Welcome to: THE INTERCULTURALIST: A PERIODICAL OF SIETAR USA

Like to submit an article to the SIETAR USA periodical? If so, click here to see the guidelines. 

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • 11 Apr 2021 5:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dr Sherri Jones Tapp, Director for Membership Outreach and Diversity

    Sherri Tapp joined the Board two years ago. In addition to her experience, skills, and long career in DEI and intercultural work, she brought an enthusiasm and passion for SIETAR USA that inspired all of us. Her presence was like a light shining on our work for SIETAR USA.

    Sherri left us very suddenly on March 25, 2021, one month after her 64th birthday. As we mourn her loss, we look to each other for support as we know she would have wanted us to do. Board members Justin Sitron and Rashmi Kapse are preparing a special issue of the newsletter to include tributes from Sherri’s community. They wish to invite SIETAR board members, Oral Roberts University colleagues, Tulsa local community organizations she was involved with, family, and friends to email contributions before April 18 to: secretary@sietarusa.org.

    Her friend, Deborah Orlowski (Conference Chair for the 2019 conference in Atlanta) wrote these words that capture how many of us feel:

    “At this moment, I have no words to describe Sherri Tapp so I will allow others to do it for me. Here are some of the descriptors I found on her Facebook page. There are more but these shall have to do for now: Dear friend, sister, mentor, and leader. Amazing collaborator, exceptional woman, a champion for (anti-racism work, Sickle Cell Anemia, Greenwood Cultural Center, the university—the list goes on). Inspiring, warrior, woman of faith, servant of humanity, gem and brilliant.

    She did all of this with grace, humor, laughter, and most of all love. The legacy that Dr. Sherri Jones Tapp leaves all of us is to continue the fight, the work, the belief that someday we can create a better world for all of us. Rest in power, my sister. We already profoundly miss you.”


  • 11 Apr 2021 5:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Craig Storti reveals one of his personal favorites: Saint Exupery’s Wind, Sand, and Stars—treasured by many of us!

    Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint Exupery, reviewed by Craig Storti

    This month’s column is a bit of self-indulgence on the part of your Book Review Editor, in that the book is first and foremost a personal favorite, and only then also happens to be something of a cross-cultural book. This is also an unusual choice for another reason: it is one of those books—each of us has one, I suspect—that as much as we treasure it, we are nevertheless reluctant to recommend it to others. Why? Because you know that after they’ve read it, they will come back to you and ask you to recommend something else like it.

    But there isn’t anything like it.

    If you ask what Wind, Sand, and Stars is about, that’s easy: it’s a series of stories about adventures the author had while he was one of the earliest pilots of the French Aeropostale, the government entity that first carried mail by air from Paris to North and West Africa and later across the Atlantic to Chile and Argentina, crossing back and forth over the Andes, at the dawn of the age of aviation. That’s three-fourths of the book, anyway, but the last quarter, called Barcelona and Madrid (1936), is, as the author says, about a trip he took to Spain during the Spanish Civil War to answer for himself the question: How does it happen that men are sometimes willing to die?

    But to say Wind, Sand, and Stars is about flying adventures is like saying War and Peace is about Napoleonic overreach. OK. Fine (you’re thinking). But then what is it about? Saint Exupery uses his flying experiences—various crashes, rescues, violent storms—and encounters with his fellow pilots, Saharan desert Arabs (some murderous, some kindness itself), Senegalese slaves, and others—to muse on the human condition. If that sounds dry as dust, just start with the chapter called ‘Prisoner of the Sand’ and you’ll weep for not having read this book years ago (so you can reread it now). Then, when you’ve calmed down and dried your tears, you’ll go back to the beginning and be in for some of the most beautiful prose (even in the English translation) you’ll find anywhere.

    And the cross-cultural parts? The book doesn’t try to be cross-cultural—it’s about flying, remember—but Saint Exupery flies over and refuels in a lot of cultures, and there are wonderful moments. My personal favorite is the story he tells about three Moors of his acquaintance who were brought to France (by a fellow pilot) for their first visit outside North Africa. While hiking in the Alps, the three desert dwellers behold a waterfall for the first time.

    Some weeks earlier they had been taken up into the French Alps [where] their guide had led them to a tremendous waterfall, a sort of braided column roaring over the rocks.

    “Come, let us leave,” their guide had said [after a while].

    “Leave us here a little longer.”

    They had stood in silence…mute, solemn…gazing at the unfolding of a [great] mystery. The flow of a single second would have resuscitated whole caravans that, mad with thirst, had pressed on into the eternity of salt lakes and mirages. Here God was manifesting Himself. He had opened the locks and was displaying His puissance.

    “That is all there is to see. Come.”

    “We must wait.”

    “Wait for what?”

    “The end.”

    They were awaiting the moment God would weary of his madness. They knew Him to be quick to repent, knew Him to be miserly.

    “But that water has been running for a thousand years.”

    And here’s another paragraph that’s hard to resist:

    Truth is not that which can be demonstrated by the aid of logic. If orange trees are hardy and rich in fruit in this bit of soil and not that, then this bit of soil is what is truth for orange trees. If a particular religion, culture, or scale of values, if one form of activity rather than another, brings self-fulfilment to a man, releases the prince asleep within him unknown to himself, then that scale of values, that culture, that form of activity constitute his truth. Logic, you say? Let logic wangle its own explanation of life.

    After you’ve been bowled over by this book, you may want to try others by de Saint Exupery. He’s most famous for The Little Prince, but that’s essentially a children’s book. A good deal is to buy Airman’s Odyssey, which combines three of his titles (including Wind…) in one volume. If you begin to wonder more about the man, there is a wonderful biography by Stacy Schiff.

  • 10 Apr 2021 9:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “What can we as interculturalists do to help heal ever more extreme divides in US culture?"  https://www.sietarusa.org/blog/9430039

    Response by Chris Cartwright and interviewees: Taj Suleman, MA, Dr. Cheryl Forster, Sofia Santiago, MBA, MAIR, PMP, Teni-Ola Ogunjobi, MAIR, Kevin R. Martin, MA

    SIETAR-USA colleague Marcella Peralta Simon posed the question above in a letter to the Editor back in the Fall. It’s intriguing, Yes? SIETAR-USA Newsletter Editors Sandy Fowler & Emily Kawasaki asked if I would reply to it and I said ‘yes’. I interviewed Marcella to get more context, (seriously, what interculturalist doesn’t want more context?) and then pondered how I could proceed. I chose to interview 5 interculturalists to get their perspective. I hope you appreciate what they have to offer.

    Taj Suleyman, MAIR, is the new Director of Equity and Inclusion for the Iowa Community School District. Taj related Marcella’s Letter to his experience in Dubuque, Iowa (where he lived until very recently) when interacting with MAGA hat wearing Trump supporters. He has found that if we, as interculturalists, are willing to take to time to deeply hear them and hear to learn, that people will open up to him. People have shared with him that the in their view, the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6 are heroes. They don’t see these actions as evil or even selfish, and do not appreciate it if we judge them in that way. If we look at the foundation of intercultural relations, we see the value of ‘belonging’ and for this population they feel a sense of belonging with the MAGA movement. When he shares with them that he, as a Somali/Lebanese immigrant is in the process of bringing his wife and daughter over from Lebanon, that they respond that they will pray for his family’s safe journey. They may prefer to operate very individualistically, but they pray for a collective wellbeing.

    Taj feels it is the responsibility of interculturalists to find empathy for our community members. He jokes that the ‘Midwest Nice’ that he’s learned in Iowa is drastically different for the Portland ‘nice’ that he experienced while living and working the Pacific Northwest. But he has learned of the context of the people in Iowa and people there feel greatly excluded from the politics and economic policies of the Democratic party and the peoples on either coast. Their industries and farms have suffered, and they found that Trump spoke to them and to a degree delivered some of his promises to them. He found that the socio-economic divide that people in Iowa are feeling is deep and has built a distrust liberal policies and globalization. If we are serious about an inclusionary agenda, we need to address people’s feelings of exclusion first. Empathy is very important in this work and interculturalists are trained in this essential skill.

    Cheryl Forester, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist who works full time at the counseling clinic of Portland State University and in addition is the sole proprietor of an intercultural training firm that specializes in supporting counselors to link and leverage intercultural sensitivity to improving psychological outcomes. In her own words “My work focuses on integrating intercultural and social justice approaches to diversity, along with Polyvagal informed skills (my recent SIETAR presentation); so my goal is to try to hold the complexity of all three perspectives simultaneously, as I bumble my own way through these challenging times.”

    She chose to compose her reply and forward it to me, as she holds a high level of value in carefully constructed answers to complex issues.

    As a woman of color (WOC), I often ask myself, who is being centered in these conversations and who is being harmed or burdened?  Culture is not always neutral, and both sides of an argument are not always equally valid, especially if one is built on lies and bigotry.  … As an intercultural educator and psychologist, I am never going to stop trying to connect, listen, believing people can change, communicate, and connect across differences, and be compassionate, while hopefully always learning and growing myself.  At the same time, I always want to make sure I am attending to power dynamics, because we cannot be neutral in the face of oppression.  A collective healing has to be built on trauma-informed principles, connection, justice, equity, and truth.

    Sofia Santiago, MBA, MAIR, PMP (formerly known as Becky Russell, MBA) is an international speaker, trainer, and coach. Sofia chose to treat Marcella’s Letter as if Marcella and her retirement community might be a potential client. Ever the professional she composed a 10-point intervention plan that reads like a master class in Intercultural consulting. She starts with focusing on the client, their context, what the genuine need it and how to chunk down the learning into digestible pieces. She then walks us through the process of change and considering grief. Her multistep process of self-analysis of what the teacher/coach is bringing to the engagement is razor-sharp; she offers that this process is essential in order to move discussions from superficial to deep levels of empathy. She then moves to find a way to communicate commonalities, and the value of appealing to emotions in supporting change. In our interview it was clear that the type of exchange that Marcella experienced was not uncommon, but imminently changeable with the adequate preparation and facilitative grace. I’m sure Sofia would be fine with me sharing her 10-point action plan if you would like to see it in full.

    Teni-Ola Ogunjobi, MAIR and PhD student is a Nonprofit Director, Refugee and Immigrant Advocate, Interculturalist and Writer in the Atlanta. She chose to read and respond to my interview extemporaneously, and with a freshness of candor that can be both disarming and shocking. She started and closed the interview by stating and then restating that as an Interculturalist, a Black Interculturalist, she has no time for ‘awareness building’ … “maybe you need to bring in someone else to set the foundation and get people on the same page BEFORE I come in  – But my work is about getting to action, working on the steps you need to make the changes necessary to make this right and holding people accountable for their actions.” She stated that after last Summer, with George Floyd and the BLM marches, seeing Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color marching in a Pandemic, that people had no excuse for not being aware that there is injustice in this country. As for Marcella, and other of us who represent the dominant culture, she encouraged us to hold these difficult conversations with our Fox News watching neighbors. That such discussion would come better from us as we in the ‘In Group’, or as Teni-Ola would say we are their ‘skin folk’; so they will trust hearing this work better from us than from a POC like herself.

    Kevin Martin, MAIR, is the Community Development Specialist at Community Works West, an agency devoted to bringing healing to the criminal justice system. He also moonlights as a Dharma teacher for his sangha and has recently started an ordination process within his lineage. Kevin started by attending to judgement, articulating that in being an interculturalist he has to first understand that not everyone thinks like him. He does not know why women and people of color (POC) would vote against their best interests. Before this process, we have to offer the humanity, humility, and dignity to respect that they had agency. Remembering that cultures and genders are not monoliths, so we can’t know why these choices were or are made.

    Kevin noted that Interculturalists have tools to be able to see deep, but also to see from a broader perspective. If we can step back and take a more global perspective, we see that similar questions are being asked about the US. ‘Why does America take up so much space? Why does it support such atrocious leadership that harms the peoples and environment of the word?’ His Dharma students wrestle with embracing people with kindness and understanding who they see as doing things that are hurtful or atrocious; they offer the analogy of a car and ask if the carburetor can be replaced. Kevin replies that viewing the US as a human body is more appropriate. The US needs the South and the Midwest to function, we cannot remove parts and make it better. Kevin closes by reminding us that we as interculturalists are curious and so can move to close proximity to difference and seek to find commonalities. We may not agree with a person’s ideas, but we can learn to acknowledge that we can see where they are coming from. That this seeing and valuing the overlaps opens up a spaciousness to empathy. In our interactions we, as interculturalists, can be unafraid to point-out edges, without judgement and encourage other to see and explore these edges together.

    The responses to my query to respond to Marcella’s Letter were as diverse as the people I had chosen to interview. I am privileged to have taught each of them once in our lives and humbled to be able to call them colleagues. I hope you appreciate the authenticity with which they responded to this Letter to the editor. Listed below are my co-authors on this response.

    Taj Suleman, MA

    Dr. Cheryl Forster

    Sofia Santiago, MBA, MAIR, PMP

    Teni-Ola Ogunjobi, MAIR

    Kevin R. Martin, MA


  • 10 Apr 2021 8:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    WE NEED YOUR ...


    It takes many hands and hearts to make a conference a success. Please consider being a sponsor for the 2021 SIETAR USA Conference - Mind, Culture, Society. Our society is deeply polarized and the need for our work to bridge ideologies, cultures, races, and politics is desperately needed. The SIETAR USA conference is a time when those of us who seek to bring people together, to foster the understanding and collaboration that makes our society function and thrive, and to learn and share best practices can gather to learn and support each other. But we need your support to make that happen. Please consider becoming a sponsor for this year’s conference. In return, your company will be recognized as a leader in the field to promote global inclusion. Full details on sponsor levels and benefits can be found at https://www.sietarusa.org/sponsors-exhibitors. There is room for big and small companies—and sponsorship packages include your registration fee!

    You can also become an advertiser in the conference program, or an exhibitor at the conference. It’s a great way to demonstrate your company's expertise and reach top level educators, trainers, and consultants in the intercultural and DEI arenas who may benefit from your products or services.

    Please consider supporting SIETAR USA as we continue to build the field and strengthen our members’ capacity to make a difference in our worlds.

    PROPOSAL REVIEWERS NEEDED

    Being a proposal reviewer for the conference doesn’t just help us out, it’s a good benefit for you as well. You get to help shape the conference and It’s a great opportunity to get a sneak peek at some of the fabulous workshops, panels, NEDTalks, and discussions that will be taking place at the conference in October. It’s always inspiring to me to see what others are doing and to start thinking about which sessions I want to be sure to attend. It’s like having your pulse on the current trends and lifeblood of the field. Send a note to conferenceproposals@sietarusa.org today to let the program chairs know you are interested and they will help you get signed up to review as many proposals as you wish. There is a review rubric to help you evaluate each proposal in an objective way. You can focus on a specific track, or general IC and DEI proposals--it’s up to you. It really is YOUR conference. Help make it the best it can be.

    DON’T MISS THE BOAT

    Proposals are streaming in, don’t miss the opportunity to contribute to this year’s exciting conference focusing on Mind, Culture, Society. How do you see these three key arenas shaping and being shaped by Intercultural and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion work? What new frameworks, research, tools, and strategies have you developed or discovered? Submit your proposal today to meet the April 30th deadline for priority consideration. Remember - You are the conference. Your voice and experience are important. We want to hear you.

    REGISTRATION TO OPEN IN MAY!

    Conference registration is due to open in May. At this time, our goal is to maintain our registration fees at levels very close to those from 2019 with minimal or no increases. Stay tuned, you'll be the first to know. As always, we strive to make the conference as affordable as possible for as many as possible.

    SAFETY IN NUMBERS

    Well, that saying sure has a new meaning in our current world.

    We at SIETAR USA want you to know that we are doing everything in our power to make sure that we can safely gather in numbers in October in Omaha. We are monitoring the CDC guidelines diligently, staying in communication with the hotel and their planning and protocols, and listening to advice from the experts. We are absolutely committed to the safety and wellbeing of all or members and conference attendees. Here’s what we can tell you at this stage.

    Vaccine rollouts appear to be happening ahead of schedule and the target is that all adults in the US can get vaccinated by the end of May or early June. The CDC and Biden administration are staying current on the effectiveness of the vaccines on both Covid-19 and the mutations. This means that currently we have every reason to believe that by October it will be safe to gather for public conferences. We will continue to monitor any restrictions that may occur for numbers allowed for such gatherings and keep you all updated.

    The Hilton Hotel has worked hard to create safe environments for large and small group gatherings, food service, as well as public area and room sanitation. They have implemented new policies for food service, room preparation, and seating arrangements in all meeting rooms and public areas. Their livelihood depends on the safety and wellbeing of their guests, and it is forefront in their planning.


    Travel arrangements. Current statistics and guidelines indicate that travel within the USA is beginning to open up. Airlines, airports, and all travel facilities are also watching carefully and shaping their policies accordingly.

    We are, of course, eager to have as many people as possible attend the 2021 Conference in Omaha. We are all longing to connect with friends and colleagues after such a long time. However, we also assure you that we are following all guidelines and will continue to monitor and adjust as necessary to make our gathering as safe as possible for all who attend, serve, and support us.

    Karen Lokkesmoe
    SIETAR USA Board of Directors
    Conference Oversight


  • 10 Apr 2021 8:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Omaha and Nebraska - the Heartland of the United States is the land of several Native Peoples. There is a rich, and at times tragic, history of Tribal Peoples in Omaha. Among the Tribal Nations for whom Nebraska has been their homeland or whose histories have been connected to Nebraska are: Arapaho, Arikara, Cheyenne, Comanche, Dakota, Sac and Fox, Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, Kansa or Kaw, Kiowa, Lakota, Missouri, Omaha, Osage, Oto, Pawnee, Ponca, Santee, Sauk, Santee Sioux, and Winnebago.

    SIETAR USA wishes to honor and give thanks to these proud owners and custodians of the land on which we will meet in October.

    Today, there remain six Tribal Nations with land in Nebraska: the Oglala Sioux, Santee Sioux, Winnebago, Omaha, Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, and the Sac and Fox. In addition, there are also Federal Land Trusts for the Ponca and Winnebago.

    There are museums and monuments that pay homage to this rich Tribal heritage throughout Nebraska, and several right in Omaha. Stay tuned in future months for more details on some options for places you may want to visit!


  • 10 Apr 2021 8:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ANNOUNCEMENT: 

    Scholarship Applications to the 2021 SIETAR USA National Conference are now being accepted


    The theme of the conference is Mind, Culture, Society

    Are you studying in a field related to intercultural or global work? Well who isn’t these days! Is diversity and inclusion important for your field? We all need global skills in today’s world. The SIETAR USA National Conference is a great place for you to learn about what is needed today and to further develop your competencies in these critically important areas.

    Submit your application today to be considered for a scholarship to attend.

    Conference dates: Friday, October 8 – Monday, October 11, 2021

    Conference location: Hilton Omaha (1001 Cass Street, Omaha, NE 68102-1152)

    For more information on conference: https://www.sietarusa.org/Conference-Information

    Scholarship amount: Covers conference registration fee and 1 ticket to conference gala.

    Who can apply: Students and employees/volunteers of community-based non-profit organizations who have never previously attended our conference.

    Where to apply: tinyurl.com/2021SUSA-Scholarships

    Application deadline: July 31, 2021

  • 10 Apr 2021 7:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Each of us has a backstory that explains how we came to do the Intercultural and DEI work that we do. We are starting a series of these stories and invite you to send us the story of what brought you to the Intercultural and DEI fields. The first in our series is by Mel Schnapper, Ph.D. and a co-founder of SIETAR. 

    The History of a White Man
    Mel Schnapper, PhD

    I am a white native of Washington, D.C., and a graduate of Howard University (1964, B.A., English Literature). I was editor of the student newspaper, The Hilltop, and member of a fraternity (Alpha Phi Omega). Though not the complete student activist of the 1960's, I supported the Howard chapter of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) by letting them use The Hilltop office and did occasional civil rights activity of a public protest or investigative nature. One example was to find out that segregated construction unions were building the new campus gymnasium.

    For those of you who remember or have read about the 60's in your history books, during the mid-sixties there was the first organized attempt by Mississippi Blacks to unseat the white controlled Democratic delegation to the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City in 1962. That was a movement by The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) composed of SNCC, NAACP, SCLC, etc.  and other local and national civil rights groups. I was there.

    I spent a brief time in Jackson, Miss. I arrived there the morning Medgar Evers, a local civil rights activist, was assassinated in his driveway. I stayed with Stokely Carmichael's (who changed his name to Kwame Touré) girlfriend’s family. We all slept in the back of the house. There had been occasional bombings and shootings from cars driving through the Black neighborhood of Jackson. In fact, the main street was Race St. because it was on the way to a racetrack, perhaps not what you were thinking!

    I was also arrested during a street demonstration. When the NAACP bailed me out, I met Dick Gregory (first Black comedian to make jokes about racism) and William Kunstler (maybe best known for defending the "Chicago Seven") in the lawyer's office. And during a later street demonstration, I was found hiding in the closet of a local dentist by the same cop who had arrested me several days before! He was ready to do me in, but I promised I'd catch the next bus to Memphis if he let me go. He did, after threatening me with various kinds of fates if he should catch me again. So, I was gone within hours.

    After graduation, I joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Nigeria teaching English and becoming fluent in Yoruba. I then went to Northwestern University to get a Ph.D. in African Linguistics and had plans to teach in African Studies departments in the U.S., Africa and elsewhere. After finishing my Master's in Linguistics, I spent the next year training other Peace Corps Volunteers for African countries, eSwatini, Somalia and Ethiopia. I even wrote the first siSwati language course ever for Peace Corps.

    While on St. Croix), I met a returned Peace Corps Volunteer who already had a child fathered by an Eritrean. When we married a year later, I adopted him as my own. He has since met his Eritrean father and even traveled to Eritrea to meet his paternal grandparents, cousins, etc.

    As a Peace Corps trainer. I was at the founding meeting of what began as SITAR, exclusively for Peace Corps trainers. After some years of dormancy, it was revived as SIETAR to include the academics who were later involved.  I was at both meetings.

    More recently I have worked in 26 countries, mostly Africa. My most intense intercultural experience was working for a USAID project to train senior Palestinian managers for an eventual independent state of Palestine. I not only worked in Gaza then occupied by Israel with a few Israeli settlements. Traveling from Gaza City, where I also lived, to East Jerusalem where the AMIDEAST office was, my employer, I would pass a forest and, if with a Palestinian colleague, he would point to the forest and tell me that is where his father’s village used to be before the Israelis levelled it and planted the trees to obliterate any vestiges. If passing the same forest with an Israeli, he would point to the same forest and tell me that before, that same area had nothing, until, thanks to the Jewish National Fund (JNF) helped to plant trees in what had been barren land which was now yielding lumber from the trees.

    This was one of many encounters with two totally different realities as Palestinians and Israelis can look at the same thing and have totally different narratives about its significance.

    Learning about Racism

    My first racial memory is standing on a street corner (in about 1946) waiting for a taxi with my mother in Washington, D.C. I must have been about 4. I saw one coming and was excited to experience the power of stopping a car by holding out my hand. I held out my hand at the first cab in sight and my mother said "put your hand down, it's a colored taxi" I understood what she meant but questioned the sense of it. I kept my hand up. The taxi stopped and we got in.

    My neighborhood, Petworth, in D.C. which was all white changed to mostly black in about 5 years.

    With most of the neighborhood kids now black, I was warned not to play with "them" they were "rough" different and wouldn't hesitate to fight with me. I was especially warned not to go into anyone's home. Who knew what I might get fed! When I finally went to Howard, my grandparents, with whom I lived, would ask me why I had to socialize and get involved. Just get your education. My grandmother was quite liberal for her time, being a Russian immigrant.

    During high school, I was just barely aware from TV and the newspapers about the “Freedom Riders' "CORE",” Sit-ins" and the desegregation struggle in the South. As graduation approached, I was undecided about a career or college though my yearbook states " Mel will pursue a degree in International Relations at the School of International Studies at American University." I wasn't that committed especially as my grandparents warned me that being a Jew and in the State Department were mutually exclusive. Those were the days before Kissinger.

    I chose to attend Howard University (an HBCU: Historically Black College or University). In no way did my decision have to do with rebellion, social awareness, or an attempt to be different. These were to come after I got there.

    The culture shock at Howard was more than I expected. I felt like a neon light on campus. My whiteness was a constant part of my consciousness. I talked to students from all over the country—mostly the South. There were huge sections for remedial math and English because of Howard's commitment to give Black students another chance. It is also Howard's commitment to be a University stressing excellence.  I was assaulted by accents, styles of language, and social norms that were different.                  

    The first semester was mostly one of scholarship and social isolation. I did venture out into the campus social world—international student week, plays, lectures, some concerts, but no real contact beyond the few whites in pharmacy. I hung out with whites I didn't even like. Looking at the next semester with no real commitment to my pharmacy major, I started to explore what Howard had to offer. I found that the responses to me were friendly and self-conscious, maybe accommodating.

    In my second year, now a liberal-arts major, I took the "History of the Negro to 1865"—there were no Black Studies then. These were started at white institutions. I also found that the integration movement and my campus life were coming together. I'd read about SNCC, CORE, Freedom Rides and arrests in the Maryland, Virginia areas over civil rights picketing. Some of the politically active students were in my classes. That is, when they were there and not spending time in jail or organizing rallies. Some had been on the original freedom rides with CORE (Congress of Racial Equality). Some were late to class or not in class because they were in a Baltimore jail for trying to integrate a recreation park. I was not yet politicized through the awareness was growing.

    Though Howard was a Black institution, it was a conservative institution. Even though James Nabrit was President and along with Thurgood Marshall had won the 1954 Supreme Court desegregation decision, his basic appeal was to challenge segregation though the courts, not the streets.

    My teachers at Howard were there to teach. I have gone to the University of Pittsburgh, Northwestern, Whittier College, UCLA, and George Washington and now fully appreciate that some of the best teachers I ever had were at Howard. I had Sterling Brown, Arthur P. Davis, Owen Dodson, William Banner, and others—people of superior intellect and committed to giving Black students an excellent education. And in much of their teaching, I was able to get not just the basic material, but a perspective as well. For example, studying Faulkner we discussed the issue of the Black character as seen from a Black perspective.

    ROTC at Howard was compulsory and so I took it for two years. Besides learning that the Revolutionary War was won by sheer luck and British incompetence, I learned how racist the US Army was from our instructor who had served in WW II and Korea. I learned about no "colored" officers in Korea, Black recruits confined to KP (kitchen duty) and afterwards, less than full combat conditions.

    In other words, I learned the Black sociology of military history. Black involvement in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WW I and WW II. Howard was the venue for colored officer training, etc.  As was Tuskegee, for the first "colored" Army air pilots. Blacks had to fight for the right to die for America.

    What's a Nice Jewish Boy Doing in Jail?

    After 3 years of being at Howard meeting kids who had been beaten up for straying into the white part of town, who'd grown up in segregated neighborhoods, schools, restaurants, etc. I decided I had to see the "deep South" for myself. I knew the SNCC kids Stokely Carmichael now Kwame Touré, Courtland Cox, Stan Wise, and got the names of SNCC contacts in Montgomery and Selma, AL and Jackson, MS. I also decided to hitchhike as a way to meet people on a more intimate level.

    However, other philosophies prevailed, and with heightened precautions by the DC Police, National Guard, the “1963 March for Freedom and Jobs” was carried out nearly perfectly. It’s also amazing to me that almost 60 years have passed since then and how my own life has mirrored some significant social and political events in U.S. history, e.g. I arrived in Jackson, Mississippi the morning Medgar Evers was assassinated, and (though white) I stayed in the Black neighborhoods where I felt safer.

    I participated in church rallies, street demonstrations and I was arrested in the melee. Being naïve, if not stupid, I thought, “If I run, I’ll get clubbed” So I stood in place and calmly watched the police run past me and then come back to arrest me and take me to jail in Jackson. And that’s how I met Dick Gregory, Bill Kunstler and local NAACP leadership as the local NAACP chapter bailed me out.

    That’s how it all started for me. What’s your story?

    Mel Schnapper, Ph.D. completed a self-designed Ph.D. program at the University of Pittsburgh in 1970. His dissertation entitled “Experiential Intercultural Training for International Operations” described his consultant trainer role to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). More of his intercultural publications are available at mel@schnapper.com

  • 10 Apr 2021 7:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Remembering EDS Co-Founder Andy Reynolds

    "I need to see you in my office,” Elmer Dixon, President of Executive Diversity Services recalled telling Andy Reynolds, when they worked together at the Seattle Park District. Andy was in the media relations department. Elmer was the EEOC officer. “We've had a harassment complaint against you,” Elmer told him.

    Anyone who knows Andy would know that this was probably impossible. You would also know that it was something he took very seriously.

    About those shiny shoes...

    “What was the complaint?” Andy asked as he sat down in Elmer’s office. Elmer repeated the concerns that had been brought forward: “You wear too much cologne and your shoes are too shiny.” At Andy’s inquisitive look, Elmer clarified. Someone had expressed concern that his shoes were so shiny that if he stood too close, he would be able to see under their skirt in the reflection.

    Diversity and Inclusion is serious business. Our job and mission in life is to protect people against harassment. That said, Andy was always someone who knew how to bring laughter and levity into serious situations, and this was one for the laughter books. “I don’t know if they were serious, but cut the cologne and scuff up your shoes just in case,” Elmer counseled.

    Andy passed away on Sunday February 7 after a 14-month battle with cancer.

    Prior to joining the Seattle Park District Andy had been a long-time reporter with KING5TV in Seattle and had worked for the Seattle Opportunity Industrialization Center. Andy joined his wife, Donna Stringer, along with Linda Taylor and Elmer Dixon as business partners in Executive Diversity Services shortly after it launched in 1987. He worked here until retiring in 2008.

    A Joyful Spirit

    Elmer remembered Andy’s joyful spirit. “He had his own unique sense of humor and a bellowing laugh to go along with it.” From Andy, Elmer learned how you can still be serious, but at the same time keep it light. Andy loved jazz and good food. “Our work is serious but there’s always time to look at the brighter lighter side of life,” said Elmer. Remembering those shiny shoes still makes Elmer smile.

    A Man of Integrity

    Andy grew up in the south, in North Carolina, during the civil rights movement. “He had a strong sense of integrity and standing up for the rights of others,” said Elmer, citing one of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” That idea resonated in Andy’s work and his life travels. In all he strove to understand the nuances of other cultures, trying new things without judgment. For Andy, if it was integral to understanding another culture, he wanted to experience it.

    Collaborative and Client Focused

    Each member of the original EDS owners brought something special to the team. Andy brought his background and expertise in marketing and sales from his work in broadcasting, which was a valuable asset. “With our diverse backgrounds, we challenged each other to push the limits of our collective creativity,” said Elmer. “Andy’s legacy still permeates all that we do at EDS. We all made sure that a client’s needs came first, but Andy had a higher sense of that, that went above and beyond. That’s the legacy that EDS continues to hold on to,” said Elmer.

    A Visionary

    “Andy was a visionary,” said Donna, his life partner of 40 years and business partner for 21 years. “He always envisioned something bigger, thinking two to five years ahead.” And “he was an extraordinary trainer,” she added, noting his natural ability to connect and partner with whoever he was training.

    Donna and Andy met shortly after she moved to Seattle in 1981 to be the Director of the City’s Office of Women’s Rights. One of her first actions was to establish an advisory panel as she set about to create the first city-wide survey of sexual harassment in the country. Her contact at City Council recommended Andy Reynolds. “I need to prepare you for these interviews,” Andy had warned her. As they spent time together at work, he suggested that they should socialize. “Andy’s very best friend was gay, so I assumed he was gay,” Donna smiles at the memory. “We lived together for 29 years until we got married 11 years ago.” (They had decided intentionally not to get married until their gay and lesbian friends could get married.)

    A Mentor to Others

    “What continues to impress me, and I know he was proud of this as well, is the number of people he mentored, whether officially or unofficially. It was important to Andy to advocate for and sponsor young people,” said Donna. “But I think the number of people who have shared how he touched their lives, across over 500 emails, cards, and four memorials, is overwhelming. When it comes down to it, we really never know how we touch people.”

    Generosity and Inclusion

    “A major theme of Andy’s life was generosity and inclusion of other people,” said Donna, recalling a regular, everyday trip to the grocery store. Andy drove and waited outside while Donna ran in. On the way out she gave change to a man who was homeless and often in front of the store. When she got in the car, Andy told her his name, his whole story. Because he had taken the time to ask. “Andy saw not just someone who was homeless. He saw a person. And that’s how he approached everyone.”

    Written by Elmer Dixon


  • 10 Apr 2021 7:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are pleased to welcome our newest SIETAR Local Group. SIETAR Atlanta has officially joined our SIETAR family and will be hosting their first event “Ode to Intercultural Poetry” in honor of National Poetry Month with a virtual celebration of Atlanta, Social Justice, Diversity, and Inclusion on April 24, 5pm-6:30pm EST. If any SIETAR members are interested in showcasing their performance and poetry skills during this event or joining SIETAR Atlanta, please contact SietarAtl@gmail.com to submit your proposal.

    The SIETAR - SF Bay Area group has been inactive for a long time, and coordinator, Susan Svensson, welcomes anyone who might be willing to work with her and revive it again! Although this group used to hold meetings at the International House (I-House) at U.C. Berkeley, they anticipate holding virtual-only meetings via Zoom. Like meetings in the past, meetings would be centered around discussion topics and/or include presenters. If you are in the SF Bay Area, or beyond, and want to help revive the SIETAR Bay Area group, please contact Susan at sietarsfbayarea@gmail.com or connect with her via LinkedIn.

    SIETAR DC is thrilled to welcome Anne-Claire Frank Seisay to the leadership team. They started the 2021 by co-hosting a presentation on “Advancing Education in Muslim Societies: Mapping Developmental Values and Competencies among Students and Teachers in Fourteen Muslim Communities” with American University’s School of Education and The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) in February and look forward to hosting Julia Gaspar-Bates April 22 who will do an interactive presentation on “The Use of Film in Intercultural Training”. For details or to become a member, contact sietardc@gmail.com.

    SIETAR-MN is starting 2021 off with lots of hopeful energy! In January, Professor Emeritus Kris Bransford, along with her colleague Basma Ibrahim DeVries, facilitated a session on Exploring Positive Psychology from Cultural Perspectives: Exercises and Applications to Promote Interculturalists' Deeper Understanding. In February, the group hosted Rashmi Kapse from the SIETAR-USA Board who spoke about Coaching for Intercultural Development. In March, SIETAR-MN encouraged members to register for the SIETAR-USA Webinar, 'Virtual Sparks! Interactive Intercultural Activities and Strategies for Online Teaching and Training,' featuring Basma Ibrahim DeVries, in addition to its Quarterly Book Club on Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. SIETAR-MN is excited to explore the topic, What Makes for a Successful DEI Program as we participate in the Launch of the updated Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Benchmarks with Joel A. Brown from the Centre for Global Inclusion. Consider joining them on April 20 at 6:30pm CST on Zoom. The momentum continues on May 18 at 6:30pm CST when they welcome their favorite grandfather of the intercultural field, Jack Condon, for a Zoom Fireside Chat: Moments, Memories, and Momentum. Check out the SIETAR-Minnesota Facebook page for details or email them at sietar.mn@gmail.com

    In 2021 SIETAR Tri-State (NY, NJ, CT) organized three events on diversity, equity and inclusion: two webinars, by Nitin Deckha and Cecilia Lui, and a workshop by Rosemary Okoiti. The group welcomes new members regardless of where they are located. Find them on Facebook and LinkedIn or email sietartristate@gmail.com.

    SIETAR Florida welcome Neal Goodman, President of Global Dynamics, Inc. in January with a presentation on “Maintaining an Intercultural Business.” In honor of Black History Month in February, they hosted a panel discussion moderated by Yuko Deneuville, featuring Patricia Malidor-Coleman, Christopher Robinson, and Rachael Lynn Assignon. For details or to become a member contact sietarflorida@gmail.com.

     


  • 10 Apr 2021 7:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Mentoring Committee sent out applications to those who expressed an interest in being either a mentor or mentee and the deadline to return them was March 26. To date, we have only received one mentee application and one individual who expressed an interest in being a mentor. I’m not sure if this is because people didn’t receive their applications, if they are no longer interested or just plain overwhelmed with all that is going on in the world right now.

    After more consideration I believe it would be best to offer an informational session on the Mentoring Program at the SIETAR USA conference in Omaha in October. This would provide an opportunity for members to learn more about the program and what’s expected, along with giving mentors and mentees a chance to meet. Please consider being a mentor as many of our new members are interested in connecting with those who are more seasoned in the field and this is an opportunity to expand our profession. I am going to send out the applications again and have included the links to the Google applications here. If you did not receive an application before, it may have gone into your spam email box.

    Mentee Application

    Mentor Application

    Please email me at profdevelopment@sietarusa.org if you would either like to hear more about the program or have questions.

    The Ethics Committee has been reviewing the current SIETAR USA Living Code to make it more inclusive and bring it up to date. This past week we reviewed and edited the document and it will soon be sent to a review committee. If you are interested in being a reviewer, please contact me at profdevelopment@sietarusa.org and I will pass your name onto Kurt Nemes who chairs the committee. In addition to Kurt, committee members include Alan Richter, Bettina Byrd Giles, Luby Ismail, Sandy Fowler, and Cheryl Woehr. Once the reviewers have completed their work with the document and made their suggestions, we will be offering a session at the Conference in October to give SIETAR USA members a chance to provide their input.

    The Webinar Committee has done a fabulous job of booking speakers for our webinar series for the entire year so be sure to register!

    Our next webinar speaker will be Andrej Juriga, Founder and Managing Director of Cultural Bridge on April 14 for 11am – 12:30pm ET. Andrej will be presenting on the The Psychology of Cultural Humility: An Emotion Critical for Intercultural Development.

    On April 17, we will have the pleasure of having Thiagi offering another all day training entitled: LOLA: Live Online Learning Activities!

    We hope you will join us for both events!

    Cheryl Woehr
    Professional Development Director
    SIETAR USA


<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 

Contact Us
P.O. Box 548
Wheaton, IL 60187-4729
847.893.9655

info@sietarusa.org

Wild Apricot theme design and development by Webbright