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Our guiding principles


In struggling with foreign language,
and through understanding born of misunderstanding,
we seek to nurture individuals who can engage in real dialogue

supported by three pillars.


When individuals from diverse backgrounds come together,

engage in real dialogue,
​and gain new perspectives,

This is ika.​


Toward this end,

we are here to help

What is "ika"?

The name of our project, ika, comes from the Japanese word 異化 (ika). 異 (i) means “different” or “unusual”, and 化 (ka) means “change” or “transformation”. 異化 is translated into English as “defamiliarization”.
In Russian, this idea is captured in the term ostranenie (остранение) coined by literary theorist Viktor Shklovsky.
In German, the word is verfremdung.

To us, ika means shaking the foundations upon which we base our familiar ways of thinking. It means seeking out that which is novel and surprising. It means learning how to view the world in different and multifaceted ways.


To nurture individuals who can engage in real dialogue
To help them toward ika
To enrich lives

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