disrespect to them. Maybe President Obama should have stay a bit longer and mingled with the people more or he should have just stayed home and worked on some of the domestic and foreign affairs.

It might have been helpful if Obama had a cultural advisor so that they could have evaluated their trip before making the flight out to Denmark and meeting the international community. But it was interesting that David Axelrod, a White House senior adviser concluded it the defeat was due to the politics in the room.

This might have been true but we cannot eliminate the fact that maybe President Obama and his crew (including Oprah) failed to study the importance of cultural cues.

How often do we fail to study the cultural cues in a different country? A lot of times it will lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings. It can defeat us from sharing the Gospel. This is why we have to read the culture well.

Comments are closed.