Meeting Dr. Milton Bennett

I finally met Dr. Milton Bennet at the Second Asia Pacific International Forum: Intercultural and Global Citizenship Education in March 2016 in Perth, Australia. It felt so bizarre cause I just met Dr. Janet Bennett in January 2016 in Groningen, the Netherlands.

Dr. Milton Bennet is the creator of The Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) as a framework to explain the reactions of people to cultural difference. His model is widely used by interculturalists. The framework describes the different ways in which people can react to cultural differences. The DMIS consists of 6 different stages: denial, defense, minimization, acceptance, adaptation, and integration (Cushner, McClelland, & Safford, 2012). Each stage describes a cognitive structure that is communicated through attitudes and behaviours (Bennett, 2011).

At this conference, Dr. Milton Bennet talked about how immigration, asylum seeking and other forms of mobility frequently creates unequal power contact, generating movement from Denial (benign neglect) to Defense (active prejudice) or retreat from Minimization (tolerance) to Defense. When such contact happen quickly and/or massively, it is likely to be associated with violence.

We are all now global citizen. Global citizenship is about conducting one’s self in all matters with consciousness of cultural context, with respect for the equal complexity of every worldview, with competence in enacting a wide range of culturally appropriate behaviour, and with intercultural ethical commitment.