Understanding Us & Them: Interpersonal Cultural Intelligence for Community Building


Product Details

Calvin College Press
Publish Date
October 04, 2019
5.98 X 0.44 X 9.02 inches | 0.63 pounds
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About the Author

Pennylyn Dykstra-Pruim, Ph.D. serves as a professor and associate dean for diversity & inclusion at Calvin University. Her enthusiasm for learning about cultures grew out of years teaching language and cultures and out of her personal experiences living in different cultures on four continents. She has designed and led workshops and courses on intercultural learning, cultural intelligence, intergroup dialogue, and Muslim Neighbors and Christian Hospitality. Her passion for creating brave, engaging learning spaces informs her approach to writing and presenting for broad audiences. In all her work, she seeks to engage people in learning about other cultures in order to provide both a lens and a set of skills to better understand ourselves and the world we live in. Penny has been nationally recognized for her work in language and culture teaching and is co-author with David I. Smith of the book Christians and Cultural Difference (Calvin College Press, 2016).


"For a number of years, I have been searching for a book that ably synthesizes intercultural theory and practice, lucidly explains and illustrates the complexity of interpersonal cultural intelligence, and provides excellent tools and resources for individual and small group use. I have also longed, in view of our society's deep divisions, for a resource that places intercultural skill building within the context of humble community building. Thanks to Pennylyn Dykstra-Pruim, my quest is now over. I encourage all who desire to more wisely love their neighbor to read, reflect upon and discuss Understanding Us and Them." -Dr. Tim Baldwin, Intercultural Educator & Consultant, the Bridging Cultural Differences Project

"Churches are surprised that their neighborhoods have changed right under their noses with the cultural blessings of the nations. Community meetings are more divided and polarized than ever. Family events have become the frontlines of strife and derision among members. We need help! Pennylyn Dykstra-Pruim has done the research, supplied compelling stories and interactive exercises that cultivates an atmosphere of learning, discovery, and change. My friends, help has arrived for all of us in need of a better way of encountering, embracing and enjoining ourselves that cultural differences are not only good for us but moves us into better spaces of hope." -Rev. Reginald Smith, Director Office of Race Relations and Office of Social Justice

"This book is funny, and candid, and oh-so-practical; a much-needed resource for groups who want to develop real relationships across lines of difference. Dr. Dykstra-Pruim knows what she's talking about -- as a teacher, an academic, a Christian, a mom, a person who longs for connection in an increasingly fractured world, these practical lessons offer hard-won wisdom, deep insights, and actual ideas for gaining the skills of interpersonal cultural intelligence. This book is for anyone who wants to connect meaningfully with others, which is a critical, faith-filled calling for each of us. These pages will be bookmarked, underlined, and dog-eared in no time!" -Rev. Kate Kooyman, CRC Office of Social Justice

"Understanding Us and Them is a unique approach to understanding oneself and others in order to build relationships with people of all cultures and backgrounds. By using cultural terms, authentic examples, and exercises, readers learn how to increase their Interpersonal Cultural Intelligence (ICQ) and thus create meaningful relationships with the diverse people around them. This is a fresh perspective and a great addition to the resources for building relationships cross-culturally." -Patty Lane, Director Intercultural Ministries, Baptist General Convention of Texas, author of A Beginner's Guide to Crossing Cultures (IVP)

"I have been waiting for a book like Understanding Us & Them for a long time. Dr. Pennylyn Dykstra-Pruim has written a book introducing "Interpersonal Cultural intelligence," a framework born out of years of work as a faculty member and years of lived experience. More than "one more book on cultural intelligence," this book is a "how-to" toolkit that belongs on the booklist of every person desiring to develop or add content and activities focused on cultural intelligence. Reading this book is like having Dr. Dykstra-Purim as a personal train-the-trainer coach. This will be my go-to book for years to come." -Dr. Michelle Loyd-Paige, Executive Associate to the President for Diversity and Inclusion, Calvin University