SUSA News February, 2016

Dear SIETARIANS, Global Movers and Shakers,

Welcome to February, Black History month and 29 days of possibilities!

I want to personally acknowledge all the SIETAR-USA members, fellow hard working board members and our global SIETAR friends for their time, trust and loyalty towards our great organization.  We are a community of individuals who face adversity all the time locally and globally and never give up.  Together we can make history and a better future for SIETAR-USA and our communities!  Join us and volunteer while making a difference in your life, the intercultural field and the SIETAR family.  For volunteering opportunities, contact

Patricia M Coleman, President
Society for Intercultural Education, Training & Research


In This Issue...

Webinar:  February 17

1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EST

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre:
Riot, Remembrance, and “Reconciliation”


Learn about the history of race and cross-cultural dynamics in Oklahoma, and discover a little-known and unsettling piece of America's past: the 1921 race massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Often cited as the worst incident of racial violence in U.S. history, the persistent legacy of this tragedy -- and the silence that followed -- has left its footprint on this Heartland community.

Presenters:  Kelli McLoud-Schingen, KMS Intercultural Consulting and Mana Tahaie, Director of Mission Impact for the YWCA Tulsa

Watch our website,, for login details.

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SIETAR-USA Annual Conference
November 9-12, 2016 - Tulsa, OK

Conference Theme:
Intercultural Stories of Disconnection:
Insights into the Polarization
of People and Places

For a complete Theme explanation, click here.


Meet Your Conference Chairs,
(left)  and Nancy (right)

Photo courtesy of Patricia Coleman,
SIETAR-USA president (pictured in center)
at the 2015 conference anniversary
celebration in Orlando Fl.

Kelli McLoud-Schingen – Has been a part of SIETAR USA leadership since 2002. Starting out as Membership Outreach and Diversity Chair (3 terms), 2009 Conference Chair, President Elect 2010, President 2011,2012 and current Advisory Board Member.  Kelli is President of KMS Intercultural Consulting and holds a Master of Arts degree in Cross Cultural Studies.  She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband and 2 kids.
In 3 words, my vision of the 2016 SIETAR-USA Conference is...   "Become Story Listeners"
One thing most SIETARians don't know about me is...
  "My dream job is to be a lounge (jazz) singer.  Hopefully on a cruise ship.  Just me and a piano player."


Nancy Tom -  Formerly on the Board of Directors of SIETAR-USA (2010-2014 as the Leadership Development Director,  Nancy served as conference team lead and committee member in several SIETAR-USA Conferences (2008, 2012, & 2013). She has an MA in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University (c/o '08).   Currently she lives in the Raleigh, NC and works as a project manager on global clinical studies.
In 3 words, my vision of the 2016 SIETAR-USA Conference is...  "Ah-ha moments"
One thing most SIETARians don't know about me is...   "Someone once told me that I had an 'artistic spirit dying to get out.'  I've released this energy through cooking healthy and visually appealing meals and adopting an approach to colorful eating."

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Myanmar & The French Connection
by Sharon Schweitzer, J.D.


One of the most surprising things I discovered on one of my recent trips to Myanmar (formerly Burma) was the depth of the country’s association with the French. A quick dip into the history books showed that this relationship has been in existence since the early 18th century. It was only the pressing nature of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars that allowed Britain to gain a stronghold in the country so that Burma became a British colony. Bringing us back to today, however, an interview in The Irrawaddy with the France Ambassador to Myanmar, Thierry Mathou reveals the large number of French citizens living in Myanmar.

The need for intercultural awareness has become increasingly crucial for successful global business travelers – so how do the cultures of France and Myanmar cooperate so effectively? Here’s my insight, developed while observing culture, doing business in Myanmar and writing my book Access to Asia in which I stress the importance of building trust, inspiring respect and creating long lasting business relationships across cultures:

Building Trust:
The trust that the French have built in Myanmar has been developed through the following activities:

  • French visitors are the country’s most numerous European tourists;
  • Sixty five percent more French citizens have moved to Myanmar in 2013 than the previous year;
  • President U Thein Sein visited Paris in 2012, the inaugural visit by a Myanmar head of state to France.Other bilateral visits have occurred and are planned;
  • Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s 2012 visit to France was her first overseas trip since release from house arrest;
  • France engages with Myanmar in positive ways through their involvement in the economy, education, health and cultural events and also helps promote democracy and human rights.

How much easier it is to have confidence in one’s partners and develop a strong intercultural bond with them when, like the French in Myanmar, they show this kind of ongoing commitment and reliability.

Inspiring Respect:

Many major French companies have established a presence in Myanmar, including one of the world’s leading hotel operators, Accor; the beauty giant L’Oréal; and engineering organization Technip. This not only helps to demonstrate French willingness to invest in Myanmar but exposes high-quality French brands across the country. On top of that, French oil company Total is now held in high esteem internationally for its Socio-Economic Program. France’s long history of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has inspired the respect of the Myanmar people.

Creating Long Lasting Business Relationships:
As mentioned earlier, the French have long-standing ties in Myanmar, having established a shipyard at the port city of Syriam (now known as Thanlyin) way back in 1729. In contemporary times they have continued to demonstrate their commitment to the country in other ways. In 1996 the French established what had been the oldest Western business association in Myanmar, the French Myanmar Business Association, now known as the French Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FMCCI). More recently in July 2014, France was a member of an internat
ional consortium that helped establish Myanmar’s first-ever private journalism school, The Myanmar Journalism Institute. None of this would have happened if the French were not fully invested in ensuring their relationship with Myanmar continues for decades to come.

I believe that business people can learn a lot about intercultural awareness from such examples of bilateral cooperation, especially at a time when teams are increasingly comprised of international talent from many different countries. Team members that truly appreciate what it takes to work effectively across cultures embrace both global etiquette and intercultural awareness.

Working to earn trust and inspire respect, and focusing on building relationships that will stand the test of time rather than being solely task oriented, are the key to successful international partnerships. Wouldn’t you agree?

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is an intercultural consultant and a cross-cultural trainer. She is a regular on-air contributor to NPR and has been quoted by Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, Inc., the New York Times, Bangkok Post and numerous other media. She is the best-selling, international award-winning author of Access to Asia.  For more of Sharon’s insight, follow her on and

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TOIT in Krakow Poland

Young SIETAR is hosting its 4th Training of Intercultural Trainers (TOIT) in Krakow, Poland, from March 18-20, 2016.

Our program offers a variety of learning opportunities for Young Professionals and Advanced Interculturalists alike – as well as opportunities to network with other interculturalists from all over the world and enjoy the city of Krakow!
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ICI's Winter Institute is in March



The Winter Institute is a four-day professional development institute that will be held at the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center, March 7-10, 2016. Please see the workshop schedule and descriptions below and register at:
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Does Your Organization
Offer Internships?

Future SIETARIANS would like to know. We've started to compile a list of those organizations that offer internship programs so please let us know by sending your link to
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Watch this space!  We'll start reporting on SIETAR-USA's local groups.  Let us know your future events and other activities and we'll share them here.  Contact

Want to get active locally?  Here's a list of SIETAR-USA's Local Groups:

SIETAR NW;  SIETAR San Francisco Bay Area; SIETAR Florida; SIETAR Washington DC; SIETAR MN

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Special Thanks to our Conference Sponsors:



Special Sponsors




February is Black History Month

Chinese New Year is February 8

Ash Wednesday is February 10

Valentine's Day is February 14

President's Day is February 15

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