Travel has always been one of the best ways to open your horizons and learn about other cultures and traditions, but with busy schedules and financial restraints, that’s not always possible.
A new book by a local practitioner of diversity and inclusion initiatives gives families 101 ways to increase diversity and inclusion in their lives without having to hop on an airplane—although that is still recommended.
Skot Welch has been working professionally in the area of diversity and inclusion since 1993. In 2005, he opened his own business, Global Bridge Builders, which focuses on increasing “innovation through inclusion.”
“It’s not just about the training, we build systems and framework,” he said. “We work with organizations on how they purchase, policies, leadership, communication, branding, their entire process.”
Welch realized often times conversation around diversity and inclusion can be a bit “heady” and he wanted to bring the topic down to a personal level with easily digestible suggestions on how to incorporate activities into daily life that build cultural competency.
So, he wrote “101 Ways to Enjoy the Mosaic,” a book that gives people 101 activities they can participate in that will help them explore other traditions and cultures.
“I wanted to write a book that was accessible, fun and demystified,” he said.
Activities in the book include things like going to see a foreign film, attending a cultural festival outside of your own heritage, and increasing the diversity on your children’s bookshelf.
The activities challenge people to step outside of their comfort zone.
“Generally, if we are not careful, we become creatures of comfort and habit,” Welch said. “We don’t grow from comfort, we grow from uncomfortable situations.”
He added, “These are things that are fun, but that exposes you to something that is different. That is where your human radar starts putting on different signals.”
Welch said one of the things that happens when people visit a foreign country is their senses come alive and they take in so much more than they would in their typical environment. He hopes the activities in the book create an environment that mimics that heightened experience.
Welch said one of his favorite activities from the book is breaking bread. He advises readers to “invite someone over to your house who has a different ethnic, cultural, and/or religious background than you” and “prepare a meal that shows off your own culture with love and pride.”
“The table is the heart of the community,” he said. “Just talking and fellowshipping and connecting as human beings. A meal tends to do that.”
Not content with his own 101 list, Welch also asks people to share their own ideas for building diversity in their lives on the 101 Ways website.
Ultimately, Welch hopes his book helps individuals and families expand their horizons and create a better more understanding and supportive community. He also hopes it builds better leaders, noting that the earlier children are exposed to diversity and cultural understanding the better citizens of the world they’ll become as adults.
“The goal is that people will become more adept and even hungrier for situations where they aren’t with everybody else who looks, thinks or acts like them.”
“101 Ways to Enjoy the Mosaic” is available through Amazon and at select bookstores.