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The Pacific-ICI Partnership


"Theory into practice, practice into theory"

The MAIR program is jointly administered by University of Pacific's School of International Studies (based in Stockton, California) and the Intercultural Communication Institute (based in Portland, Oregon).  Pacific's distinguished history in higher education dates back to 1851, and the university's pioneering initiatives in international education include a cross-cultural training program over three decades old.  The Intercultural Communication Institute (ICI) has long been a leader in the intercultural field, with a distinctive theory into practice-based approach and extensive experience providing professional development and graduate education for practitioners in the field of intercultural communication.  

MAIR students have access to the resources of both Pacific and ICI.  For example, Pacific library collections include full text access to scholarly articles through databases accessible online.  In addition, ICI maintains an extensive research library available year-round for MAIR students and other intercultural scholars and practitioners. The Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) is sponsored by ICI each July, and has a 35-year history of providing professional development seminars and workshops; SIIC workshops can be taken for elective credit toward the MAIR degree. ICI also offers an intercultural certificate program, provides referrals and information on intercultural topics, and supports professional activities in the field.

As partners in administering the MAIR program, Pacific and ICI work together closely to ensure that MAIR students receive a rigorous and relevant education.  MAIR students are trained in both the theory and practice of intercultural relations, which are integrated throughout the MAIR curriculum.  The two are linked; understanding how and why something works (theory) leads to more effective practices, and the best theory emerges not from hypothetical scenarios, but from "real world" experience and application.  This distinctive approach of "theory into practice, practice into theory" is fundamental to MAIR.  As partners, both ICI and Pacific are committed to providing MAIR students with theoretically-grounded knowledge and skills that will enhance their effectiveness as intercultural practitioners.  

This shared vision has a long history; indeed, an interculturalist from Pacific was among those who first designed the master's degree program which evolved into today's MAIR program.  The MAIR program was the brainchild of a small group of interculturalists who regularly taught other professionals how to provide intercultural interventions, including training.  In the 1980s, dissatisfied with a piecemeal approach, and sharing a desire for a program that would teach intercultural relations in a deep, sustained, and systematic way, they gathered and designed their dream program.  The best intercultural program, they realized, would be rich in both theory and experience and would emphasize each equally.  Indeed, it would teach intercultural theory and skills in a way that leveraged the extensive intercultural, professional, and life experience of working adults.  MAIR students were not to be "blank slates" upon which their educators would write!  Further, the program would blend both intense, face-to-face classroom learning with flexible, self-paced study to accommodate the needs of working adults without compromising the quality of education.  While this innovative degree program quickly went from dream to reality, it wasn't until the MAIR program was already well-established, that MAIR "came home" to Pacific in 2001.  In the time since Pacific began a formal partnership with ICI and became the degree granting institution for MAIR, another track within the MAIR program was introduced, in collaboration with the Peace Corps.  The Masters International program is targeted towards students whose experience working cross culturally is more limited, and is completed in conjunction with a two year Peace Corps assignment.  Now in its 17th year, the MAIR program provides both seasoned and aspiring intercultural professionals with the knowledge and expertise to respond to the challenges of working across cultures domestically and internationally.