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Dec 5

Rafe Martin and Language Intelligence: A Story Spanning 25 Years and Still Going Strong

As Language Intelligence celebrates its 25th anniversary, we enjoy remembering our younger days. If you journey back in time with us to the late ‘80s, you’ll see two local multinationals, Eastman Kodak and Xerox, which were increasingly bringing expats from their branches around the globe to Rochester for extended assignments. Often these expats from Germany, France, Brazil, China, Japan, etc., met in Language Intelligence class rooms, where they were actively expanding their English and intercultural skills.

At that time we used every opportunity we could think of to integrate cultural events into our classes, and one of the best events we could possibly think of included active storytelling by Rafe Martin at Writers & Books, which was just around the corner from Language Intelligence. With such stories as Mysterious Tales of Japan or The Language of Birds, Martin left the children and adults in our groups absolutely spellbound! What better way to evoke language and response than through timeless stories everyone can enjoy? It was quite naturally a big success!

Fast forward to this year, when in January 2013, Language Intelligence decided to sponsor an encore evening of storytelling with Rafe Martin (again at Writers & Books), where our clients, staff, and friends gathered together around the cultural storytelling “fire.” It was a fabulous way to celebrate a quarter of a century of intercultural work through stories presented by the ever-animated and engaging Martin.

If you visit his website, you’ll learn that Rafe, an acclaimed international storyteller, is the author of over 20 books that have been translated into many languages. Speaking as both an author and a storyteller, Rafe has appeared in thousands of schools, libraries, festivals, and conferences in nearly every state—including Alaska and Hawaii—and as far away as Japan.

We encourage you to check out Martin’s many wonderful offerings, which include Birdwing, Will’s Mammoth, and The Rough-Face Girl. The Rough-Face Girl in particular is a lovely Cinderella story in which an Algonquin maiden from the shores of Lake Ontario seeks to marry a character known as the Invisible Being, and in the process, discovers her own inner beauty.

It is true that many of the world’s best myths and tales come full circle and begin, in a sense, where they started, but with new enhanced meaning, wisdom and experience. As we continue on our intercultural journey we are so lucky to have Rafe as a part of Language Intelligence’s own story, and look forward to meeting all of the characters and adventures Rafe still has waiting for us just beyond the next horizon.

Enjoy watching this video clip of Rafe telling the story of The Rough-Face Girl! (Courtesy of WXXI)

The Rough-Face Girl from Language Intelligence on Vimeo.

To learn more about Rafe, or to give the gift of one of his stories to a loved one this holiday season, please visit his website at http://www.rafemartin.com/index.html

Celeste Schantz

Celeste is an instructor of English as a Second Language. She earned her MS Ed. from the University of Rochester and has been a teacher for Language Intelligence for more than 20 years. During this time she has worked with students of all ages from countries such as China, Japan, France, Spain, Italy, Brazil and Mali, Africa.

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