Friday March 16, 2012

Local News

Greeting Fluency Day

Celebrating cultural diversity in the community

Submitted by ex-Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan


ome and celebrate different linguistic, culinary and musical aspects of Vancouver. Learn basic greeting phrases in some of the languages of Vancouver and hear cultural insights from those who speak them.


Saturday March 31st

11am - 3:00 pm 149 W. Hastings Woodwards and SFU Complex


Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema "Greeting Fluency"

Woodward's Atrium "Culinary Fluency"


This is a free event for you and your family when you register here.


Special thanks to The CK Choi Foundation, The Mowafaghian Foundation, Citizenship and Immigration Canada


Global Civic Policy Society, Suite B100 - 750 Pacific Blvd., Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 5E7


For more information, visit:



Some background


Greeting Fluency Session: January 12, 2012.

Fifty participants joined us at the videotaping of the January 12 Greeting Fluency Session at the CBC Building Studio 700.


Mandarin, Farsi and Spanish were the focus of the evening.


The enthusiastic audience learned five basic greeting phrases for Mandarin, Farsi and Spanish and took away specially designed cards to help them use these phrases in the future. They also heard entertaining and interesting cultural insights from guest speakers including the following:

  • Mandarin instructor: John Weston, Member of Parliament West Vancouver

  • Mandarin cultural insights: BC Lee, former Vancouver City councillor

  • Farsi instructor: Massoud Habashi, International House Vancouver

  • Farsi cultural insights: Ramin Mahjouri, editor Paivand newspaper

  • Spanish instructor: Ana Castanio, International House Vancouver

  • Spanish cultural insights: Emilio Rivero, Mexico trade high commissioner.

Greeting Fluency is not about teaching language, it is about communicating respect. Several interesting projects are underway including a greeting fluency session for a parent group of a public secondary school and a Greeting Fluency Initiative for an elementary school. Do you have ideas how the concept of Greeting Fluency can be promoted? Let us know. Lynn here.

Over the last few decades, Vancouverís streets have filled with voices speaking more than 100 languages. For most of us the sounds seem like impenetrable babble. Although it is unlikely that any of us will become fluent in these languages, this should not deter us from discovering the treasures that they hold nor the richness of the relationships they can lead to. Global Civic founder Sam Sullivan believes that with a minimal amount of effort most of us can become Greeting Fluent.

The Greeting Fluency Initiative seeks to encourage citizens to learn simple phrases of greetings in the languages of their neighbors. This simple act communicates a profound respect for other cultural groups and opens a window onto the rich cultural experiences that are a part of our own community. The Greeting Fluency Initiative has several learning videos that are available for free to the public. These videos are created by native speakers and help teach greeting phrases so citizens can achieve Greeting Fluency.

The Greeting Fluency Initiative encourages citizens to learn a few words of greetings in the languages of their neighbors.

Our communities are becoming more multicultural and multilingual. This presents great opportunities for both the more traditional older communities and the newer ones. Older communities have an opportunity to gain insights into different languages and cultures and the experience of trying to learn another language. This also provides an opportunity to demonstrate respect and inclusiveness toward their newer neighbors and ensure a harmonious future for all. Newer communities can share the many aspects of their culture and language and by doing so enrich their new homes.

Although it is very unlikely that many from the more established communities will become fluent in the languages of their newer neighbors it is very possible that they can become Greeting Fluent. Greeting Fluency is defined by Global Civic as the ability to say up to nine useful phrases in another language. Global Civic Founder Sam Sullivan has made an effort through his life to learn the basics of the languages of his neighbors and he hopes to share the benefits with others.

We encourage community groups to host their own Greeting Fluency Sessions in which instructors come and share the treasures of language and culture that may be a part of their own neighborhoods. Learning a few simple phrases of greetings can help build more inclusive communities and make new neighbors feel a part of the broader society. This opportunity is also available to corporations wishing to sensitize their employees to their multicultural environments. Are you interested in hosting a Greeting Fluency Session? Please contact Global Civic to learn what opportunities and resources are available.

Next year a festival and conference will be held to celebrate the languages and cultures of our community. Workshops and tutorials will be available and citizens will have the opportunity to be certified as Greeting Fluent.

We now have available Greeting Fluency videos in Cantonese, Punjabi, Farsi and Tagalog. Over the next year many more languages will be supported through this website.


© Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice