Preface to the 3rd edition 

The second edition of Cultural Portraits continued to generate feedback about the usefulness of the book to ELL teachers, guidance counselors, and school administrators. This third edition has the same thrust as the previous ones and remains a user-friendly resource for educators. Non-educators will still find a wealth of information in each country’s portrait to help them better understand their colleagues or employees from other countries, or prepare them for visits abroad.

There continue to be 80 country portraits.
Figures on each country’s population have been updated and ranked by size.
Gender Gap data have also been updated to reflect recently reported changes.
Figures on Literacy have been made current; however, unlike previous editions, they are now indicated not only by the total population but have also been broken down to male and female literacy as well for a more accurate portrayal. Literacy figures appear in each country’s Educational Profile and as an appended file.
Both UNICEF’s report on Poverty in Education and The Gini Index (distribution of family income) has been updated to reflect currently available information.
Several portraits have been strengthened with additional information to reflect political and societal changes, brought about by wars and social unrest. Where change appears imminent but has not taken place yet, a notation will alert the reader of it.
The Glossary has been strengthened with the addition of more entries, partly in response to queries and partly to provide definitions for the added information in this edition.
Finally, the Educational Profiles have been totally reviewed to reflect a country’s structure of education and its various grading systems so that guidance counselors may have the correct information needed to evaluate foreign student transcripts.

Cultural Portraits, 3rd edition 


Cultural Portraits has been written for those who work with persons whose cultures differ from ours; it provides a framework for developing cultural proficiency, thus bridging the culture gap that exists today which often results in miscommunication and ineffective productivity.

Would you know that Chang Wu Jiang’s last name is Chang, not Jiang? Or that handing some-thing to an Arab with your left hand is an insult? Or that, at birth, a Korean is one year old? Cultural Portraits answers hundreds of such questions and empowers you with valuable information not only about cultural practices but with explanations about terms we hear daily (i.e., “jihad,” “Sunni”).

If you are a school principal, a corporation executive, a registrar, an institutional dietitian, a social worker, an immigration attorney, a policeman, a guidance counselor, a director of personnel in a factory, a professor or a classroom teacher, a foreign student adviser, a business man, or just a tourist traveling around the globe, there is something in Cultural Portraits to help you avoid offending the sensibilities of others and spare your embarrassment.
A review of the ratio of foreign-born to native students in the US classroom makes evident the need to heed Marzano’s conclusions:

• In 1994, 1 in 20 foreign-students grades K-12 were attending US schools;
• In 2004, 1 in 10 foreign-born were attending our schools;
• In 2015, 1 in 5 are attending US schools;
• It is projected that in 2026, 1 in 3.5 students will be foreign-born; and
• by 2050, the number of native vs. foreign-born students will be 1 in 2!

Robert Marzano’s research for his publication of What Works in Schools links academic achievement to effective teachers who are able to relate to the students’ backgrounds in order to make connections with Instruction. A Culturally Responsive curriculum also requires teachers to validate the cultural backgrounds of the students and their families, thus motivating students to share with other classmates as all students develop cultural proficiency. Cultural Portraits is helping teachers recognize the caveats and cultural patterns that shape perceptions–which serve as relatively stable indicators of how students perceive (cognitive domain), interact with (affec-tive domain) and respond (physiologically) to their environment.

Cultural differences cover a wide range of values and behaviors. If we wish to get through con-flicts or recognize possible misunderstandings and miscommunication, we must first seek to identify the differences that are causing the conflict and then decide the best solution for the situ-ation.

Consider these two examples of insufficient cultural knowledge that resulted in diplomatic embarrassment: during a meeting of the Big Eight a few years ago, President Carter addressed then German Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt, by his given name: “Helmut;” and at an encounter with the king of Saudi Arabia, President Obama, head of state, bowed to King Abdullah.

Cultural Portraits is a valuable resource for resolving challenging issues and addressing cultural questions to help you do your job with renewed confidence; and even though population figures may experience gradual changes from year to year, culture requires many generations to change ever so slowly, so the information contained in this publication will continue to be valid for years to come.

…a tremendous asset to a wide range of professionals: expertly written, user friendly, and comprehensive in scope; I urge you to add this excellent book to your shelves.B. F., Woodbridge, CN.


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3rd Edition       80 Countries       25 Categories

Cultural Portraits is divided into four parts:

Each Portrait presents succinct information on 25 categories:
The country’s Flag; Maps of the Country and of the World; Official Name of the Country; Loca-tion; Size; Capital; Population; Political System; Race/Ethnicity; Language(s); Religion(s); Chal-lenges; Family; Gender Gap; Proxemics; Caveats; Education; Dates; Numbers; Time; Name Structure; Diet; Body Language; Punctuality; and Cultural Patterns.

Click here to view an example of a Country Portrait

Each country’s Educational Profile indicates the ages of compulsory education; gives the begin-ning and end of the academic year; gives a schematic sequence of levels of learning (from Pre-K and Primary to Secondary and Post-Secondary Education) and the certificates / diplomas earned at that level, if any; and it provides brief explanations on the country’s system which will help the evaluator interpret an academic record. Each Profile also includes a valuable section on Secondary Education grading (often two or three different systems), with suggested US equivalents; and includes a convenient Transcript Vocabulary section (from Spanish, Portuguese, French, French Creole, German, Russian, Italian and Vietnamese to English) to help understand most course entries on a student transcript.

Click here to view an example of a Country Educational Profile

The Glossary reflects brief explanations of words or terms used in the text that may be foreign to the reader (i.e., Farsi, Portuñol) or confusing (i.e., Ethnicity, Sharia law) to facilitate the reader’s understanding of the entries. The extensive Glossary includes all words that appear in Italic script.

Click here to view an example of the glossary

The Appendix section at the end of the book contains information on a number of topics, with most being tangentially-related to culture. A sample follows: A synoptic glance at world cultures; alphabets of the world; world literacy; ranking the world’s universities; diets around the world; gender gap map; the numbers 1–100 in different numeric systems; numeric words and symbols; good luck and bad luck numbers; understanding Arabic names; a time zone map of the world; weights and measures, et al.

Click here to view an example of the Appendix


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pushzenithCP 3rd Edition