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  • 08 Jun 2020 3:23 PM | Karen Fouts (Administrator)

    Recognizing that this could be a very long list, we would like to bring into the room, the name of George Floyd. In the strongest possible terms, SIETAR USA:

    • Believes Black Lives Matter
    • Condemns police violence
    • Supports peaceful protest
    • Values authentic and honest dialog

    Racial injustice is embedded into U.S. culture and there is no single solution that will take care of everything that needs to be changed and improved. We need to begin by eliminating racism in our own SIETAR USA house. We need to listen to each other—in a learning mode—and be willing to explore ways we can make effective changes. The culture of whiteness is one that reinforces and invests in politeness, often discouraging conversations about racism, politics, and religion, allowing an “agree to disagree” mentality to persist. We are seeing very bluntly the outcomes of white communities refusing to work to eradicate racism among us so that we can avoid the brutal outcomes of ignorance, avoidance, and a pervasive inaction when it comes to racism.  Among other things that approach favors white comfort over the suffering of Black and Brown people.

    SIETAR USA started as a pale organization and because of a commitment to diversity and diligent effort, that has changed over the years, but the issue is not in numbers or percentages. White privilege can be subtle and difficult to recognize, to own, and especially hard to give up. We need to ensure that we have a culture in which we can have ongoing difficult dialogs, where everyone’s voice is heard, and where we maintain a standard that racism in any form, including micro-aggressive racism, is not accepted.

    Earlier this year, the SIETAR USA board began a process of an in-depth examination of what SIETAR USA stands for and how we confront racism in our organization. The process requires us as an association of professionals in the field of global inclusion and intercultural relations to have difficult conversations, but most importantly to take action to rectify wrongs. As an association we haven’t always gotten it right, but we invite all of you to stay at the table to continue learning and listening so that we can transform our organization to be a pillar of the field that we know it can be. We start by offering this statement which will only be trusted if it is followed by strong action of all our members.   

    The SIETAR USA Leadership is committed to being anti-racist and to taking a stand against injustice where we find it, inside or outside of SIETAR USA. But action requires all of us, so that we can fully include and support our colleagues of color and every individual who comprise the SIETAR community. We need to work together to make much needed progress in our association and in our nation.

  • 14 May 2020 2:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The BIG NEWS for the month of May is that the SIETAR USA national conference is going virtual. Our in-person conference scheduled for October in Omaha will indeed take place, but in 2021. The 2020 October event Moving Ahead: Learning from the Global Crisis, will be virtual. All the details known at this time (and some of the decisions we are working on) can be found in the Conference Connections column. Be sure to check it out and consider joining us for our first-ever virtual conference.

    This issue has some good reading—provocative ideas (see Craig Storti), profound personal reflections (Joel Brown), a recipe (Esther Louie), some Zoom talk, webinar announcements, our monthly calendar of events, a position description for the only vacancy on the Board: Professional Development Director.

    I had in mind when I started The Interculturalist: A Periodical of SIETAR USA that it might start a dialog. We do occasionally get letters to the editor, but this hasn’t been as interactive as expected. Please know that your comments are welcome and some will be published and become part of the archives. When people in the future ask what was happening in SIETAR USA before, during, and after the pandemic, your comments will help fill out the picture. The authors of the articles appreciate hearing from you also.

    It occurred to me that in many ways, intercultural and inclusion practitioners can serve as a bridge preparing for the aftermath of the corona virus epidemic. Due to our backgrounds and experience, we can help people develop a resilience roadmap to help them through the transition period. We all need the resilience and adaptation skills to meet the challenges we are facing. For example, we know about connectedness and how important it is to people who are in transition. Not all of us are mourning the loss of a loved one but collectively and individually we are mourning bygone lives. What have we lost? Predictability, control, justice, the belief that we can protect ourselves and loved ones from an outside threat. We have lost some of the anchors of our lives: places that bring us comfort, work and projects that add excitement (and remuneration), routines that helped us through our days and weeks. The transition to the next chapter requires the functional adaptability and recovery skills we know something about.

    We also know the importance of emotional support in tough times. Sometimes it is enough just to know that there is someone there who will listen, who can clear up confusion, can help us understand when miscommunication causes pain. The ethical issue is however, to recognize when people need help that we are not trained to give. That’s when we should be prepared to provide resources that folks can turn to instead of floundering.

    The crisis is here, it is global, it is not going away soon. We can embrace it or retreat from it. Winston Churchill did not say it, but he should have: “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” That, of course, is a modification of the United Negro College Fund’s slogan: “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.” The key is to use this crisis to think about the world we need and want and work toward that. Plan to join us at our first-ever virtual conference to share your experiences and what you have learned, as well as learning from others as we move forward together.

    Sandra M. Fowler
    SIETAR USA President

  • 14 May 2020 2:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Karen Lokkesmoe, Conference Oversight Director

    As noted in the article from SUSA President Sandy Fowler, the SIETAR 2020 Conference will be a virtual conference and our planned conference Mind, Culture, Society will take place in Omaha in 2021. Although we will deeply miss seeing and personally interacting with all of you in October this year, we do look forward to welcoming you to join us in this exciting new opportunity. Here’s what we know about how that is taking shape as well as a few things we are still working out.

    Date: The v-Conference will still take place during the first full week of October, 2020. The exact dates and length of the conference is still being determined.

    Theme: As we all strive to adjust and accommodate a new and changing world in our current state of crisis we felt it important to address both the reality of the pandemic as well as highlight what we as intercultural and DEI professionals bring to the table. We have therefore selected the theme of this year’s conference to be: Moving Forward: Learning from the Global Crisis.

    Session Formats: The formats for sessions will be similar to past conferences and will be detailed in the revised CFP, which should be open for accepting submissions by next week. The sessions will likely be a combination of pre-recorded and live virtual sessions. As we strive to accommodate the broadest range of colleagues throughout the US and the world, we are exploring the best possible options for doing that effectively.

    Number of Sessions: There will most likely be fewer sessions offered in this new v-Conference format than we typically offer. Our commitment is to keep the quality, relevance, and access high.

    Technology: The conference will be held using a virtual meeting format that allows for multiple ways of connecting, presenting, interacting. Guidance and tutorials for how to present virtually as well how to use the specific conferencing format will be made available as soon as possible.

    Cost: We have not yet finalized the cost for the v-Conference, though we do know that it will be lower than the cost of our typical conferences as we wish to make this accessible to as many people as possible. We will advise you as soon as registration is open.

    Networking and Connecting with Colleagues: We are still exploring ways to include networking options as we know this is a vital aspect of SIETAR USA and our conferences and is as important to us as it is to you. Suggestions for v-networking options can be sent to info@sietarusa.org.

    Questions regarding the proposal process can be directed to program chairs Kwesi Ewoodzie and Wandi Steward at conferenceproposals@sietarusa.org.

    We invite you all to reflect on what you are experiencing during this global pandemic and how you can share strategies and examples that we as interculturalists and DEI professionals can offer. How can we utilize this time of crisis to learn and to influence others to not only survive, but to make our world better.

    Watch for the new CFP on the website and please submit your proposals as soon as possible.

  • 14 May 2020 2:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Mieke was one of the creators and founders of SIETAR Europa and the first President of SIETAR Europa. Mieke was the tireless lead administrator of SIETAR Europa during its first formative years in Haarlem, NL. At the same time, she was Executive Vice President of SIETAR International and for a long time member of the Governing Council of SIETAR International.

    A true pillar of the organisation.

    She was an inspiration for many Sietarians and other people working in the intercultural field. She was an inspiring and respected lecturer and coach for many children living in Otherland’. Author of the ‘Anderland’ books for children and adults in Dutch, and the English editions: 'Off to Otherland: A read-and-do book for children going to live abroad’, 1998, 2002, 2007 and 'Unlocking the secret of Otherland: A story and activity book for children living abroad'. Amsterdam 2006.

    Mieke was honorary member of SIETAR Europa and honorary member of SIETAR Nl. She received the SIETAR International Senior Interculturalist Award and she was also the well-deserved recipient of the SIETAR Europa Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

    SIETAR Europa is indebted to Mieke’s unfaltering wisdom, energy and dedication.

    In lieu of condolences, Mieke’s family is interested in receiving personal memories or wishes.

    In order not to publish the family address, contact either Susan Vonsild (smv@interlink.dk) or Francien Wieringa (f.i.wieringa@gmail.com) and they will give you the correct address.

  • 14 May 2020 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For some 15 months now here at BookMarks we’ve been reviewing books right and left (and one movie)—as is only proper. But this month we’re taking a short break to offer the following article by your editor. I was recently invited by Darla Deardorff, who has just gotten the Council on Intercultural and Global Competence (profiled elsewhere in this issue) off the ground, to write a column for that organization’s newsletter . After I wrote the article, I thought it would also be of interest to this newsletter’s audience, and with Sandy and Darla’s permission, we are running it here in place of a review. Not to worry, though, next month the books will be back.

    Can We Really Teach This Stuff?
    by Craig Storti

    Dr. Darla Deardorff made a very simple request in her email to me about this column—or so I thought: “Send in something related to intercultural competence.” Fair enough. No problem. But there was a problem, a big one:

    What the heck is intercultural competence?

    If you’re going to write about this thing, then you’d better have a pretty good idea what it is. And I really didn’t. So I began thinking. And that’s where all the trouble started. What metric should I use to come up with a definition? In the end I decided that the best, or at least one of the most practical, ways to describe the concept was in terms of what would distinguish someone who was interculturally competent from someone who wasn’t? And that wasn’t so hard. I settled on this: An interculturally competent individual is a person who can interact easily and comfortably with someone from a very different background than his or hers. I had thought maybe I should use the word “effectively,” but it’s a bit vague and besides: if you’re comfortable during the interaction, it’s bound to be effective.

    But my definition only led me to another question: What kind of person is it who can do that, who can interact easily and comfortably with people who are very different from him or her? What are the qualities of such a person? All the usual adjectives came to mind: someone who is open-minded, sensitive, tolerant, nonjudgmental, sympathetic. But these qualities seemed to me to be a subset of something even more basic that would define such a person. So then I started thinking about that. And I ended up here: Individuals who can interact comfortably and easily with people from a very different background are people who are fundamentally at ease and comfortable with who they are.

    My thinking here goes like this: People who are comfortable with who they are, who are aware of and accepting of their strengths and especially of their weaknesses—people who have accepted themselves—are the only people who can really accept others. Only if you are comfortable with who you are, can you be truly comfortable with who someone else is, no matter how different they may be from you.

    But then someone might point out: I know people who are intolerant, closed-minded, and judgmental—and are quite comfortable being that way, thanks very much.

    Nice try, but no cigar. Intolerant, closed-minded, judgmental individuals are annoyed by what they do not tolerate, threatened by what they are closed to, angry by what they judge as bad or wrong. Annoyed, threatened, angry people cannot be comfortable.

    Let’s say you’re more or less with me so far, sort of accepting that people who are comfortable with themselves have the best shot at being interculturally competent. That opens the door to two potentially uncomfortable truths (for us intercultural types, that is); that people with no knowledge whatsoever of the intercultural field and its core concepts can nevertheless be very interculturally competent; and that people with deep experience in and knowledge of the field, unless they also happen to be comfortable with who they are, may not be competent at all. And who among us, if you’re being honest, has not come across numerous examples of both types: people with no particular intercultural expertise who are just naturally good at interacting across cultures, and intercultural experts who aren't all that comfortable in the presence of real difference?

    Which leads me to one last musing: If all the above is even just a little bit true, then where does that leave people like us—trainers, teachers, researchers, academics—the people working to support and advance the cause of intercultural competence? If you agree that being comfortable with yourself is a core component of that competence, and if you accept further that that quality can’t really be taught, then what is our role?

    I’m not suggesting we don’t have any real role, I’m just rocking the boat, hoping with this inaugural column of the Council newsletter that we can start a dialogue on what intercultural competence is and where the efforts and dedication of the professionals in the field can best be put to use.

  • 14 May 2020 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Esther Louie

    The joong were made once during the year and as a kid, I would always look forward to this annual celebration.  My mom and dad would start the preparations at least weeks ahead, gathering all the ingredients, bringing the duck eggs, and salting the pork belly. They would make dozens and dozens of joong or "Chinese tamales".   And finally, the fifth day of the fifth lunar month would be the special day, now more popularly know as the dragon boat festival day. My mom celebrated the Qu Yuan (340-278 BC) a patriotic poet who was exiled in ancient China.  The story she told of him drowning himself on the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month, and making these joong wrapped in bamboo leaves were floated on the river to help feed him and to honor him.  My folks would make many joong for our family and enough to give away to my grandfather, uncles and others as we made our round of visits to family and friends.  I always thought my mom's was the best tasting and the biggest joongs!

    I finally decided to make them myself and found many available recipes - many mirroring those of my mom's, and many with variations of the ingredients.  I found out that the Toisan style which was ubiquitous in San Francisco's Chinatown made sense as many of the immigrants were from that part of China in those early years.

    P.S.  This year's Dragon Boat Festival date is:  June 25, 2020; China 's official holiday dates, June 25-27


    And this is the full recipe for how I plan to use the salted duck eggs:


  • 14 May 2020 1:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The World Council on Intercultural and Global Competence is a newly established non-profit organization whose mission is connecting researchers, practitioners, educational institutions, and organizations across disciplines, languages, and countries to advance knowledge, research, and praxis of intercultural competence globally. Given that much of intercultural competence work remains quite siloed within academic disciplines and professional fields, the World Council endeavors to bridge these siloes so researchers and practitioners can learn from each other in order to further the much needed work around intercultural competence. Joining the World Council in these efforts are Founding Affiliates based in such countries as China, India, Netherlands, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, as well as in the United States and include such organizations as Global Peace Foundation, AMIDEAST, United Nations Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education For Peace and Sustainable Development and China Association for Intercultural Communication. The World Council will also feature renown Intercultural Advisors such as Craig Storti.

    With a vision to foster a foundation for intercultural understanding across individual and societal differences in pursuit of a more peaceful world, the World Council is founded on principles of global collaboration, interdisciplinarity, praxis, and engagement. One way that the World Council is living into this vision is through partnering with UNESCO on an intercultural methodology piloted in all five UNESCO regions worldwide over the past two years by UNESCO which is designed to help individuals practice intercultural competence. This methodology, based on the ancient human traditions of storytelling, can be used with any group of people, anywhere in the world, uses little to no resources and can be facilitated by those who may not have a formal background/training in intercultural communication. This UNESCO methodology was formally launched at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in December 2019 with the debut of the Manual on Developing Intercultural Competencies: Story Circles by Darla K. Deardorff. Co-published by UNESCO and Routledge (2020), the Manual is available as open access in 5 different languages (see https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000370336https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000370336). UNESCO and World Council are now piloting virtual Story Circles given the current global crisis and the hope is that this methodology will be widely used in many contexts around the world. For more on the World Council and on Story Circles, go to www.iccglobal.org.

    Guided by Founding President Darla K. Deardorff and an advisory board hailing from several countries around the world and representing such organizations as Harvard University, Aspen Institute and Qatar Foundation, the World Council looks forward to working with many in SIETAR and beyond in furthering intercultural competence research. For example, the World Council features an online publication called Intercultural Connector and invites SIETAR members to contribute articles related to intercultural competence; the next deadline is June 30. There are also informal virtual meet-ups for colleagues to connect with each other to explore mutual research interests; the next meet up is Thursday May 28. For more information and ways to get involved with the World Council, please contact Darla K. Deardorff directly at d.deardorff@duke.edu. Together, we can help bridge divides and work toward building a more peaceful world.

  • 14 May 2020 1:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    After visiting 40+ countries in other parts of the world, I had the privilege of visiting East Africa in the Fall of 2019. Many of my friends on the continent had routinely said to me, “I see you’re a man of the world, but when are you going to come home?” Undoubtedly, these were the playful invitations of proud people who missed their friend. Yet, it was also the unrelenting voice in the back of my mind that told me I needed to visit my ancestral home. I felt a certain obligation that I couldn’t ignore.

    Going to Africa can feel like a homecoming for many members of the African Diaspora. But is it home? Although we are African in our collectivism, our art, our spirituality, and our genetics, many of us have also been indelibly impacted by our experience in the West. Being African American has meant coming to terms with my own sense of individualism, consumerism, and entitlement. Because of this duality and cultural assimilation, some may argue that the “African homecoming” is a fiction for a people who still feel under-appreciated in the United States. I never felt that way, but I wanted to see for myself what the environment and culture would feel like once I stepped foot on the continent.

    My trip included stops in three countries. The majority of my time would be spent in Rwanda, followed by shorter stops in Uganda and Kenya. As I flew the 20+ hours to the Rift Valley, I was more excited than I had been in a while. I also recognized that my relative discomfort in economy class could not compare to the horror that enslaved Africans felt hundreds of years ago as they made their way over the Middle Passage.

    Whereas my trips overseas had started to feel a bit routine, this one had an element of mystery to it. I asked myself numerous questions: How would it feel to see the demi-gloss of black faces around me? How would the locals react to me? Would I fit in? Would I be seen as a “brother” or a Mugunzu (a.k.a., a white foreigner)?

    In Rwanda, I was hosted by my friends and colleagues Maurice and Jeremy as part of a larger group of interculturalists. Maurice is an enterprising millennial Rwandan who survived the horrors of the Rwandan genocide. Jeremy is a British-born transplant who moved to Kigali in 2019. During my ten-day stay in Rwanda, I was able to visit the Rwandan Genocide Memorial and spend time at an orphanage village in the countryside. In Uganda, I spent time socializing with new friends and experiencing the nightlife of Kampala. In Kenya, I spent several days in the Masai Mara before connecting with colleagues amidst the buzz and humdrum of Nairobi.

    I can still see the collage of so many beautiful images in my mind: the red clay streets of Kigali…the intense traffic of Kampala…the daybreak serenity of the African savannah.

    Of course, no place on Earth is paradise, and in Africa, there are still disquieting truths. For example, Rwanda is still recovering from the torrent of violence it experienced during the genocide, a dark episode enabled by the world’s refusal to intervene. Uganda has some of the most virulent anti-LGBTQ laws on the books, and the Kenyan government is said to be overrun by corruption.

    But governments do not define a people.

    I also kept reminding myself to step away from my social conditioning. Africa is not a homogenous place; it consists of 54 countries with their own unique cultures and histories. Africa is not “exotic,” at least not to those of us who share its sensibilities. And although Africa has been exploited by world powers for centuries, Africa is not needing saviors. Africa is simply needing a reckoning, or an acknowledgement of its centrality to human existence.

    What I felt in East Africa was the acknowledgment that I had been missing. A lot of what I felt is inexplicable. In the weeks and months since I departed, I have struggled to find the words to convey what I felt. Others who have visited the continent have shared a similar experience. It felt surreal to be “seen.” In every interaction, there was never any question of whether I was human or whether I belonged. I felt socially embraced there in a way that I have strangely never felt in the United States.

    This is not to suggest that every interaction was deeply metaphysical or profound. Sometimes I was just making small talk or ordering food. But the people had a humility and grace that was unmistakable. What I felt in Africa was the capacity to be joyful in the midst of simplicity, or the capacity to be more human without the presence of a capitalistic agenda. I didn’t feel transformed as much as I felt alive in nuanced and discrete ways.

    As an example, I remember the dozens of schoolkids waving excitedly at our bus as it rattled through the hillsides in Rwanda. I wanted to bring every one of them home with me. I remember being in Kigali and laughing as the servers in a trendy restaurant told me I was the first Black person they met who didn’t eat meat. I remember being in Kampala and hearing music blaring from a nightclub that could’ve easily been in New York, Chicago, or Oakland. There was no such thing as “soul music;” there were simply rhythms that everyone could shake their hips to. I remember inviting new friends in Nairobi to visit the United States. and fielding their questions about the gun culture and whether it was a safe country to visit. Each interaction carried with it a thousand different subplots, twists, and insights. Each interaction carried with it the enduring aroma of love, laughter, and community.

    It was wonderful to have conversations that weren’t transactional. People actually wanted to talk and hear my story. People wanted to know where I was from, though many were surprised to know that I was American. I was asked questions about my family and in each conversation, I felt an openness and a mindfulness that I rarely get in the States. The Africans I met were astonished to see my clothing (bought from an African-American retailer) which bore such close resemblance to theirs. They were thrilled to see pictures of my family and friends, many of whom looked like their own relatives. They asked if African Americans thought about them. I reminded them that we are one and the same.

    The peace I felt came not in some profound moment of cultural exchange. It came from the abiding feeling that I could be myself and that in being myself, I was able to relate to everyone I encountered.

    I often think of the day when I will return to the continent. There are other countries I want to explore and other parts of myself I want to meet. Fortunately, I no longer have to deflect the questions from my African friends as to when “I’m coming home.” Now I ask myself: “How do I keep ‘home’ living inside of me?”

    Dr. Joel A. Brown, Esq., CLC.

    Dr. Joel A. Brown is the Chief Visionary Officer of Pneumos LLC, a management consulting and coaching company based in San Francisco, USA, specializing in cultural intelligence, leadership, change management, and strategic storytelling. As a change agent, Joel works strategically with organizational leaders to cultivate innovative, creative, and adaptive environments where the cultural genius of everyone can be harnessed and leveraged successfully.

    Best known for his critical analysis, creativity, humor, and his ability to build consensus, Joel has partnered with Fortune 500 Companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to help them achieve sustained growth and organizational breakthroughs. His clients have ranged from LinkedIn to the United Nations, and his “sweet spots” have included men’s leadership, LGBT inclusion, interpersonal dialogue, and intercultural communication.

    Joel is a member of several international think tanks, including D2K, the Diversity Collegium, SIETAR, and the Global Community Dialogue. He is also an Expert Panelist with the Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks. Joel is an adjunct professor at the IESEG business management school in France, and is a nationally recognized spoken word artist in the United States. Joel is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and the Virginia School of Law, and received his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Saint Mary’s College in May 2018.

  • 14 May 2020 1:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The SIETAR USA monthly webinars focus on the ongoing professional development of SUSA members. With this development lens we seek out speakers and topics representing the thought leadership within our intercultural/DEI field.  Here’s the upcoming lineup to illustrate this commitment:

    In June, Michele Gelfand, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland and a researcher of cultural norms, will discuss her book Rule Makers, Rule Breakers:  Tight and Loose Cultures and the Secret Signals That Direct Our Lives.  As interculturalists we are steeped in “dimensions”, know a number of different sets, and definitely have our favorites.  Michele’s compelling research takes us deeper into understanding the tight-loose social-coding that distinguishes much of our behavior in adhering or not adhering to cultural norms.  See if the tight-loose dimension set becomes one of your favorites.

    July’s development webinar features Justin Sitron, associate professor of human sexuality studies at Widener University sharing his prospective on interculturalism in the LGBTQI+ World Community. His interest in this field begins when teaching Spanish in public schools and realizing the need for human service professionals to better understand their students, especially their students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and students from other marginalized and oppressed populations.  As a community-based human sexuality educator Justin grounds his work in diversity, inclusion and social justice and in his academic work he continues to develop sexological worldview as a construct and framework to underpin and measure the impact of his work.    

    After a short summer break, Joyce Osland starts us off in September looking at global leadership development and her research at San Jose State University as founder and Executive Director of the Global Leadership Advancement Center, a part of the SJSU business school.   Joyce’s long research career in global leadership development (emphasis on “global”) has brought her focus to the practical--what are the “crucible” experiences that produce transformational development in global leaders, what types of activities best produce these experiences and how can this all be measured and transferred into organizations.

  • 14 May 2020 1:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Are you looking to apply your professional experience, share your talents, and develop your leadership skills? Are you searching for an opportunity to give back to the SIETAR USA community and make a difference in the intercultural and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) fields?

    Joining the SIETAR USA Board of Directors is the perfect professional learning and development experience for you!

    We are currently looking for candidates with a strong background and understanding of the intercultural and/or diversity, equity and inclusion fields to serve as the SIETAR USA Professional Development Director. We invite you to read below/click here for more details about the role and to contact us with any questions at boardleadership@sietarusa.org

    Position:                      DIRECTOR

    Portfolio:                     PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

    Term of Service:          January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2021

    This is the completion of an existing term ending 12/31/21

    Scope of the Role

    The Professional Development Portfolio focuses on the many ways SIETAR USA can help members expand their skills and knowledge, ensuring that conferences, workshops, webinars, and other innovative seminars and programs are made available from time to time.

    The Professional Development Portfolio Director is responsible for developing and monitoring programs of information and opportunities that sustain the professional development of the membership. The Director will explore how the professional needs of the membership can be met through activities sponsored and/or supported by SIETAR USA.

    The Professional Development portfolio encompasses conference-related responsibilities, such as reviewing proposals for the SIETAR USA National Conference and other virtual events. The Director also sources speakers and coordinates logistics for the SIETAR USA webinar series.

    Portfolio Directors are not expected to do all the work alone and are strongly encouraged and supported to put together working committees to help them with the tasks under their responsibility.

    Main Responsibilities & Objectives

    • Maintains and establishes policies regarding the professional development activities of the Society as needed.
    • Assists conference leadership and the Conference Oversight Director in completing the roster of Conference Committee Members and provides input into the development of the SIETAR USA conference professional program.
    • Ensures that, for the purpose of professional development specifically relating to membership in the Society, the SIETAR USA conference includes opportunity (e.g. breakout sessions) for information and dialog around: 1. Local group development and 2. The SIETAR USA living Code of Ethical Behavior.
    • Coordinates with the Local Groups Director to source speakers, manage introductions and basic logistics of SIETAR USA monthly webinars. Webinars are an important benefit for local groups as well as the entire membership.
    • Ensures that learning events and activities are structured to build professional relationships through networking and professional contacts.
    • Works with the Leadership Development Portfolio Director to identify potential committee members, to support professional development projects and activities.
    • Acts as a liaison with the leaders of special projects and initiatives, such as the Leadership Academy and Training of Trainers Certification Program and coordinates as needed with other portfolio directors on these projects.
    • Board members must sign and abide by the Board Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interest documents. As all members of the society, they are encouraged to support and sign the Living Code of Ethics.

    Time Commitment

    • Term of service: 3 years (unless noted otherwise; 3-year terms can be renewed twice)
    • Average time needed to complete work: 10-15 hours a month
    • Peak periods of work will occur in: Months leading up to the national in-person and virtual conferences.

    In addition, Board members are expected to:

    • Attend the SIETAR USA National Conference, the Annual Board Meeting (a one-day in-person meeting before or after the conference), and the Board of Directors Annual Retreat (a three-day business meeting held each year in February or March). Most costs are covered by SIETAR USA to support the participation of all Board members in these events.
    • Participate in monthly Board of Directors teleconference meetings. Portfolio Directors may have their own committee calls as needed.

    Ideal Candidate Profile

    To be successful in this role, the ideal candidate must possess the following skills, qualifications, and experience.


    In order to serve on the SIETAR USA Board of Directors, members must meet the following criteria in addition to role-specific requirements listed in each position description.

    • Possess a strong background and understanding of the intercultural and/or diversity, equity and inclusion fields
    • Be a member in good standing with SIETAR USA (or willing to become a member)
    • Be a member who has attended at least one SIETAR USA conference in the past five (5) years


    • Professional experience working as an intercultural and/or diversity trainer, educator or researcher
    • Be knowledgeable of development opportunities available to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and intercultural professionals
    • Possess good facilitation and communication skills
    • Strong team player with experience working well with remote teams and managing projects

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