Third Culture Kids at Diversity Symposium

Advert-DiversityAs the four dozen presentations, performances, workshops and discussions that make up this year’s three-day Diversity Symposium suggest, issues of diversity and inclusion surround every member of the Colorado State University community. And there are many lenses through which to view these issues: Symposium sessions will look through the lens of international and first-generation students; disabled students, faculty and staff; veterans; DREAMers; feminists; social justice advocates; even the lenses of gay rodeo and Hispanic haute cuisine.

What about an issue without an obvious lens? Featured speaker Ruth VanReken will uncover “Hidden Diversity and the New Global Order” at noon on Thursday, Sept. 24, in Lory Student Center Room 386.

VanReken, co-founder of Families in Global Transition, will discuss Third Culture Kids, Cross Cultural Kids, and why it’s important that higher education understand their importance for future generations.

Third Culture Kids — TCKs — are people who have spent a significant part of their developmental years outside their parents’ culture. The Third Culture Kid builds relationships to all the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into his or her life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of the same background, other TCKs. Along with Cross Cultural Kids — those who cross cultures/races during their formative years — they have been called “prototype citizens of the future” by sociologist David Pollock.

VanReken, herself a second-generation TCK and mother of three adult TCKs, co-authored the most popular book on this subject: Third Culture Kids, Growing up Among Worlds. In addition to speaking on hidden diversity to groups in many countries, including a recent TED Talk in Paris, VanReken runs

Other featured speakers at the 15th annual Diversity Symposium Sept. 23-25 include Rinku Sen, founder of Race Forward, at 7 p.m. Thursday in the LSC Theatre, and Fauna Hodel at noon on Friday in the Cherokee Ballroom.

All sessions are free and open to the public and take place in the Lory Student Center on the CSU campus; no tickets or pre-registration required.

Complete lineup of Diversity Symposium.