Developing close, trusting relationships are fundamental to the Global
Partnerships program and key to its long-term success. Since participants
represent such a wide range of organizations, activity interests, countries,
cultures, and ages, there can be no single method of getting to know
each other. Instead, we recommend the following list of questions, grouped
by category, to guide you through the process. How you decide to share
the information is up to you. You might communicate back and forth by
email over the course of several weeks. Or you might put together a
scrapbook about your organization to send to your partneran activity
that youth organizations and schools might find especially fun.
The questions are designed to help you get to know each other personally, as
well as to give you insight into your partner organizations social, cultural,
economic, and political reality. They should also help you obtain basic practical
information, e.g. the time zone difference between you and your partner, and
be conscious of some of the inevitable cross cultural differences that may arise.
Not all questions will be relevant to all partnerships. For example, due to
U.S. domination of global media, international groups are likely to know more
about the U.S. than American groups know about their partner organizations
countries. On the other hand, American groups may find that their partners have
a very narrow idea of what the U.S. is like and may want to offer insight into
the diversity of cultures within the country that rarely make the international
news or scenes in Hollywood movies. As with all cross-cultural encounters, you
made find that you learn more about your own culture and experience through
exploring anothers. The partnership may give you a new perspective on
your tobacco control activities and add exciting new dimensions to your work.
We realize that this is very long, but certainly not exhaustive, list of questions.
Feel free to add your own questions. And dont worry we do not
expect you to ask or answer all of the questions (with the exception of those
in the "Important Practical Issues" section)! Pick and choose
as you wish. Instead of spending an inordinate amount of time tracking down
answers to some of the questions, you or your partner may want to consult references,
such as Tobacco Control Country Profiles distributed at the 11th World
Conference on Tobacco or Health in Chicago (August 2000) or the older WHO
Tobacco or Health a Global Status Report. If you are able to meet
in person or talk on the phone, be mindful of some of cross-cultural differences
related to communication styles that may exist. Try not to dominate the conversation.
Be an active listener. Let your partner know if you dont fully understand
something he or she has said. Ask follow up questions. And dont worry,
were not going to quiz you on the answersso go ahead, feel relaxed,
and have fun getting to know each other!
The questions are organized into the following categories:
1. Your Partners Country and Culture
3. Your Partners Organization
6. Important Practical Issues
7. General Discussion
Occasionally a question will be followed by a "E"
symbol, indicating a related joint activity. At the end, we suggest a few ways
you might follow up on the knowledge you gain.
Your Partners Country and Culture
q Where is your country located?
q What other countries border it?
q How long has your country been in existence?
q What does its flag look like?
q Has your country ever been colonized? If so,
by whom? What impact do you think it has had on your culture? What other historical
influences have shaped its culture, commerce, and national identity?
q How many ethnic groups live within your country
or community? How many languages do they speak?
E Ask your "buddy" how to share
some basic phrases in his/her native tongue e.g. "Hello," "Goodbye,"
"My name is
," etc. Practice using them when you communicate
with each other.
q What are the most popular religions?
q What are the most important holidays in your
country? What do they celebrate or commemorate?
E Write down the dates of important holidays,
e.g. Christmas, Ramadan, Independence Day, or personal/family holidays, e.g.
birthdays. Send a note to your partner organization on these days to let them
know you are thinking of them.
q What sorts of food dishes do people in your
country like to eat?
E Exchange recipes (or search the web) for
popular dishes from each others countries and prepare them for others
in your organization.
q What type of music is popular in your country?
E Send each other mixed cassettes of some
of your favorite music.
q How do people dress in your country? Are there
any materials or fashions that are specific to your area of the world?
q What are the most popular forms of entertainment?
What were the some of the most popular movies last year?
q What form of government do you have? Is it stable?
q What have been some of the major current events
in your country this past year?
q What is the climate like? Hot or cold? How many
seasons do you have?
E Check the world weather report periodically
to see how hot or cold it is in your partners region.
q What rough percentage of the population lives
in cities? In rural areas? Is there much rural-urban migration?
q What are the most popular forms of transportation?
q How do people make a living? What are the most
q What is the approximate per capita GDP? What
is the breakdown of wealth between rich and poor?
q What is your countrys national currency?
What is the exchange rate between you and your partners currencies?
q What is the cost of living? For example, how
much does a kilogram of rice or a three room place to live cost?
E Pick 10 commodities available in both
of your countries and compare and contrast their cost in US$ in each of your
q How healthy are your countrys citizens?
What is the average life expectancy? Infant mortality rate? What are the most
common health risks? Does your government provide universal health coverage?
If not, how do people pay for medical costs?
q Does your country grow tobacco? If so, how
much? How does it affect farm workers?
q Is your country a net exporter or importer of
q Which multinational tobacco corporations do
business in your country? Do they import their products or make them in country?
q Do multinational tobacco corporations have licensing
agreements with local manufacturing companies? If so, what share of the national
cigarette market do they have?
q Is smuggling a problem?
E Search online industry documents for mentions
of your partner organizations country. See activity menu for more information.
q What forms of tobacco are used most often in
your country, e.g. cigarettes, chewing, bidis?
q What cigarette brands are most popular? What
themes are associated with them, e.g. youth, adventure, sports, freedom, "America"?
What images are used in advertising to invoke these themes? Which brands are
most popular with youth? With adults? With women? With the wealthy? With the
E Exchange photos of advertisements and
marketing promotions for various cigarette brands. Compare and contrast the
themes with those in your own country. In particular, note the images, colors,
words, languages, race used. See activity menu for more information.
q How much does each brand cost? An average pack
of cigarettes is equivalent to what percentage of the average persons
daily salary? How much rice, eggs, or vegetables could it buy?
q Are cigarettes sold singly or by the pack?
q How extensively do tobacco corporations invest
into sports and cultural events?
q Have tobacco corporations operating in your
country tried to change their image or marketing strategy recently due to the
lawsuits they are facing internationally? If so, how?
q Have tobacco companies tried to establish "anti-tobacco"
youth education programs in your country? If so, how?
q Do tobacco companies have a favorable relationship
with your government? If so, how is this relationship manifested?
q For how long have people smoked in your culture/country?
Was tobacco ever used in religious ceremonies? How have smoking patterns changed
over time? Is there a taboo against women smoking? What percentage of men and
q When and where are the most popular times and
places to smoke?
q How familiar are people in your country with
the short and long term health effects of smoking? Of exposure to second hand
q What anti-tobacco laws has your country passed?
Are they enforced? How?
q Is smoking allowed in public places, e.g. schools,
hospitals, government buildings, public transportation?
q Are there warning labels on cigarette packets
sold in your country? If so, what do they say?
E Compare and contrast the warning labels
in each of your countries. Which are stronger? How could they be improved?
q Are there any tobacco advertising restrictions?
Bans on sales to minors?
Your Partner Organization
q What is the tax rate, if any, on cigarettes,
both domestic and imported?
q Have any religious leaders in your country spoken
publicly against smoking and/or the tobacco industry? How do they connect the
issue to the basic tenets of their faith?
q How many cigarettes are sold each year per person?
Assuming an average cost, how much money does this equal? In comparison, how
much money is spent, per capita, on health?
q What are the most common smoking-related diseases
in your country? How has their occurrence changed over time, e.g. the age and
gender of those affected? Are these problems increasing, decreasing or staying
q What sort of support exists for people who develop
a smoking-related disease, such as cancer of the lung or larynx or chronic emphysema?
What are their short and long term chances of survival?
q How long has your organization been in existence?
q How many staff, leaders, and/or volunteers do
q Where are you located?
q What subpopulations do you work with?
q What have been your primary activities?
q What accomplishment are you most proud of?
q What do you think you could do better?
q What are your ambitions in the future?
q What specific political, social, cultural, financial
etc. barriers do you face?
q What aspects do you feel you have at your advantage?
q From which part of your country are you from?
q For how long have you worked in tobacco control?
What other kinds of work, if any, have you done? What led you to get involved
with tobacco control work?
q Do you have a family? If so, what are the names
and ages of your children?
q What language do you use to communicate with
friends and family?
q What other countries have you lived in or visited?
q Whats your typical daily routine like?
q Do you have any interesting stories related
to your work in tobacco control?
q How do people address each other in your culture?
By first or last name? Does this depend on the age, gender, and/or social position
of those involved? How would you prefer to be called? What title do you use?
Are you comfortable with someone you dont know well using your first name?
Important Practical Questions
q What are relationships like between men and
women? Is it appropriate for men and women to be friends? What are gender relationships
like in your culture?
q Is there anything inappropriate for a man or
woman to wear?
q How much personal space do people like to have
in your culture? How close or far away do they usually stand from each other
when talking? Is it acceptable to make eye contact?
q How do people view time? Are people generally
prompt to meetings? What priorities do people place on their job, friends, and
q How do people in your culture view someone who
smiles a lot? Or who makes a lot of facial expressions?
q How do people deal with conflict in your culture?
q What is the highest form of praise? Of insult?
in your culture?
q How are decisions made among members of a group?
By consensus? Voting? One person taking initiative and others following?
q What qualities do you admire in a leader?
q Are there any parables or folktales that are
popular in your culture? Any adages that give insight into social norms or values?
q What is the time zone difference between us?
q What is the best way to contact you?
q Do you have access to a fax machine? To the
internet? To email? A CDrom?
q How often do you check your email? Is it expensive
or time consuming to download?
q Can you open large attachments?
q What is your phone number and country code?
q How much does it cost to send or receive a fax,
make a phone call, or send a letter? This amount represents what percentage
of your daily salary?
q How reliable is the mail system? How long does
it take to receive mail from overseas? Do you have to pay any fees to pick up
a package at the post office?
q How comfortable are you speaking/writing English?
q Its not always easy being a tobacco control
advocatewhat keeps you going?
q If you could say one thing to the CEO of Phillip
Morris to his facewhat would it be?
q What stereotypes do people in your country have
of people in my country or area of the world (be honest!)? Where do you think
these stereotypes come from?
q What attracted you to the Global Partnership
q What do you think you can offer your partner?
q What do you think your partner can offer you?
q What activities and projects would you like
to work on? Which are highest priority?
q What guidelines should we set together? What
are our expectations of each other, in terms of how often we communicate, the
amount of time we commit to a joint project etc?
q What short and long-term goals can we set for
q Is there anything that we havent shared
already that it is important that the other know?
SUGGESTED "GETTING TO KNOW YOU" FOLLOW UP ACTIVITIES
E Make a scrapbook or poster about your partner
organization using information gleaned from your communication in addition to
photos, newspaper articles, and other research to display at your organization
and share with visitors or- make a scrapbook about your own organization
to send to your partner organization. Include photos of staff, your office,
activities you work on etc.
E Your partnership is newsworthy. The international
dimension adds a new twist to discussions of domestic lawsuits and policy, and
the human interest side makes a compelling story. Contact your local newspaper
to tell them about your new partnership and see if they will do a story on it.
Essential Action can offer advice and assistance as needed.
E After getting to know each other, you might
write a joint opinion piece or letter-to-the-editor of your local newspaper
about a tobacco control issue near and dear to your hearts, emphasizing the
cross cultural nature of the problemwhether it be advertising targeting
youth people, rising cancer rates in women, or the need for smoke free public
E Write a letter to your countrys delegation
to the World Health Organizations Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Emphasize what you have learned from your partner organization about the global
nature of the tobacco epidemic.
E Host a party with the purpose of introducing
others to your partners country and culture. Decorate the room with photos
from magazines. Serve food and place music from their country. Invite local
people from the country to come teach some words in their language, sing songs,
tell stories and/or show photos from their country. Take pictures to share with
your partner organization.
Do you have any suggestions for how we might improve this document? Any
questions we left out that you think are important? Any fun, creative activities
we omitted? Anything that you feel is not culturally appropriate to ask? Let
us know! We welcome any and all recommendations you have to offer. Contact Anna
White at [email protected], 202-234-5176
(fax), 202-387-8030 (phone).