John Bing

In 2023, although now fuly retired John is still active in supporting Afghanistan where he was a PCV many years ago!


I have now retired to a small desert community outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico.  My wife Cass and I managed to sell our online applications and our business (ITAP International, which operated in the cross-cultural area) and these sales allowed us to retire from the east coast to a place called Eldorado.  Here, between the mountains and desert, I continue to hike and enjoy and respect all four seasons for what they bring.


Time Signatures

I recently published a book of poetry called Time Signatures, something of a history of my time in Afghanistan and other haunts. 


Over the past seven years, we have been supporting a small group of women weavers in Bamiyan, in the central part of Afghanistan, where the Buddhas once stood.  A group of Afghan-Americans and former Peace Corps Volunteers formed a nonprofit, GPIA Fund (Growing Peace in Afghanistan Fund), to help encourage and continue the work of these weavers which, at this time, continues in spite of the Taliban.  We plan to continue this work as long as we can.  The project director in Afghanistan is a fearless woman devoted to helping other women.  We managed, with the help of others, to bring to Santa Fe one of her daughters who now studies here.  One out of millions.  But we do what we can.   Should you want to make a contribution to this project, more information can be found at Bamiyan Weavers 


Best wishes to all CIE members, of all generations.[12-22]


In 2017 John reflected on his many years of experience:


Looking back, as I complete the decade of my 70s, it seems that we really did not do much good for the world.  We attempted to reduce inequality, but it has since increased, both between and within many countries, most especially the United States.  We tried to improve foreign assistance programs, but on the whole, that hasn't seemed to work much either, especially U.S. foreign assistance programs.  Some of us became involved in politics; I think that worked out better for those of who returned to so-called developing countries than for those who worked on U.S. politics. 


I think we must have missed something.  It is likely that the political/economic/social structures always tend to promote the interests of the powerful and the wealthy, as Marx said; perhaps change only comes after a cataclysm.  Well, in the U.S. it appears we are approaching one.


So I suppose my 77-year-old advice to new CIE students would be to temper expectations (but not enthusiasms), not to assume that change will come easily, if at all, and perhaps to focus on bettering individual lives of those you work with and for, rather than to believe that you will promote general change. However, if you see an opening to influence change on the macro level, take it.  Except for those of you who enter and succeed at politics (or revolutions), the rest of us should be content with cultivating the gardens near where we are.  Make the garden a better place, with more beauty, and more food.  That is not revolutionary, but it is not unimportant. [4-17]


Earlier comments on his journey after graduation:


I had no idea when I was a grad student at CIE that, after stints in the Peace Corps, the nonprofit world, and academia, I would end up in business. It just happened. And, when my time at my company ITAP International is done, I’ll be happy to return to some of those things that I wanted to do before I ended up in business.


ITAP provides training and consulting mostly to larger businesses, and mostly in the cross-cultural and competencies fields. The last few years have seen a geographic expansion of ITAP, from an exclusively domestic organization to one that has merged with a European partner, now with affiliates in Europe, Africa, and Asia. All this has been done on a shoestring (which came from my left shoe). My wife and partner Cass has been a leading force in marketing and professionalizing the organization.


But the work I most value is the development of assessment instruments, one of which measures individuals’ cultural profiles, which can then be compared to country profiles. These are quantitative measures based on the work of an extraordinary man, Geert Hofstede, a Dutchman and pioneer in the field of intercultural research whom I now call an old friend.


I am so pleased that the Center has continued its marvelous work over these many years and served so many students and communities from around the world. It is a very large and special legacy, unlike any other in the world.  [1-07]





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