“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.” Nelson Mandela
Organizing a SIETAR USA conference starts with selecting the dates, a city, and hotel. For the 2019 SIETAR USA conference those are: 29 October to 3 March, in Atlanta, GA at the Marriott Gateway Hotel at the airport. The next two things that have to happen are to populate the Conference Committee and select a theme. We are fortunate to have Karen Lokkesmoe as the Conference Chairperson this year. Her Conference Committee is coming together with some old timers and some new faces. There are a few positions still open, which means you have an opportunity to join the organizing crew—if you act fast. Working on the conference has given me insights into the field, the people, and how to manage a complex operation. The satisfaction of seeing months of planning in fruition is well worth the time and effort. Think about it—and if you are interested, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Call for Proposals is currently being prepared for the SIETAR USA conference in the Fall of 2019, which means it is time to consider sharing your work, projects, thoughts and ideas. As a guide to your consideration we are pleased to present the conference theme and tracks:
2019 SIETAR USA Conference Theme and Tracks
From Adversity to Diversity: The Role of the Interculturalist
The world has become an ever more complex, and polarized place. The gap between opinions, perspectives, and facts has widened and become increasingly more confusing and challenging. As professionals in a range of fields, public and private, we are called upon to move others from increasing adversity to welcoming diversity. How do we envision the Role of the Interculturalist in the myriad challenges facing our societies today? When and how does the interculturalist have a place at the table? We need a clear message—that articulates and embraces our similarities and differences to better engage, communicate, and cooperate with one another. Working and learning together, we can clarify our roles and share best practices that enhance our capacities to bring people together and foster greater workability for us all.
As always, in addition to the traditional three pillars of SIETAR USA: Education, Training, and Research, the 2019 Conference offers three tracks as a focus for proposals.
Track 1: The Role of the Interculturalist: Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice. This track addresses interculturalists as agents of communication within and between communities. Have you ever wondered where the intercultural field and the world of diversity and inclusion meet, connect, or differ? Do you ever question the dichotomies of intercultural vs diversity and inclusion, domestic vs global? Proposals for this track could address such topics as the role of interculturalists in addressing unconscious bias; overcoming communication barriers between ethnicities, races, genders, sexual orientations and more; polarization; difficult conversations with positive outcomes; bridging the gaps; communities in need of dialog; human and civil rights; and the impact of privilege.
Track 2: The Role of the Interculturalist Working with Specific Cultures. This track emphasizes working with specific cultures whether domestically or internationally. Proposal topics might include working with immigrants and refugees; or with joint ventures or multinational companies; working with global virtual teams; orienting newcomers to the United States (or abroad); working with cultural groups in the education system; or research and resources that make a difference. Sessions in this track will focus on one or two specific cultures and what the presenter(s) have learned about best practices within that cultural context. Presenters or co-presenters from the highlighted cultures will be especially appreciated.
Track 3: The Role of the Interculturalist: Building Skills and Taking them to the Market Place. What are the essential skills of the intercultural teacher, trainer, coach or scholar? How does one hone those skills and how does one market them effectively to the broader community? This track focuses specifically on how we learn and share our skills as interculturalists with each other and our communities. Suggested topics for this track could include: marketing and branding your business; educating the market; using social media to grow your business; websites and how to use them effectively; positioning yourself in the market; how to pick conferences and professional development opportunities that will help; networking; and best practices.