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Conference Connections: Speaker Highlights

09 Oct 2019 9:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Two reasons to be at the SIETAR USA National Conference: 1. the high quality roster of concurrent sessions, and 2. the exciting list of invited speakers this year.  Here are just a few highlights—come to the conference to hear them speak!

In addition to our Opening Keynote Speaker, Hamlin Grange of DiversiPro, Inc., who will encourage us to think differently about being prodigal interculturalists, we have several other invited speakers who will share their expertise and insights at the conference.  Hamlin's speech was featured in our July Newsletter.

Closing Keynote - Saturday, November 2

Amer Ahmed, Speaker, Facilitator  

Dismantling the ‘U.S. versus International’ Dichotomy: Creating Synergy between Intercultural and Diversity/Social Justice Approaches to Confront 21st Century Challenges  
Intercultural approaches are often adopted by those in organizations who engage in international and global efforts while Diversity and Social Justice approaches tend to be viewed as only applicable in U.S. contexts.  As the trend of Globalizing business, higher education and other sectors rapidly accelerates, there are many missed opportunities due to the lack of synthesis of the two approaches.   This dichotomy often prevents us from understanding the relationship between local and global factors that impact our ability to engage constituencies holistically.  For example, by engaging issues related to immigration and more specifically undocumented people in only one of these approaches, it prevents us from understanding the relationship between local and global factors impacting diverse contextual realities around the world.  In addition, the integration of these approaches better highlights the historical context and inequities created from power dynamics that must be considered in order to effectively navigate intercultural realities in our world today.

Dr. Amer F. Ahmed is an organizational strategist who helps institutions and leaders address diversity and inclusion, equity, and intercultural development through consulting, coaching, group facilitation, and keynote speeches.

The Three Track Plenaries start the morning on Friday, November 1

Track I: The Role Of The Interculturalist: Diversity, Inclusion, And Social Justice

Jill Savitt, President & CEO, National Center for Civil and Human Rights 

"Rights and Dignity in a Divided World"  

Jill Savitt will address the need for sustained rights advocacy campaigning—building the skills and capacities within civil society to change policies that affect the dignity of communities. A human rights advocate with special expertise in genocide prevention, she curated an exhibit on global human rights at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Previously, Savitt was the Acting Director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. She founded and directed Dream for Darfur, a high-profile advocacy campaign that pressed the Chinese government to take specific actions regarding the Darfur crisis in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Games. Savitt graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and began her career as a reporter for WAMU the NPR affiliate in Washington, DC.  
Track II: The Role Of The Interculturalist: Working With Specific Cultures

Joe Lurie, Author and Educator

"Decoding Cultural Disconnects with Refugee and Immigrant Populations"

Joe Lurie presents a revealing exploration of misperceptions of and miscommunications with various refugee and immigrant populations, with a particular emphasis on different approaches to health care, religion, employment and politesse. We may be reminded of the limitations of our own cultural and experiential lenses when engaging with these communities, and likely amazed at what we can learn about ourselves and gain from others through the eyes of a stranger. As a North African proverb suggests, "The Camel Does Not See its Hump!" Joe Lurie served as Executive Director of UC Berkeley’s International House for two decades. His inspired leadership was featured in a national PBS documentary about UC Berkeley's International House. A former director of semester and summer programs abroad for the School for International Training in France, Kenya, and Ghana, Joe lived in Europe for four years, and lectures widely for UC Berkeley's Cal Discoveries in Africa, Asia, and Europe ; he is fluent in French as well as Swahili which he learned as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya. Formerly Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for AFS Intercultural Programs in the United States and National Study Abroad Chair for NAFSA'S Association of International Educators, Joe holds an advanced degree and Diploma in African Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he was recipient of an NDFL Fellowship in African Languages.  He is author of the award-winning “Perception and Deception–A Mind Opening Journey Across Cultures,” published in an expanded second edition in 2018 by Cultural Detective/Nipporica Associates. 

Track III: The Role Of The Interculturalist: Building Skills And Taking Them To The Market Place 

Tatyana Fertelmeyster and Vicki Flier Hudson, Trainers, Consultants, and Business Owners

"From Passion to Payment and Back: Staying True to Your Purpose While Growing Your Business"   


Tatyana and Vicki, two very different women, owners of two very different intercultural businesses are joining forces to challenge SIETARians to examine the intercultural skills that are essential business development and business building and asking why we are often so good at being our own obstacles.  They say it all started with a SIETAR-style conversation—the kind in which minds are ignited by each other, sparks of ideas fly, and constant interruptions are unavoidable because you just have to finish each other’s sentences. “Mind your own business” was at the core of that conversation. How do you actually mind it? What does it take to plant your passion, water it with sweat (and yes – a lot of tears) and see it grow or watch it resist your efforts?

If feeling like an imposter or second-guessing yourself when deciding on how to charge for your work sounds familiar – join in on this conversation. Interculturalists are supposed to be experts in reinventing ourselves. Get on board – next stop is business success!

Tatyana Fertelmeyster, born and raised in Moscow, Russia, came to the United States in 1989 as a refugee. Being a journalist by training, she went back to school in the US and became a mental health counselor. Tatyana’s work experience before becoming an intercultural and diversity consultant and trainer included refugee resettlement and counseling for Russian- and English-speaking individuals, families, and groups.

Founder and Principal of Connecting Differences, Tatyana is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in Intercultural Competence, Diversity and Inclusion, Global Agility Development, and Facilitation for Multicultural Groups. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.

Vicki Flier Hudson is the Chief Collaboration Officer of Highroad Global Services, Inc., a company that exists to release the power of diverse teams. She offers keynote presentations, workshops, and organizational strategy for working effectively across differences. She has brought training and consulting to companies like Procter & Gamble, IHG, UPS, The Home Depot, The Coca Cola Company, NASA, Martin Marietta, and many more. She is the author of the book Zen and the Art of Offshoring: How to Build a Collaborative and Profitable Team with Your Partners in India, and a recipient of Kennesaw State University’s Instructor of the Year award for International Programs.

Vicki is a certified DISC practitioner and a certified Driving Forces Analyst. She is also a certified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), a certified facilitator of the Cultural Detective methodology and a trained coach through CTI (Coaches Training Institute). 

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