President's Address

Dear SIETAR USA members, friends, and colleagues,

After a year as President Elect and two wonderful years as President of SIETAR USA, it is time for me to pass the gavel to new leadership. It is with a warm embrace and excitement for the future that I welcome back to SIETAR USA leadership Sandra (Sandy) Fowler as President effective January 1, 2019. Sandy has an amazing history with SIETAR USA going back to its origins in the 1970s and her experience and memory of where we have been and where we need to go is a gift to all of us. In my new role as Past-President over the next year I look forward to helping Sandy transition into her role and to support her initiatives. Sandy has already been putting exciting plans in place ready to launch in 2019--get ready for some wonderful new developments!  

In this newsletter we have much to share about our activities. In November we held out our inaugural Saturday Seminar in Minneapolis in partnership with the SIETAR Minnesota Local Group. It was a rousing success about which you can read more below. We also have our final webinar of the season coming up right away on December 6th with Dr. Tony Byers, recent Global Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Starbucks, who will share his experiences Navigating Diversity and Inclusion Work as a Practitioner. Don't miss it; register today! For our members in good standing, we also have our first ever virtual Members Meeting coming up on December 12th. All of this information and more is below. 

We also share our In Memorium regarding the recent passing of Dr. Michael Paige. We have included a few of his many accomplishments and accolades at the end of this newsletter. On a more personal note, many of us at SIETAR USA know Michael not only as an accomplished professional but as a friend, mentor, and all around gentleman's gentleman. He has made an enduring mark on the field and on our hearts. Michael, you are missed more than you will ever know. Thank you for being part of our lives. 

In closing, I want to thank each of you for being part of SIETAR USA as a member, colleague, and friend. This organization is made up of dedicated people like you doing the hard (and also enjoyable!) work each and every day to further our collective cultural bridging work. This work has never been more important than today. Thank you for allowing me to serve as President, which has been my honor. I look forward to continuing to support the organization in various ways.  

Thank you. 

Best regards,

Holly Emert, Ph.D.
SIETAR USA President

Holly Emert


Webinar Series 

December Webinar - Navigating Diversity and Inclusion Work as a Practitioner

SIETAR USA's December webinar Navigating Diversity and Inclusion Work as a Practitioner will take place on Thursday, December 6 from 12:30pm - 1:30pm U.S. eastern time. Our presenter will be Tony Byers, PhD, who is an experienced diversity and inclusion leader, book author, and speaker. Amongst his many accomplishments, Dr. Byers has lead Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) initiatives with multinational corporations including Cargill, H.J. Heinz, and most recently Starbucks as Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion. 

Registration is free to SIETAR USA members and $25 for nonmembers.

Register Now


Boldly challenging the status quo and decades of diversity and inclusion practices, Dr. Tony Byers is transforming Tony ByersD&I from “the right thing to do” to the business imperative of our time. His presentations provide the perfect balance of “why now” and “how to” that will take your thinking on inclusion — and your organization — to the next level. Along the way, you’ll learn from the success stories of companies that have evolved beyond “doing diversity well” to leveraging inclusion as a powerful business advantage. These inclusive cultures are increasing employee creativity and productivity, developing new products and product categories, and far outpacing their peers in innovation, marketplace growth and business performance. Dr. Byers shows you how to build an inclusive culture through a breakthrough behavioral approach that overcomes biases and creates buy-in. You’ll also learn how to set in motion a multiplier effect of inclusion that more than doubles employee productivity while positively impacting every aspect of your organization.

Currently writing a book about the multiplier effects of diversity and inclusion, Dr. Byers is best known for leading and revitalizing Starbucks’ highly respected and successful D&I function and programming. As Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Byers developed and lead the company’s strategic direction to drive engagement, innovation and business growth. Prior to Starbucks, his impressive track record in large matrix multinational organizations included Cargill, where he led diversity programs throughout North America and a pioneering role as a transformational D&I leader at H.J. Heinz. At Heinz, he created the company’s global diversity and inclusion function from the ground up, creating and building model programs and practices.

With 20+ years working in the field, Dr. Byers brings a diverse set of experiences and thinking to his D&I practice, including work in the nonprofit and education sector, as an organizational management consultant and as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, Metropolitan State University and the University of Wisconsin. He holds a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Development and a M.A. in Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. His doctoral thesis focused on effective strategies for building support for diversity programs among senior leaders. 

November Webinar Recording Now Available Online

Did you miss the November 13 presentation by Jody Conibear Tangredi on Leveraging Multicultural and Global Experience into Workplace Strength? The recording and slideshow are now available online. Here are access instructions:
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SIETAR USA 2018 Annual Members Meeting


Our annual business meeting usually takes place at the annual conference. Because we did not convene this conference in 2018, we are holding our annual SIETAR USA Members Meeting virtually. The meeting will take place at 8:00pm US Eastern time on Wednesday, December 12. Members are eligible to attend this meeting. Please register online at and you will be sent log-in information.

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Saturday Seminar
 Achieving Civility and Respect 
in Times of Polarization

The first Saturday Seminar—a  successful pilot program—bodes well for future Saturday Seminars. Even though this was the inaugural Saturday Seminar, it has a history. SIETAR USA has been discussing alternatives or complements to the annual conference throughout its two decades of existence. The seminar concept provided thoughtful presentations and opportunities to share ideas regarding the effects of polarization such as how to understand each other beyond stereotypes. Future seminars will be held in various parts of the country and take up different topics.

In St. Paul, the Opening Keynote speaker, Bill Doherty, introduced participants to the work of Better Angels, an organization uniting red and blue Americans in a working alliance to depolarize America. Their name derives from Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory…will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” Doherty talked about his organization’s goals to understand the other side’s point of view, even if you don’t agree with it, to engage those you disagree with looking for common ground, and to support principles that bring us together instead of dividing us. He explained the theory behind the effort and demonstrated how it can be applied in the real world. The speakers who followed (Karen Lokkesmoe, Shannon Murphy Robinson, and Nagesh Rao) tied what Doherty was describing to the intercultural realm emphasizing the role of values, language, and the importance of recognizing and overcoming the impact if the “Us/Them” divide in the inherent circuitry of the brain.

One participant said in his/her evaluation that "the content was exceptional and it felt like the speakers had collaborated on the content - it felt very cohesive.” This is just the kind of experience we were trying to create. Another said that they appreciated  "learning new ways to share my story and experience moving from exclusion to belonging, from fear to hope." A participant summed up the day by declaring that "the content was very applicable, engaging and important. I respect the speakers' credibility and willingness to have difficult conversations." The feedback has been very helpful and the seminar organizers learned some valuable lessons to pass on to the next seminar organizers.

The efforts of the Minnesota SIETAR Group in organizing, publicizing, and making the day go smoothly are appreciated beyond words. In particular, thank you to Jon DeVries, Karen Lokkesmoe, and Basma Ibrahim DeVries whose dedication to making this event a success accomplished exactly that.

Saturday Seminar photos

Thank you to our Saturday Seminar sponsors:


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News from SIETAR USA Local Groups

SIETAR Florida has concluded its three-part webinar series on Bias. You may view the recordings on their YouTube channel. They also are conducting their 2019 membership campaign. Join or renew by December 31, 2018 and receive a copy of the 2019 Multicultural Calendar: Power of Inclusion.

SIETAR USA would like to thank the SIETAR Minnesota local group for co-hosting SIETAR USA's inaugural Saturday Seminar. Thank you for your dedication to the work we all collectively do!

For more information on starting or joining a local group, please contact

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In Memorium: Dr. Michael Paige

We were saddened to learn of the passing of intercultural pioneer Dr. R. Michael Paige in November. Michael was an early member of SIETAR, giving presentations at the annual conferences that began in 1975. He was a keynote speaker and master workshop leader over the years. He was a regular on the faculty at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication in Portland, OR.
Michael PaigeHe was a professor emeritus of International and Intercultural Education at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, where he coordinated the Comparative and International Development Program in the Department of Educational Policy and Administration. He began his work as a faculty member in 1977 and for the first 16 years at Minnesota he served as the Associate Director for the Office of International Education (now the International Student and Scholar Services). He also served as an intercultural educator and trainer beginning in 1968 when he worked with the U.S. Peace Corps on their cross-cultural training. He was the co-director of the nation-wide SAGE (Study Abroad for Global Engagement) research program funded by the US Department of Education.
Professor Paige worked with the Center for Advanced Research on Language (CARLA) for six years co-directing and directing a variety of projects related to Language and Culture Learning initiatives. His efforts resulted in two CARLA working papers, a culture teaching manual for teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, and (with Andrew Cohen, Barbara Kappler Mikk, James Lassegard, and Julie Chi ) three volumes on culture and language learning strategies for students, teachers, and study abroad advisors. His team has also conducted a research project on levels of intercultural development and language/culture learning experiences.
Michael was justly proud of an award conferred on him by the University of Minnesota. In the introductory remarks by John Cogan at the ceremony for the 2016 Award for Global Engagement, professor Cogan observed that when they hired Michael, they landed a diamond. He also praised Michael’s publication record and his teaching awards. He commented that the university would be a different place if were not for Michael.  And we can say that he left a large imprint on the intercultural world as well.
Michael was an avid fisherman and enjoyed playing his trumpet.

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Thought You Should Know

December 2-10 - Hannukah
December 2-24 - Advent
December 3 - International Day of Disabled Persons
December 6 - SIETAR USA Webinar Series: Navigating Diversity and Inclusion Work as a Practitioner
December 10 - International Human Rights Day
December 12 - Eid Milad Un Nabi
December 12 - SIETAR USA 2018 Annual Members Meeting
December 25 - Christmas
December 26- January 1 - Kwanzaa
December 26 - Boxing Day
January 1 - New Year's Day
January 4 - World Braille Day
January 5 - Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Birthday
January 6 - Epiphany
January 13 - Bodhi Day
January 13 - Maghi
January 15 - Makar Sankranti
January 20-21 - Tu B’Shevat
January 21 - M L King Day
January 26 - Republic Day of India
January 27 - Holocaust Remembrance Day
March 12-15 - Winter Institute for Intercultural Communication
April 26-28 - Families in Global Transitions Annual Conference
July 7-10 -International Academy for Intercultural Research Biennial Conference
July 10-26 - Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication

Holidays taken from

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SIETAR USA, All rights reserved.

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