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President’s Perspective: February 2020

11 Feb 2020 8:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The oft-repeated phrase “it takes a village..” is especially true for creating the SIETAR USA national conference. There are some similarities between SIETAR USA and a village, although it’s not an exact fit. We have a leader (currently a headwoman) as many villages do, we meet together on a regular basis, our population is larger than a hamlet but nowhere near the size of a town. Villages are settled around a central point and SIETAR USA serves as a central point of connection for people from many cultural and professional backgrounds who explore differences on multiple levels; engage in cutting-edge research related to cultural dimensions; search for and provide avenues to effective relations across cultures; and work to expand worldviews and build skills for successful interactions in intercultural arenas.

            Putting on the conference requires the effort of a group within our village who bond to become the conference committee. A bit about our committee: Deborah Orlowski, PhD, volunteered (no arm twisting required) to chair the 2020 conference. Her PhD is in Transformative Learning: personal and organizational. During her career (she recently retired from her post at the University of Michigan) as a senior learning specialist she focused on personal and leadership development especially at the emerging leader level. Her co-chair is Tatyana Fertelmeyster (a little bit of arm twisting) who has chaired SIETAR USA conferences, was the 4th president of the SIETAR USA, and as founder of Connecting Differences consults with organizations, their diversity leaders, and diversity champions to create and improve their global and domestic diversity programs.

            The Program Chair is again Kwesi Ewoodzie who mastered the program platform last year and wanted to do it again. Kwesi originally from Ghana, has a PhD from University of Iowa. Currently in Atlanta he is the founder and managing director of Culture Beyond Borders.  The conference committee has filled out nicely and more conference committee members will be introduced in the March newsletter. We can still use some volunteers. Don’t miss the fun—let us know that you are interested.

            The conference theme for Omaha is Mind, Culture, and Society. Join us to explore connections between Mind, Culture, and Society. How does the intersection of these three vital aspects change how we view and react to the world around us?  The schisms in today’s world—rural/urban immigrant/citizen; and the gaps caused by differences in religion; race; gender; sexual preference, and politics—challenge us daily. How does a deeper understanding and intersection of these three factors enhance our capacity to bridge such schisms?  This conference will shine a light on the impact of emerging neuroscience applications, current perspectives on culture, and social parameters within the Intercultural and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion fields.

            I used to be one of those people who ignored the theme and participated just to be with a growing group of collegial friends, to find out what they had been doing all year, and to share what I was up to. I have changed my mind about themes. I participate still for the reasons I mentioned, but I like using the theme as a lens through which I view my own work as well as a clue to the overall content focus of the conference. Since the theme doesn’t always fit me exactly, I appreciate the flexibility to present in the general category of education, training, and research.

            Preparing the Call for Proposals is well underway. Watch for the announcement at the end of this month. And consider being a proposal reviewer. It’s the best way to get a sneak preview of the conference!

Sandra M. Fowler
President, SIETAR USA

Join me in Omaha, Nebraska, October 7-11, for the national SIETAR USA Conference: 
Mind, Culture, and Society!

Knowing that territorial boundaries are fluid and documentation is disputed, SIETAR USA acknowledges and offers respect to the past, present, and future Traditional Custodians of the land where our 2020 conference will take place—the Omaha-Ponca and other Plains Tribes: the Oto, Pawnee, Winnebago, Sac, Fox, and Lakota Sioux.


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Wild Apricot theme design and development by Webbright