Letter From the EditorSep 18, 2022
In less than two months many of us will be gathering in Omaha for the first time in 3 years. Hazah! The Conference Committee led by the Co-Chairs have created a typically packed agenda full of stimulating sessions, interesting special events, and occasional times for catching your breath. Since the very beginning of SIETAR conferences, people have commented on having too many hard choices—which session do I attend? Should I go to this special event or skip it? Peggy Pusch always answered those complaints with the response “would you prefer that we have bad sessions to make it easier?” Too much of a good thing is a good thing. So, bring your decision-making superpowers with you and prepare to make choices.
One session not to miss is the Practitioners of Color special session on Friday afternoon. A little history: It was the 2016 conference in Tulsa, where Farzana Nayani and Amer Ahmed conducted a concurrent session that they called the Practitioners of Color Forum. It was intended as a time for discussing special challenges people of color face in the intercultural and DEIB worlds. It was well attended by both practitioners of color and others. At the 2017 conference in San Diego, the Practitioners of Color Forum: Intersectionality of Our Identities session continued the discussion of the Forum founded the year before and was led by Farzana Nayani, Kelli McLoud-Schingen, Amer Ahmed, and Joel Brown. Their goal was to discuss the impact of multiple and intersectional identities, how these are viewed and lived within the intercultural field. In Atlanta in 2019, the Practitioners of Color requested a private session, resulting in the Practitioners of Color Forum: Creating Space for Critical Dialogue facilitated by Farzana Nayani.
The pandemic interrupted conference plans for 3 years but discussions continued during a virtual conference and a Saturday Seminar. Which brings us to 2022. Planning the Practitioners of Color Forum session this year is in the works and promises to be different. The intention is that there will be a time for the Practitioners of Color to meet by themselves for a structured discussion while at the same time intercultural and DEIB practitioners who do not identify as people of color to meet for a similarly structured discussion. That will be followed by a session in which they come together to continue the dialog and to move the issues forward. The Dine Around follows this last session of the day and will be a good time for any further discussion or debriefing as well as eating and getting to know colleagues.
As diversity in SIETAR USA grows we are building our association into a more dynamic and relevant home that honors the work of both the intercultural and DEIB worlds. We need each other to do our best work. It is coming together.
Sandra M. Fowler, Editor
The “I”: A Periodical of SIETAR USA