Barnga

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Framing Material

Overview

BARNGA is a simulation game that encourages participants to critically consider normative assumptions and cross-cultural communication. It was created by Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan in 1980, while working for USAID in Gbarnga, Liberia. He and his colleagues were trying to play Euchre but all came away from the instructions with different interpretations. He had an ‘A-ha’ moment that conflict arises not (only) from major or obvious cultural differences but often from subtle, minor cues. He created the game to tease out these subtleties. In this activity, students play a card game silently, each operating with a different set of rules, unbeknownst to them.

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