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Remembering Peggy—Continued from the January Issue

07 Feb 2020 3:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

More pictures and remembrances were sent in by SIETAR USA members. They are presented in memory of our founder, first president, and only executive director.

Margaret D. Pusch


Peggy performed leadership roles in the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research for many years, both internationally and in the USA. She very much helped Bill Gay, Shoko Araki, Doug Bowen and me when we were starting SIETAR Japan. She was a longtime faculty member of the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication and several universities during her career, including Antioch and University of the Pacific. Peggy was an avid experiential facilitator, publishing articles in Simulation and Gaming and playing an active role in the North American Simulation and Gaming Association.

I first met Peggy in the early 80s, when she was active in SIETAR International, a faculty member of the then-Stanford Institute for Intercultural Communication, and President of the Intercultural Press. She and Lew welcomed me into their home in Maine many times over the years, and I loved and respected them dearly. I’ll never forget her bringing the publishing contract for Ecotonos: A simulation for collaborating across cultures to my wedding! Peggy attended our very first train-the-trainer workshop for Beyond Bowing: Working Effectively with the Japanese and provided invaluable input. She loved our Redundancía: A foreign language simulation and used it in many of the trainings she conducted, and was an ardent supporter of Cultural Detective. Her son, Rob Pusch, is an instrumental member of our Cultural Detective LGBT authoring team.

The entire Cultural Detective community sends our heartfelt condolences to her family. Peggy Pusch was a mentor to oh-so-many in the intercultural field for four decades. She was President of Intercultural Press for many years, where she guided the development of dozens of magnificent books, ensuring that invaluable information made its way to those who needed it at a time when “intercultural” wasn’t quite so popular. She authored her own respected volumes as well, including Multicultural Education: A cross-cultural training approach (1980) and Helping Them Home: A guide for leaders for professional integration and reentry workshops (1988), and contributed to many other volumes, such as the Handbook of Intercultural Training. Peggy was a pillar of the intercultural community for decades, and will be sorely missed.

Peggy Pusch, Mary Meares, Lee Knefelkamp, Allison Gunderson, Dianne Hofner Saphiere at a SIIC faculty dinner.

A dinner in Rancho Mirage with Bill Gay, Peggy Pusch, Yoshi, Lew Pusch, Doug Bowen, and Dianne Hofner Saphiere


Peggy was sincerely committed to building the Intercultural field. Her primary and lasting contribution to the growth of the field was through her management of the Intercultural Press.

She was one of the founders of the Press and was its Managing Director for many years. (During some of those years she even stored all of the books to be sold in the basement of her and Lew's home.)

Peggy's interests and enthusiasm were not limited to people and books. She much enjoyed exploring significant places. The Grand Canyon was one such place. She and Lew camped with friends on the rim of the Canyon, then hiked all the way down to the bottom. She even climbed down a tall, almost vertical rock beside a spectacular waterfall. Then climbed (slowly and carefully) back up the rock face.

Peggy brought to her life and to our field real courage and stamina. And a great sense of humor.


As for so many friends and colleagues it is with sadness that I learned of the passing of Peggy Pusch. Peggy was a friend for over 50 years, beginning in the suburbs of Chicago, and then to the northeast, bringing Intercultural Press where she was editor with her; and to the northwest where she was a significant presence at the annual Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication in mentoring some of the “new interculturalists” and on the board of the Intercultural Communication Institute, among other institutional boards which welcomed her wisdom. Peggy was a dear colleague, and at Intercultural Press she edited two of my books — and scores of others. A gifted scholar, speaker and writer, Peggy advised and helped shape so many of the early books in the field of intercultural communication. SIETAR, the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research would not be the significant organization that is today without her active involvement and guidance over so many years. I was deeply moved to be honored a few years ago to receive the SIETAR award named for Peggy and so much that her life represented. The field of intercultural communication would not be what is today without her vision, commitment, decades of dedicated work that spanned many genres and venues. My heart goes out to Lew and Rob and Darryl, and to all who knew and loved Peggy and whose lives were changed by her wisdom, kindness and generosity.


Did I tell you? The first time that we met we were at the 1993 Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication workshop, “Diversity in Higher Education”. Five days of a lightning review of the major intercultural concepts and theories that gave me the solid foundation for the rest of my career.

Your broad and deep knowledge of the field covered so much information that I did not even know existed. Each day I was filled with information, diversity and intercultural engagement examples, anecdotal stories of challenges we can face in our daily work, personal and professional lives.

So much that I needed to learn about the intricacies and complexities to function well not only in the academic and professional settings I was entering, but helped me to make sense of my own multicultural personal life. Did I tell you how mind-blowing that week of learning was for me?

Did I tell you that your support of Kim Jurmu and myself as we submitted our 2001 Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research conference proposal meant so much to us. We barely knew the history of the development of SIETAR USA, let alone that this was to be the first USA conference for the newly formed SIETAR national group. Your time and interest as you coached us along, as you critiqued and jostled us and our proposal into shape – kindness with directness, helping us to professionalize our work was the best model of how to mentor young professionals that I’ve never forgotten.

Your way of working with us was personal, professional and just a lot of fun as you encouraged our best thinking, urging us to think broadly and to think of this growing field and what we could bring to share, to inform and to learn. I did tell you how much we appreciated your time and investment in us, right?

Did I to tell you that through the many years that I participated in SIETAR USA, as a member and as an officer, I was privileged and honored to learn first-hand at your side. Your coaching was always expansive, direct and focused—and filled with so many memorable fun times! You encouraged and supported me and many others --always left room for our skills, our abilities and personality to come forward. Guiding me and all of us with expertise, professionalism, and often with a twinkle in your eye.

You demanded my best work, my best energy –not in so many words, but as you modeled complete commitment to building SIETAR USA in those early years, I saw what worked, and how you worked. And I chose to do the same, building towards a global understanding, inclusive of all, and always growing and learning. I did tell you how wonderful these years were, right?

As I write this, I am overwhelmed with all that you have done for me, and walking alongside me over these years. You are the model of kindness, lightning wit, global vision, passion and commitment to act and to work hard and tirelessly to create the best world possible for all of us. I would not be the person that I am today without your love and ever patient guidance. Your handprint is strong upon me and others in our field, and your spirit will live on through us as we can only hope to pass on your passion as you did for us.

Did I remember to tell you?

Esther Louie, Maria Jichova, Rita Wuebbler, Heather Robinson & Peggy (Sophia, Bulgaria 2007)

Margaret "Peggy" Pusch

More Submitted Photos with Peggy

Peggy and Bruce La Brack at SIIC

Sandy Fowler and Peggy holding their Optime Merens Awards
at the SIETAR USA conference in New Jersey/New York City

Peggy’s coronation as Queen of SIETAR USA
Following her announcing her resignation at
a Board of Directors retreat meeting

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