Midpoint at Conflict Kitchen

The summer has been progressing and I have been learning a lot through my time at Conflict Kitchen. I’m finding it very useful to journal in order to track what I learn and be able to reference my thoughts later in discussions.

I have been busy doing research for Conflict Kitchen, which switched to its Cuba iteration in June. My various tasks have included finding articles for the kitchen staff to read so that they are informed about Cuba and revising the food wrapper that features interviews with Cubans both in Cuba and the United States. I have also helped with preparations for future iterations by finding contacts who can help with research and developing questions to interview the contacts. I have also been working at the kitchen and interacting with customers, engaging them in dialogue about Cuban culture and US- Cuba relations.

Cocina Cubana, the Cuban iteration of Conflict Kitchen
The food wrapper for the Cuban iteration

Keeping to my learning goals, I have learned that successful facilitation of cross-cultural education should provide a means for the education to continue. I’ve realized through this internship that there tends to be a backup of knowledge between the information we gather on the country and what we can share while interacting with customers. The interactions with customers can be so short that there is hardly any time to truly engage in dialogue or share an interesting piece of information. I felt like the kitchen should offer some way for people to continue educating themselves, and therefore dispelling stereotypes, after they leave the restaurant.  I suggested that I could develop a recommended reading list of books about Cuba and novels by Cuban authors. My supervisor liked the idea and it became my project. I partnered with the local branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh down the block from the Conflict Kitchen to learn how to make an effective booklist.  The library was excited about the project and agreed to display the featured books and to work with the Conflict Kitchen in the future. This project is the part of my internship of which I am most proud. It has truly been my own project to develop and implement. It has not only allowed me to work towards my learning goals but also taught me new skills. Being able to put together a list of recommended reading will be useful in future jobs that deal with cultural education. Furthermore, developing a partnership with another community organization is important for any non-profit position.

With only a few weeks left of my internship,  I know that I have learned many things and look forward to the remainder of it while finishing research and putting everything in place so the partnership with  the library continues after I leave.


-G. Killian, ’14

4 thoughts on “Midpoint at Conflict Kitchen”

  1. Grace-
    I LOVE how you took the initiative to create that partnership with the library. Not only does the library benefit, but the general public AND the Conflict Kitchen benefit. Now, your recommended reading lists, will help inform many and take the work of the CK that much farther. You should be very proud. What a great accomplishment. It’s that kind of initiative and foresight that will make you so valuable any where you go.

    I hope your remaining few weeks there are just as fulfilling.

  2. The same thought struck me as I was reading your blog post. It can feel a little unnerving to make suggestions about an organization or program to people who have been there longer, but I think that sometimes it is those who are still new to an organization who can see it with fresher eyes. It’s wonderful that you wanted to further the effort for cross-cultural education and then found a way to do it. Additionally, by reaching out to another organization for help you’re also mirroring the same goals of your own organization for facilitating understanding and cooperation across barriers.
    Best wishes on your new project!

  3. Your internship at the Conflict Kitchen seems so exciting! I really love the idea of combining education with food, being able to learn and eat at the same time! The colorful packaging looks awesome (and of course informative). Congrats about your new project! It sounds like such a creative idea that goes perfectly with the theme of the Conflict Kitchen. Good luck with the rest of your internship!

  4. Your internship is awesome. I am surprised that you chose to learn more about Cuba since the U.S.-Cuban relations have been no very good. I hope your passion for the food and culture of Cuba would help other Americans have a more positive attitude toward Cuba. Also, I love your idea of using food in cultural education. You are doing a great internship. Continue the good work and good luck with the rest of your summer internship!

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