As I sit here on my front porch, we are in Day 5 of a heat wave. High temperatures and even higher humidity tell me it’s summer in Michigan. It’s July and, if Facebook is any indication, a lot of us are deep into dipping our toes in the warm waters of local lakes and oceans, camping, hiking, sharing special days with friends and relatives and just generally enjoying the specialness of summer. It’s not that the specter of COVID-19 and the impact of institutionalized racism doesn’t still hang over everyone. It just that, from my viewpoint, we all seem to be stopping for a moment, taking a deep breath and finding small spots of joy and healing. (Hamilton, anyone?)
Meanwhile, your Conference Planning Team is managing to find time to build our first Virtual SIETAR USA conference. Proposals are being read, potential speakers are being contacted, and sponsors are being located, all very typical activities when planning a SIETAR USA conference. However, creating a virtual conference also demands that a lot more be considered. For example, what platform do we use to create our virtual world? I had no idea there were so many options for conference platforms! Each one has different features, tech support, ease of use and attractiveness and, of course, prices. Although virtual conferences are, in general, less expensive than brick and mortar ones, we did incur notable expenses in the transition from a location based to a virtual based conference. By the same token, we want to bring to you the best, most exciting and easiest to use platform. Making this decision is an interesting and difficult process to be sure. But our options are being narrowed, people are being contacted, and services are being negotiated. Stay tuned for a decision about the platform, coming soon!
Meanwhile, we are gathering a diverse, stimulating and creative group of Invited Workshop presenters as well as keynote speakers. I wish I could let you know who they all are but most of them are still in the process of developing their material. However, it’s shaping up to be a sensational line-up. Our first confirmed Invited Workshop presenter is one of SIETAR’s best known interculturalists, Rita Wuebbeler. Rita is dynamic, fun and profound. She will be doing an Invited Workshop on Mindfulness, specifically how to use mindfulness in our work as interculturalists. Our closing keynote will be given by the dynamic Patricia Malidor Coleman, aka Ms. Globaliscious, a former President of SIETAR USA and founder of SIETAR Florida. Patricia is known to embrace change with a smile and great energy. Her vision 2020 motto is “Stretch into Change” which she says illustrates the fact that we are not comfortable when facing a crisis thus must STRETCH toward the change. How? With a Shift of Consciousness! I can’t wait to hear Patricia’s keynote and know you won’t want to miss it either.
One of the joys of being a SIETARian is knowing you are part of a group of like-minded individuals who are dedicated to creating a better world. As we each go to fight and work for racial justice, while we assist our clients and communities grow within a global health pandemic, it’s reassuring to know there are others doing the same thing. Often those others are invisible to us, but when we attend a SIETAR USA conference, we know that the invisible will become visible and we will be able to stop, rest, be supported, learn and grow with a magnificent group of people. This year will be no different. I am truly thrilled by the opportunity we have to bring you one of the best, most memorable conferences you have attended. Watch the newsletter and our website for more details about the conference, interviews with speakers and other important information. Keep checking our website for updates and hold on to your hats. We are still climbing to the top of the first roller coaster hill but soon we’ll be on the downswing and wow, it will be an amazing, fun ride!
2020 SIETAR USA Conference Chair