Culturally Speaking:

Promoting Cross-Cultural Awareness in a Post-9/11 World


Thanks to Georgina Lorencz for using my book as the class text for her Spring 2018 Intercultural Communication class at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minnesota.


"In a world brimming with tension, discord and conflict, Culturally Speaking shows the urgent need for both sides to try to understand and respect each other's culture, religion, tradition and mores... We need more dialogue and understanding in order to wipe out hate and fear... This is a must read that can benefit both of these groups of people... Please pass this book on to a friend."

        Dr. Sam H. Zakhem
       Former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain - 1986-1989

"Culturally Speaking by Mary Coons offers every reader an irresistible opportunity to know the Bahrain and its Arab traditions that he/she didn't know. A majestic ride through the unfathomed realms of cultural, traditional and historical memory lanes of Bahrain! The efforts of a foreigner to bridge the gap between ignorance, false conceptions, convictions and awareness, and lead the reader to the greener pastures of reality surrounding this tiny Arabian Gulf island must be the prized possession of every reader, visitor and Bahraini resident. This book undoubtedly is a torchbearer for every inquisitive person of Bahrain, an island of religious tolerance and harmony. Mary's Bahrain experience ignites the fire for mutual respect and international understanding - the only way to thwart hatred and atrocities meted out to human beings on the basis of religious and political self-centred agendas. A study of the book will help the West to remove many misconceptions about Islam and achieve a better understanding about this religion of peace. May her endeavor yield fruitful results! I wish her venture every success... Indeed, Mary's glory pervades the human spirit as a book with a difference." 

         Soman Baby, Associate Editor
         Gulf Daily News
         Kingdom of Bahrain

Hello Mary,
Congratulations on your book award; you really did it. It’s a wonderful book that brought East and West to a mid point where we can see each other very clearly.

I am very happy for you, and every one needs to know more about the Arab world.

Thank you for your effort.
Kingdom of Bahrain 


Thank you so much for your time today and your willingness to share your insights and knowledge about the culture of Bahrain.  You are such a wonderful resource person for my Psych students and they learn so much from hearing about your experiences and your book’s important message of breaking down stereotypes through education.

Brenda Butterfield, MSW, Faculty
University of Minnesota-Duluth Psychology Department

4 November 2010

Thank you so much for hosting our Modern Knowledge School staff here in Bahrain, and providing an exceptional presentation. Your footprints are changing the lives of our future and promoting peace.

Cynthia Gessling
Director of Curriculum
Modern Knowledge School
Kingdom of Bahrain

November 2010


Whether an audience member agrees or disagrees with any assumptions presented matters less than the opportunity to engage in this conversation, to share what we believe, and to hear the experiences and beliefs of others.

Michael Wall, Director of Alumni Relations
Anoka-Ramsey Community College,
Coon Rapids, Minnesota


Dear Mary,

I am so grateful that you have written and just published this book! It is such an important topic, and one that I have recently become very interested in researching and speaking about. I just spent six months in the Middle East, mostly in Egypt, but also traveling in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and Israel/Palestine. When I arrived home and heard the political rhetoric being used to reference that region and Muslim people, I was outraged that terms like "axes of evil" and "terrorists" were still being tossed around. What an absurd and destructive way to speak about entire nation-states of people.

My point is simply to say thank you. I am so glad you have had the courage, experience, and sensitivity to write this book, and I hope that it becomes a best seller!

                    Elisabeth Geschiere
                   Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dear Ms. Coons,

I am happy to recommend your book for I have personally found it interesting not only as a Bahraini, but as someone who is interested in exploring that field of cross-cultural work.

                       Mariam F. Al-Doseri
                        Kingdom of Bahrain

 "This book is the beginning of the quest to understand the differences between cultures. Neither culture is wrong in how they live, work, or act - just different. America is full of, and respects, differences in opinions and ways of life in America. This acceptance should be conveyed to other cultures, other countries, and other ways of living.

Mary has created a unique dialogue in this book. She does not provide her own opinions on how the American and Muslim cultures see each other. She interviewed individuals from both countries and found very interesting viewpoints. As you read the book, you begin to understand the power of propaganda and how points of view are created through what the media wants you to know.

A book of this nature is a must-read for individuals in both countries, and the information revealed would be beneficial for people in every country. Before you have an opinion about a different culture - or way of life - make sure that your opinion is based on facts and not on what other entities want you to know."

Toni Grundstrom, Andover, MN


I am three-fourths of the way through with reading Culturally Speaking: Promoting Cross-Cultural Awareness in a Post 9-11 World by author Mary Coons ( But I was amused last night when Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News introduced a news article about a “dry-run terrorist plot” that was foiled. Some Muslims were picked up in Amsterdam because they taped watches to medicine bottles. Twenty seconds later another reporter with more insight (?) said there was absolutely no connection to a terrorist plot. So what did you hear? A dry-run terrorist plot was foiled; or did you hear the rest? Regardless of how the facts of this story unfold in the next few days, how much of what you know about Arab Muslims came only from what you heard on mainstream TV?

What I’ve enjoyed most about Culturally Speaking is the unbiased approach to revealing generalizations and then discussing them openly. I didn’t see any right or wrong answers, and this book doesn’t solve any questions other than one; if you are willing to expend a little effort to learn, you can reject ignorance and move forward toward understanding.

Robert Miller


I just discovered your book and enjoyed reading it. I think it is the most valuable book that has ever come so close to the reality of bringing the nations and cultures together in mutual understanding. You are a great writer, Mary.

Khalid Al Qahtani, Saudi Arabia






Book Awards