Nations such as Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Thailand, and others, have long managed to maintain a distinctive cultural identity while at the same time fostering a cosmopolitanism that allows them to succeed economically and politically. Such cosmopolitanism is marked by fostering bi- (or even tri-) lingualism, (usually nonviolent) appropriation of aspects of "other" cultures (e.g., the syncretic Buddhism of Thailand that incorporates Hinduism and Chinese religions). These sorts of cosmopolitan cultures - i.e., ones that retain distinctive cultural identity while simultaneously engaging in the "other" cultures of the world - were described at CATaC'98 by Thai philosopher Soraj Hongladarom as conjunctions of "thick" and "thin" cultures, i.e., hybrids of distinctive local cultural identity (thick) and a larger, globally shared (thin) cultural identity.
Critical to these "hybrid cosmopolitans" is the ability of people to communicate comfortably in more than one language - and, thereby, to be aware of how to succeed (at least modestly) in intercultural communication. Such communication involves not simply an ability to translate terms from one language to another, but an awareness of what is culturally appropriate, ranging from terms and idioms that may be acceptable in one's own culture but offensive elsewhere, to in/appropriate gestures, body language, etc.
As ICTs dramatically accelerate our ability to engage with one another cross-culturally - do they help us learn to communicate interculturally? And/or: are ICTs, because they are designed by and embed the cultural and communicative values of specific nations and regions, inevitably limited as tools of such intercultural communication? Stated positively: can ICTs help its users become more effective intercultural communicators - and thereby contribute to a process of cultural hybridization that sustains local cultural identities and avoids cultural homogenization.