The session on culture and conflict was very interesting to me and I learned a lot. As Dr. Iyer said, in cases where people label a conflict as a cultural conflict, it is, in fact, something deeper than culture. For example, values or norms. And so when it comes to tackling “cultural conflict”, it is important to dig deeper to find the underlying causes of the conflict rather than at the culture level.

In our discussion, we brought up many examples of such conflicts like FGM, child marriage or dowry in some societies. In these cases, people often say it is the culture and so it is not easy to challenge these practices. But in all these cases, we can look deeper and see why a certain practice has become the culture, what has caused it. And it is fascinating to see there is always an answer deeper than culture level. Personally, for me, it was a great exercise to look beyond a culture and try to find the root causes of a practice.

I come from a high culture context where there are many practices that are labeled as a culture. In this session, I had the opportunity to look at all these practices and find the root causes of such practices. And it is fascinating that I was able to find something deeper in all these “cultures”.