As the newly appointed Conference Co-Chair I am honored and humbled to take up the mantle carried so ably by many before me. Luckily, that also means that there is a great pool of resources and mentors to draw upon as I move forward. I may be calling you.
I am excited to announce the theme for our 2019 SIETAR USA Conference:
From Adversity to Diversity: The Role of the Interculturalist
Our societies, near and far, are being challenged to address the fast-paced changes in depth and breadth of diversity we are experiencing. Changes that leave some reeling, feeling uncertain, or perhaps even threatened, bring energy, inspiration and joy to others. The 2019 Conference will explore the Role of the Interculturalist in meeting the challenges higher levels of diversity may present to some and enhance our own as well as others’ capacity to find workable, and indeed inspiring, solutions that make our communities stronger and more resilient. There will be three tracks that delve deeper into the roles we all play in our diverse societies as well as a general intercultural category.
The first track: The Role of the Interculturalist: Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice will explore what the role of an interculturalist is in addressing issues such as disparities, unconscious bias, and social injustice. Do interculturalist have a place at the table in these arenas? Should they? How might that be accomplished, and to what end?
The second track: The Role of the Interculturalist Working in Culture Specific Contexts will highlight best practices and lessons learned from working with specific cultural groups. Whether nationally with immigrants, refugees or tightly knit communities; or internationally with global teams or joint ventures, what has experience taught us about how to be most effective crossing cultural divides. How can differences and similarities be parlayed into strengths, innovation, and flexibility?
The third track The Role of the Interculturalist: Building Skills and Taking them to the Marketplace will focus on the business of intercultural work. It will explore what our communities need from us, how we develop those skills, and how we can bring them to the marketplace effectively. Whether starting out in the field or seeking to take your business to the next level, which skills do you want to enhance? Which do you want to share with colleagues?
It is the mission of the SIETAR 2019 Conference to provide space, time, integrity, compassion, and empathy in enabling all participants to be heard, understood, and respected in furthering our intercultural work together. It is our goal that each participant leaves feeling enlightened, enthralled, and empowered to make a difference in their own world in moving from adversity to diversity.
I look forward to seeing you in Atlanta!
Karen J. Lokkesmoe, PhD
2019 SIETAR USA Conference Co-Chair