Archive for Author Ruth VanReken

Flight Path: Son of Africa to Warrior-Diplomat

flight-pathScott Gration’s memoir, Flight Path: Son of Africa to Warrior-Diplomat, is a fascinating book. A retired U.S. Air Force Major General and the former U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Scott is also a Third Culture Kid (TCK).

His TCK experiences began in 1953 when Scott’s parents went to Belgian Congo as missionary teachers—he was eighteen months old. His memoir details going to boarding school at the age of seven, escaping the 1964 Congo rebellion as a refugee, and being inducted into the Masai tribe in Kenya. Scott then recounts some of the difficulties he encountered during his move back to the United States and the transition back into his parent’s culture.

But spending his childhood outside of his parent’s culture was an advantage in his military and diplomatic careers. While in Africa, Scott developed an expanded worldview, a multicultural perspective, interpersonal sensitivity, cross-cultural competence, and cultural intelligence. As you read this insightful memoir, you will gain a fascinating glimpse into both the challenges and benefits of being reared as a third culture kid.

You’ll also read fascinating accounts of developing the Predator drone, conducting the 2003 scud hunt in Iraq, and accompanying Senator Obama to Africa in 2006. Scott painfully describes surviving the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, and then he recalls speaking at the 2008 National Democratic Convention and helping to birth South Sudan in 2011. Scott’s reflections at the end of the memoir highlight important lessons he gleaned during his unlikely journey from son of Africa to a warrior and diplomat.

You can get more information about the book at www.scottgration.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/scottgration1.

The Magic of Relationship

Why/How Does It Happen?

Ruth-in-AsiaIn March, I traveled for two incredible weeks. The first week I spent interacting with adult third culture kids (ATCKs) who had come for a reunion at their former boarding school in Asia. As I watched the happy hugs on arrival, the telling of both hard and wonderful memories, the tears that also came, I knew they were allowing me to share in their sacred spaces. Some had not been back or seen each other for forty years. And yet, here they were – daring to believe that there were important sparks to kindle from relationships and experiences shared in years long gone. Many stayed together in smaller groups the following week to explore places that also held important memories for them. Pictures of foods and locations unknown to me but obviously delightful to them were shared with one another. What was this magical connection I was not only watching, but feeling with them despite the fact I had grown up on a totally different continent than they? » Read more

Greetings once more

I am sorry that in the last few years I have let my posting to this website be pretty dormant as I entered a new stage of life of becoming my 96 year old mom’s primary caregiver. But I want my dormancy to change!

I can’t promise a total revolution, but I will do what I can and hope to write something at least once a month for this beginning page of my website. As you can see from the title of the site to other articles already included, my interest has grown from third culture kids only to what it is we have learned from this “prototype citizen” (to use Dr. Ted Ward’s phrase) that is useful as we face the increasing cultural diversity and global mobility so present in todays’ world. I would love to explore some of these questions on forums here with you so will try to start that soon. » Read more

X-Expats’ Open Talks Series: Casual Conversations with Ruth Van Reken – Part 3

Casual Conversations with Ruth Van Reken
PART 3/3: Diversity and Inclusion Programs

Ruth Van Reken is a second generation Adult Third Culture Kid* (ATCK) who has raised three TCKs herself. For more than twenty-five years, Ruth has traveled nationally and internationally to help others understand why a cross-cultural childhood matters. She is co-founder of Families in Global Transition and co-author of Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds.

X-E: More and more public and private organizations are committed to develop and maintain global diversity and inclusion programs. What are your recommendations for these initiatives to be rewarding for both the entity and the individual? » Read more

X-Expats’ Open Talks Series: Casual Conversations with Ruth Van Reken – Part 2

Ruth Van Reken is a second generation Adult Third Culture Kid* (ATCK) who has raised three TCKs herself. For more than twenty-five years, Ruth has traveled nationally and internationally to help others understand why a cross-cultural childhood matters. She is co-founder of Families in Global Transition and co-author of Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds.

X-E: In view of the increasing diversity in the US and other countries, have the principles and frameworks used to distinguish and define cultural identity kept up with these changes? How do individuals who may have been influenced by two or more cultures fit in the current models? » Read more

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