Presidents Address

Dear SIETAR members, friends, and colleagues,

In these late days of summer we naturally start thinking of fall and fall in the United States means it's time to plan for our annual conference! Our 17th annual conference is not to be missed as you will see from reading all about it in this month's newsletter. We have been sharing via email, social media, and many other outlets as much information as we can so you are well informed about the must-attend conference of the season (did we mention its location of San Diego?!).

There are many other things happening outside of the conference, too. I am proud to welcome to our Board of Directors two new members, Yulia Carson (Professional Development portfolio) and Laurette Bennhold-Samaan (Membership, Outreach, and Diversity portfolio). Read all about these accomplished individuals below. Please also read below and nominate an individual for the Margaret D. Pusch Founders Award, read about SIETAR USA Local Group updates and other professional development opportunities. 

Last but certainly not least, a word about recent events in Charlotteville, Virginia, here in the U.S. and the resurgence of other forms of hatred that are on display around the world. Words fail to capture the heartbreak and disbelief of these happenings and the increased visibility of those who support these events. SIETAR USA embodies the opposite of these forces and remains a place for us all to come together to against all that tears us apart in our own country and around the world. Soon we will announce new offerings that provide a forum for members and other individuals to discuss these topics and how we can expand our sphere of influence to counter this negativity. Please plan to take part and do not hesitate to contact us at with your comments, questions, and insights.


Thank you,

Holly Emert, Ph.D.

SIETAR USA President 

Holly Emert


At a Glance: The Annual Conference Program Unfolds

Annual Conference
Have you checked the SIETAR USA Conference Website lately? If you haven't recently looked at the Conference website you will be in for a surprise. We are adding new items all the time. You might want to look at the list of Special Events that are found in the Conference Information section of the webpage. The Conference Session Information is an analysis of all the presentations by topic area. There are 22 areas of interest that capture the content of the presentations. For example, under Specific Cultures you will find presentations on Canadian Arabic, Japanese, Polish Cultures as well as others. You will find ten sessions on values. The R is back in SIETAR when you note the 17 sessions in Assessment.  Browse through the rich array of quality sessions. And keep returning to the webpage to stay up to date on what to expect at this stellar conference!
We received so many good proposals that we have expanded the days to be able to fit the best of them into the schedule. That means the wellness sessions will start really early—but they are so worthwhile! When you check out At-A-Glance be sure to notice the special events like the Assessment Carousel, Meet the Author with Craig Storti, the Fireside Chat with Harry and Pola Triandis, the event following the Dine Around, and the gala dinner and dance on Friday evening.

Early bird registration discount expires on September 15! 

Click here for registration fees and link to registration form

You can win two free tickets for a tour of San Diego. To be a winner, just register for the conference prior to the Early Bird Deadline, September 15th. We will be randomly picking a name from the list of people who have registered early. It could be your name! Visit the
 Old Town Trolley Tour website for more information on the tours. We recommend the standard city tour but you can use the tickets for any tours they offer. And you get two so you can take a friend!

Some people have been asking questions about the program, such as: 

downtown San DiegoWhat’s new this year? We have a new format: Pecha Kucha. Introduced in Japan, it is sweeping the world. It is a very focused, rapid-paced presentation of 20 slides with 20 seconds for each slide. So in a little more than 6 minutes, the presentation is done. It means the presenter has to be very organized and practiced. We have several courageous colleagues who are willing to try this format and we expect the sessions that contain 3-4 PKs to be more than interesting. Since we have Pecha Kucha, we eliminated poster sessions and TED talks. Taking a bit of a risk perhaps, but we want to keep at the forefront of innovations in conference organizing.

If I can only come one day of the conference, which day should I choose? That is hard because each day has its highlights not to be missed. But If it has to be only one day, consider Saturday. On Thursday and Friday there will be 32 sessions each day, but on Saturday there will be 40. We head into the day with concurrent sessions and there will be an excellent closing keynote performance and reflection, so plan to stay until the very end at 5:30. That is the day for the authentic Mexican lunch too!

Is there one thing I should be sure not to miss? Yes! Be sure to go on the Dine Around and return for dessert with the Mexican Consul General to San Diego, Ambassador Marcela Celorio. She will make brief remarks and there will be an open discussion.

How many sessions will there be at one time? How do I select which to attend? We will have 8 concurrent sessions most of the time. There are a few ways to make a selection. One is to follow one of the tracks; that cuts the 8 sessions to fewer from which to choose. This will give you an in-depth conference experience. If you want to dip into all 3 tracks, that will work too. If your interests are more general we call that the Building Bridges track and those will be the sessions of general interest, not in the tracks. You can choose based on the biographical information about the presenter(s). They might have something in common with your career. You can choose the sessions that seem to be most on target for your own work. You hold the keys to making the selections. It was our decision not to make those decisions for you from among the many excellent offerings.


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Seeking Nominations for the 2017 Margaret D. Pusch Founders Award

Nominations are being accepted for the 2017 Margaret D. Pusch Founders Award through September 1, 2017 at 11:59 pm EST. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated commitment and service to the SIETAR community and the intercultural field. Members of any SIETAR around the globe are eligible for the award. Candidates must be nominated by someone other than themselves. The nomination requires support from a minimum of two other individuals who can speak to the individual's intercultural work and service. Nominations and supporting information must be provided in a written format. Read more.

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Welcome New Board Members

Yulia Carson
Yulia Carson - Professional Development Director, 2017-18.
 Yulia has been in the field of intercultural training for 10 years and has spent most of her career facilitating intercultural programs, individual consultations and group programs, as an independent trainer and consultant. Today, she is a Manager of Global Talent Development at one of the field’s leading providers of intercultural training and global mobility solutions IOR Global Services. She manages all of the Learning and Development and intercultural assessment solutions and is also a recruiter and manager of the organization’s global trainer network.

Yulia’s educational background is in Cultural Anthropology. Currently, she is pursuing a Graduate Degree in Adult Learning and Organizational Change and Leadership Coaching Certification from Northwestern University.

On a personal note, Yulia is a native of Russia. For over 16 years now, she and her family have been living in Chicago, IL. Yulia is absolutely committed to the training field and intercultural education, convinced that intercultural professionals help make the world a better place one engagement at a time.

Laurette Bennhold-SamaanLaurette Bennhold-Samaan - Membership, Outreach & Diversity Director, 2017-18. Laurette is an international executive with over thirty years of experience in world-class organizations including The World Bank, Honda of America, Accenture, and the Peace Corps. Her expertise includes strategic planning, human resources, training, and partnering with corporate, government, educational, and international organizations.
Most recently, Laurette was Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Aperian Global (international consulting company serving 1/3 Fortune 100, government, non-profit and academic institutions) reporting directly to the Board. With 8 offices around the world, Laurette was responsible for Operations, Finance, IT, Global Mobility and Human Resources. Laurette currently sits on the Board for the African Education Network.
Laurette has been a trail blazer in most of her positions as Accenture’s Senior Manager of Global Mobility, and prior to that co-creating the global mobility department at The World Bank, supporting professionals and their families in preparation for assignments in over 100 countries. As the first Cross-Cultural Specialist with the Peace Corps, Laurette coordinated overall support for cross-cultural training in more than 90 countries worldwide, and managed and coached large global host country national teams. As a passionate leader known for integrity, reliability, and a pragmatic approach to empowering people across borders and cultures, she has delivered and evaluated programs in over 50 countries across Europe, Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and Asia.
She holds a Master in International Affairs focusing on cross-cultural communications and international business from Ohio University and has authored and co-authored several books. Laurette has been on the faculty with the University of Maryland International Division in Europe, Kingston College, and Strayer University. Originally from Egypt, Laurette has lived in Nigeria, Germany and Canada. She currently resides in Washington, DC with her family.

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News from SIETAR USA Local Groups

In an attempt to create stronger collaboration among SIETAR members, in particular for those who are geographically-dispersed and have a difficult time to make it to f2f meetings, local groups are currently discussing ways to create more collaborative online platforms to network and share best practices and resources. They are also hoping to offer a series of webinars that will be accessible to all local group members in the near future.
There are currently five active local groups—SIETAR Minnesota, SIETAR Pacific Northwest, SIETAR DC, SIETAR Bay Area, and SIETAR Florida. Click here to find links to these groups' pages. Additionally, there are a number of local groups in varying stages of development. SIETAR Ohio hopes to officially launch in Fall 2017 and its coordinators have been meeting every two weeks to create a mission statement and vision.  Recently several SIETARians have taken initiatives to launch or resuscitate local groups in the Mid-Atlantic, Los Angeles and Rocky Mountain and are working to define details on their progress.
For more information on starting or joining a local group, please contact

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Calls for Proposals

WISE Conference 2018 [Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement]

WISE Conference 2018 invites colleagues to submit session proposals for next year's conference hosted by the Center for Global Programs & Studies at Wake Forest University. The submission deadline is Wednesday, September 13, 2017. Click here for session proposal information and submission form.

SIETAR India 6th International Conference

SIETAR India seeks speaker proposals for its International Conference by Saturday, September 30, 2017. The conference theme is Intercultural Competence 4.0, and will take place on February 17-18 in Pune. Click here for links to Proposal Overview and Submission Guidelines.

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Thought You Should Know


October 18-21, 2017 - SIETAR USA Annual Conference
October 23, 2017 - Improving Your Intercultural Competence free 4-week MOOC offered by Purdue University
February 7-9, 2018 - WISE Conference 2018 [Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement]
February 17-18, 2018 - SIETAR India 6th International Conference


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September 3 - Labor Day (U.S.)
September 11 - Patriot Day (U.S.)
September 22 - Native American Day (U.S.)
September 20 - Rosh Hashanah
September 29 - Yom Kippur
October 9 - Columbus Day (U.S.)

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