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  • 15 Mar 2022 12:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The SIETAR USA BOD met in Omaha, Nebraska, March 4-6.

    Highlights of the meeting included discussions about the Mission statement, conference planning, diversifying our income streams, and investments in the growth and development of the organization.

    The meeting started by welcoming several new Board members to their first Board Meeting. Among them were Cheryl Woehr, Willette Neal, Caliopy Glaros, and Nkenge Friday. We also welcomed Kwesi Ewoodsie to the Advisory Board. You can access their profiles on the SIETAR USA website: https://www.sietarusa.org/bod. This was the first Board retreat to incorporate virtual attendance by multiple members and having the technology to accomplish this was highly beneficial (it even worked well!)

    Particular attention was paid to diversity, equity, and inclusion, for the Board itself, for the organization as a whole and in the programming and services to be offered going forward. Good work was begun to update the SIETAR USA Mission Statement with a goal of finalizing that within the next quarter at which time it will be shared with the membership for review and consideration.

    There was also discussion about how to revamp our communications and outreach to be more inclusive, both in messaging and in communication channels.

    With respect to the conference, we discussed ways to incorporate highlights from Omaha, enhance the ‘First Timers’ session, create more options for networking and connecting prior to the conference virtually and at the conference. The Board met with the Conference Chairs, Ferial Pearson and Thorunn Bjarnadottir (their bios can be found in the Conference Connection section) as well to hear their ideas for making the 2022 conference dynamic and inclusive.

    Finally, we discussed the upcoming transition to a new platform to house our website, newsletter, email, registration systems and more. You will all be getting a detailed update on this when it is ready to launch. The exciting news about this endeavor is that the new platform will serve as a great one-stop shop for the majority of our needs as an organization, provide a more user-friendly experience for our members, and will consolidate the services to allow for greater efficiency as well as more and better options at a lower cost. Win-win!

  • 15 Mar 2022 7:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The plight of refugee’s is spotlighted by recent events in Ukraine as well as the pull-out in Afghanistan. Interculturalists have been working with refugees throughout the past decades. What have they learned from their research and front-line experience? What can we expect going forward? How can we help? A panel of interculturalists who have studied and worked with refugee issues will present lessons learned from their experience with time for questions and discussion.

    Russanne Bucci Russanne Bucci, Moderator has been a teacher, trainer, community organizer, and ESL tutor for Cambodian refugees in both Detroit and Philadelphia. The common thread is her commitment to improving intergroup relations and to being an advocate for social justice. Russanne won a national award for part of her public radio series about DEI issues called “A World of Difference.” Her Masters in Education is from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2015 Russanne became a foster parent to a girl from Eritrea, an Unaccompanied Refuge Minor (URM). Most recently she has established the Art of Group Conversation.

    Teni-Ola Ogunjobi Teni-Ola Ogunjobi, a Georgia native and Nigerian,  is influential in the nonprofit and NGO sector, community mobilization, volunteer management, intercultural education, grassroots development, business management and communications/journalism. With a BA from Howard University, an MA from University of the Pacific, Teni-Ola is an International Conflict Management PhD student at Kennesaw State University. She currently heads communications and community outreach for an organization providing COVID-19 and other disaster relief services in Georgia.

    Sylvia Cowan Sylvia Cowan, consultant, coach, and international conflict facilitator, is passionate about her work with refugees and immigrants. Based on over two decades working with victims of genocide in Cambodia and refugees in Lowell, MA, she published Southeast Asian Refugees and Immigrants in the Mill City:  Changing Families, Communities, Institutions—Thirty Years Afterward (Pho, Tuyet-Lan, Gerson, Jeffrey N., Cowan, Sylvia R. Eds.)  Cowan’s research on trauma after genocide, “Silenced by Trauma,” with Christiane Alsop, was recently published in Douglass, Trauma in Adult and Higher Education:  Conversations and Critical Reflections (2022). For fifteen years Dr. Cowan was on the faculty of Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.

    Carina A. Black, Ph.D. Carina A. Black, Ph.D., Executive Director, Northern Nevada International Center, is a native of Argentina and a citizen of Switzerland and the US, She received her Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1997 in Comparative Politics. She is the first Executive Director of the Northern Nevada International Center, an organization that manages public diplomacy programs funded by the US Department of State and USAID.  In 2016, Black initiated a new project to resettle refugees in Northern Nevada. Faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Black has taught courses in global studies, world politics, comparative politics, democratization, international organizations, and Latin American politics. She is also actively involved in international education for the local community, and support programs for minority groups.

    Melissa AB Graetz Melissa AB Graetz works in the intersection of culture, community engagement, and education.  At Syracuse University she studied music and the importance of culture to build a sense of belonging. She then took this experience to American University where she researched social entrepreneurship, instructional design, and the refugee resettlement process. Melissa has developed training and educational tools to support the understanding and development of how we practice building community and finding a sense of belonging in those communities. Melissa is currently the Client Engagement Manager for MSM Global Consulting and the Co-Program Chair for the 2022 SIETAR Conference. She lives in Broomfield, CO. 

    For those who like to look ahead:

    MAY 2022 Webinar: Sensing Culture, Embodying Race: A Sensorial Approach to Intercultural Communication

    Numerous social restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic brought to us the onslaught of sensory deprivation – no more live music, friendly hugs and kisses, live audiences in sports, dining at a restaurant, and socializing without a facemask and appropriate social distance. The series of disruptions to the ways in which we interact with others revealed the foundational nature of our lived embodiment as multisensorial—we feel and sense others in this world. The pandemic has reminded us of the vulnerability of our biological bodies and the sensorial richness of our social bodies. In this session, we explore what it means to understand race and culture from sensorial perspectives. We focus on everyday experiences of felt sensations such as tactility (skin sensation) and kinesthetics (movements, rhythmic attunements) to expand our understanding of race and culture.

    Christopher Brown, Ph.D. is an Acting Dean of the College of Arts & Humanities and Professor of Communication Studies at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He has published books chapters, encyclopedia entries, book reviews, and articles on a variety of topics focusing on discourses of white supremacy, white-male elites’ constructions of race and leadership, and phenomenology and race. His work appears in such journals as the Communication Monographs, Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, Communication Studies, Howard Journal of Communications, and Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. He is a co-author of Race and the Senses: The Felt Politics of Racial Embodiment (Routledge, 2020). 

    Sachi Sekimoto, Ph.D. is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Communication Studies at Minnesota State University, Mankato. As a native of Tokyo, Japan, who resides in the U.S., her scholarship is inspired by the experiences of traversing and adapting to multiple sensory borders and cultural paradigms. Her scholarly interests include phenomenological and sensory experiences of culture, identity, and embodiment. She has written various articles and book chapters on issues related to the embodied politics of transnational identity, the phenomenology of racialized and gendered embodiment, and intercultural communication in global contexts. She is a co-author of Race and the Senses: The Felt Politics of Racial Embodiment (Routledge, 2020) and Globalizing Intercultural Communication: A Reader (Sage, 2016).  



  • 15 Mar 2022 6:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Introducing Willette Neal, Membership Outreach and Diversity Director

    Willette NealWillette Neal found SIETAR USA by searching for like-minded people. Her husband, a philosophy professor, suggested that she should find people who want to make others more culturally aware, read what they write, and get to know them. She discovered that the SIETAR USA conference would be held in her hometown of Atlanta, GA, so she registered. Not knowing anyone she wasn’t sure about this but ran into Sherri Tapp the first day and found a kindred spirit. She also discovered that there is a name for what she had been doing: intercultural relations.

    Willette was born in rural Mississippi, one of 7 children. Following her undergraduate degree in Organizational Leadership at Ashford University, and with her strong religious background she went on a mission trip to teach a Christian class in Debeso, Ghana. That trip (she referred it as a disaster) was the impetus for her graduate degrees in Global Training and Development. She immediately recognized the deep cultural differences and knew she was unprepared for them. An incident that brought this realization home was when she was teaching a class of women about Hannah, a multiple wife of a Biblical man. Many of the women were second wives and they started asking her if they should leave their husbands. She felt out of her depth (wouldn’t you?) but it also sparked her curiosity and she wanted to learn more about how to manage working and communicating in other cultures. Another mission she has been involved with brings groups of people mostly from Asia and Africa to the United States for a program that offered a wide array of learning activities in the arts, sports, politics etc. That experience informed her PhD dissertation on home stay as part of Cultural Exchange.

    Her career took an interesting twist when in the 1980s President Regan fired all the air traffic controllers. It was noticed that there were hardly any women or people of color in aviation, so a program was instituted to correct that. The government recruited air traffic controllers at Southern colleges and universities including Mississippi State University and Willette decided to apply because it was a good job with good pay. She was hired in 1989 and 34 years later is still with the FAA. Many of those years she was in air traffic control but moved into training and then into DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access) work. She said that the vetting in those days took 3 years to become an air traffic controller.

    She continued her interest in other cultures taking the opportunity to develop and teach aviation to young students at an aviation training camp in Ghana. She recognized what a difference it made to introduce aviation as a career to young people many of whom had only seen planes fly way overhead (she had to have a wooden model of a plane made to help describe and explain its parts). She petitioned to spread the program further and after 2 camps in Ghana, she taught the 3rd aviation camp in Dakar, Senegal. The program thrived and expanded, they partnered with the United Nations, and with the US embassies in the countries that supported the aviation camps.

    On these trips she was struck by the similarities in rural Africa with her youth in rural Mississippi. The growing and transferring of crops were their main business. They valued the wisdom and advice of village elders. The close connections between children and their parents was evident. The need to be introduced to people in the community and to receive the blessing of the “village mom” that gave her permission to enter. The circular communication patterns. The place in the community of the elders and children plus many other observations reminded her of growing up in Mississippi. When you meet Willette, you might want to ask about some of the differences she observed as well: about eggs in 100-degree heat, “you’re really fat,” wrapping her dreadlocks, and smells in the market—all things that were part of her active learning.

    Back home in the United States, Willette realized that the FAA was not doing a very good job recruiting and hiring minorities and women, so she turned her attention to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access and she brings that lens to SIETAR USA. As the Board member responsible for increasing the membership Willette plans to survey the membership to understand better who our members are and what they want. She wants to explore how we bring in new people. What attracts them? To what end do we want more young people to be part of SIETAR USA? She knows that companies want their employees and especially new hires, to be culturally aware. Therefore, she feels that there could be links between corporations and students to help support active membership in SIETAR USA.

    Willette said that she learns from conversations with all kinds of people. She is aware of the impact of what we say and do and how important it is to learn how to do it better. She is a valued member of the SIETAR USA Board of Directors.

    Portions of the above are based on an interview with Willette on 2/25/22.

    Sandra M. Fowler, Editor

  • 15 Mar 2022 6:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Kathy Ellis

    Joy Harjo is on her second term as the United States’ 23rd Poet Laureate, writing nine books of poetry and other kinds of books in addition to being a professor, musician, and performer. Joy Harjo is of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    One could select any poem from Harjo’s poetry collection to find it applicable to our intercultural and DEI fields. Here is one such example:

    This Morning I Pray for My Enemies

    And whom do I call my enemy?

    An enemy must be worthy of engagement.

    I turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking.

    It’s the heart that asks the question, not my furious mind.

    The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun.

    It sees and knows everything.

    It hears the gnashing even as it hears the blessing.

    The door to the mind should only open from the heart.

    An enemy who gets in, risks the danger of becoming a friend.

    This Morning I Pray for My Enemies - YouTube
    Joy Harjo recites her poem and plays the saxophone

    Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light: Joy Harjo - YouTube
    Powerful performance

    Joy Harjo Official Site - Joy Harjo
    Joy Harjo posts various events and performance clips

  • 15 Mar 2022 6:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SIETAR World

    March 18, 2022 – SIETAR France WEBINAR: “Communicating with Italians, stereotypes and reality” organized and moderated by Sara Gallinari, Grazia Ghellini, Elio Vera and Mihaela Barbieru with the participation of Mithun Mridha and Prof. Ruggero Drouetta. Visit SIETAR France Events to register!

    March 23, 2022 – SIETAR Europa Webinar: “The power of storytelling across cultures” with Joanna Sell. Visit SIETAR Europa Events to register!

    March 23, 2022 – SIETAR France Webinar: “VAKE Method, Value and Knowledge Education” with Frédérique Brossard Børhaug, Jean-Luc Patry and Marco Brighenti. Visit SIETAR France Events to register!

    March 24, 2022 – SIETAR Switzerland Culture Club: “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” with Gundhild Hoenig and Tom Waterhouse. Visit SIETAR Switzerland Events to register!

    March 25, 2022 – SIETAR BC Presentation: “Resisting Equity and Diversity” with Dr. Ismaël Traoré. Visit SIETAR BC Events to register!

    April 2, 2022 – SIETAR France Webinar: “Cross-perceptions on Africa – France relations” with Serge Feyou de Happy and Benoît Théry, and with the assistance of Professor Claude Chastagner of the Paul Valéry University of Montpellier. Visit SIETAR France Events to register!


    Women’s History Month March is Women’s History Month. Started in 1987, Women’s History Month recognizes all women for their valuable contributions to history and society.

    National Developmental Disabilities Awareness MonthMarch is also National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, which was established to increase awareness and understanding of issues affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness MonthMarch is National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month. It was established to raise public awareness of the autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord and assist those with multiple sclerosis in making informed decisions about their health care.

    Irish-American Heritage MonthMarch is Irish-American Heritage Month. It was established in March 1991 to honor the achievements and contributions of Irish immigrants and their descendants living in the United States.

    Deaf History MonthMarch 13-April 15: Deaf History Month. This observance celebrates key events in deaf history, including the founding of Gallaudet University and the American School for the Deaf.

    March 18 (sundown to sundown): Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, is the annual Hindu and Sikh spring religious festival observed in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, along with other countries with large Hindu and Sikh populations.

    March 18-19 (sundown to sundown): Lailat al Bara’a, also known as Lailat Al Baraah, Barat, or popularly as Shab-e-Bara or Night of Forgiveness. It is an Islamic holiday during which practitioners of the faith seek forgiveness for sins. Muslims spend the night in special prayers. It is regarded as one of the most sacred nights on the Islamic calendar.

    March 18-20: Hola Mohalla, a Sikh festival that takes place on the second day of the lunar month of Chet, a day after the Hindu spring festival Holi.

    March 20-21: Naw-Rúz, the Bahá’í New Year is a holiday celebrated on the vernal equinox. It is one of the nine Bahá’í holy days on which work is suspended.

    March 20: Ostara, a celebration of the spring equinox commemorated by Pagans and Wiccans. It is observed as a time to mark the coming of spring and the fertility of the land.

    March 20: Nowruz/Norooz, Persian New Year, a day of joy, celebration, and renewal. It is held annually on the spring equinox.

    March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, observed annually in the wake of the 1960 killing of 69 people at a demonstration against apartheid pass laws in South Africa. The United Nations proclaimed the day in 1966 and called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

    March 22: Hindu New Year or Vikram Samvat, the month of Chaitra (usually falls between the months of March and April) marks the new year or first month of the Hindu calendar. During the nine-day festival, the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga are worshipped.

    March 25: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is a United Nations international observation that offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. First observed in 2008, the international day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.

    March 26: Khordad Sal, or Greater Nowruz, is the Prophet Zarathustra’s birthday. Believers celebrate this important holiday six days after Nowruz.

    March 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated to bring awareness to transgender people and their identities as well as recognize those who helped fight for rights for transgender people.


    April is Celebrate Diversity MonthApril is Celebrate Diversity Month, started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all. By celebrating differences and similarities during this month, organizers hope that people will get a deeper understanding of each other.

    April is Autism Awareness MonthApril is also Autism Awareness Month, established to raise awareness about the developmental disorder that affects children’s normal development of social and communication skills.

    April 2: World Autism Awareness Day, created to raise awareness of the developmental disorder around the globe.

    April 2-May 2 (sundown to sundown): Ramadan, an Islamic holiday marked by fasting, praise, prayer, and devotion to Islam.

    April 10: Rama Navami, a Hindu spring festival celebrates the birthday of Shree Rama, the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu. Rama is particularly important in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism.

    April 10: Palm Sunday, a Christian holiday commemorating the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It is the last Sunday of Lent and the beginning of the Holy Week.

    April 13: Equal Pay Day, an attempt to raise awareness about the raw wage gap, the figure that shows that women, on average, earn about 80 cents for every dollar that men earn. The date moves earlier each year as the wage gap closes. Equal Pay Day began in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity as a public awareness event to illustrate the gender pay gap.

    April 14: Vaisakhi (also known as Baisakhi), the celebration of the founding of the Sikh community as the Khalsa (community of the initiated) and the birth of the Khalsa.

    April 15: Lord’s Evening Meal, Jehovah’s Witnesses commemorate an event believed to have occurred on the first night of Passover in approximately 33 CE, the Last Supper, known as the Lord’s Evening Meal.

    April 15: Good Friday, a day celebrated by Christians to commemorate the execution of Jesus by crucifixion. It is recognized on the Friday before Easter.

    April 15-23: Passover, an eight-day Jewish holiday and festival in commemoration of the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

    Holidays list courtesy of: https://www.diversityresources.com/2022-diversity-calendar/

  • 15 Mar 2022 6:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In the United States, March is celebrated as Women’s History Month; it is important because it recognizes, honors, and celebrates the many achievements and accomplishments that women have made and are continuing to make. Looking back on the 113-year evolution of Women’s History Month, women have made incredible strides, and continue to break glass ceilings. While there is certainly more progress to be made, the activism of first-wave, second-wave, third-wave, and now fourth-wave feminists is what made all of this progress possible.

    On February 28, 1909, the first International Women’s Day was organized by the Socialist Party of America and celebrated in NYC. The holiday remained predominantly celebrated in communist countries until 1967, when it was embraced by second-wave feminists. The holiday re-emerged as a day of activism in support of equal pay, equal economic opportunity, equal legal rights, reproductive rights, subsidized childcare, and the prevention of violence against women. In 1975, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed March 8th as Women’s History Week. In 1987, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to have the month of March be designated as Women’s History Month. Since 1988, March has been proclaimed as such by all Presidents.

    As we reflect on all of the challenges that women have faced, fought, and overcome since the first Women’s History Day, here are just some of the many women who are continuing to break down barriers and lead in “firsts”:

    • Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsberg: second female and first Jewish female justice of the United States Supreme Court (1993-2020), first female tenured professor at Columbia University (1972-1980)
    • Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of the General Motors Company: first female CEO of GM (2014–present), first woman to lead a major automaker
    • Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier & Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna: first time in history that the prize has gone to two women (2020), only the sixth and seventh women to win Nobel Prize in Chemistry
    • Hon. Sandra Day O’Connor: first female justice of the United States Supreme Court (1982-2006)
    • Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms: longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state in world history (2015–present), longest currently serving head of state and longest currently reigning monarch (2016–present)
    • Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate: first African-American woman to be the National Youth Poet Laureate (2021–present)
    • Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States: first woman and the first person of color to hold the second-highest office in the United States (2021–present), first South Asian American elected to the Senate (2017-2021), second Black women elected to the Senate, first woman and first Black person elected as Attorney General of California (2011-2017)
    • Her Excellency Tsai Ing-Wen, Prime Minister of Taiwan: only Asian woman to lead a nation without being related to a former male political figure or head of state (2016–present)
    • Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland: second female prime minister of Iceland (2017–present)
    • Kathrin Jansen, head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer: helped to develop the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive emergency validation from WHO (2020)
    • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 24th president of Liberia: first elected female head of state in Africa (2006-2018)
    • Jennifer King, NFL coach (Washington Football Team): first African-American female full-time NFL coach (2021–present)
    • Laura Liswood: co-founder and Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders, the only organization in the world dedicated to female heads of state and government (1996–present)
    • Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmental activist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace: first black African woman to receive a Nobel Prize (2004)
    • Nanaia Mahuta, Foreign Minister of New Zealand: first indigenous woman appointed as Foreign Minister of New Zealand (2020–present), first woman member of parliament to wear a moko kauae, or traditional Maori tattoo, on her chin
    • Cynthia Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks: first Black woman to serve as the business leader of an NBA team (2018–present)
    • Gina McCarthy, 1st White House National Climate Advisor: first woman/person to serve as the National Climate Advisor (2021–present)
    • Kate McKinnon, "Saturday Night Live" cast member: first gay woman to be cast since Danitra Vance in the 1980s (2012–present)
    • Beverley McLachlin: first female Supreme Court chief justice of Canada (2000-2017), longest-serving chief justice in Canadian history
    • Angela Dorothea Merkel: first female Chancellor of Germany (2005-2021)
    • Ilhan Omar, Representative for Minnesota's fifth congressional district: first Somali American to serve in Congress (2019–present), one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress
    • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Representative for New York's 14th congressional district: youngest female ever elected to Congress (2018–present), one of the two first female Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) members to serve in Congress
    • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, 7th Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO): first female Director-General of the World Trade Organization (2021–present)
    • Nancy Pelosi, 52nd Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives: first female Democratic leader of the House of Representatives (2007–2011, 2019–present), highest-ranking elected woman as Speaker of the House
    • Ayanna Pressley, U.S. Representative for Massachusetts's 7th congressional district: first Black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts (2019–present), first Black woman elected to the Boston City Council (2010–2018)
    • Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, 24th Prime Minister of Iceland: first female Prime Minister of Iceland (2009-2013), first openly LGBTQ world leader, first female world leader to wed a same-sex partner while in office (2010)
    • Sonia Sotomayor: first Latina female justice of the United States Supreme Court (2009–present)
    • Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland: first woman to serve as Scotland's First Minister (2014–present)
    • Rashida Tlaib, U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district: one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress (2019–present), one of the two first female Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) members to serve in Congress
    • Özlem Türeci, Chief Medical Officer of BioNTech: Developed a 95% effective COVID-19 vaccine in 11 months thereby beating the previous vaccine development record of four years (2020), co-founded the biotechnology company BioNTech (2008)
    • Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission: first female to be appointed President of the European Commission (2019–present)
    • Shemara Wikramanayake, CEO of Macquarie Group: first Asian-Australian woman to head an ASX 200 listed company (2018–present), one of only three CEOs named to the World Bank’s Global Commission on Adaptation
    • Janet Yellen, 78th United States Secretary of the Treasury: first female U.S. Secretary of the Treasury (2021–present), first female chair of the Federal Reserve (2014-2018), first person in U.S. history to have held the top three economic positions in the country: Treasury secretary (2021–present); chair of the Federal Reserve (2010-2014); and chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (1997-1999)

    Emily Kawasaki Written by: Emily Kawasaki

    Works Cited

  • 15 Mar 2022 6:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    March features a number of holidays including Peace Corps Day (March 1st), International Women’s Day (March 8th), Ides of March (March 15th), and St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th). In fact, March has also been recognized as Irish-American Heritage Month since 1991.

    Irish-American Heritage Month has evolved from the first U.S. celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, which was held in New York City in 1762. The parade became an annual tradition, which was organized by military units and then Irish fraternal societies.

    Congress first designated March as Irish-American Heritage Month in October 1990. The month of March was chosen to correspond with St. Patrick’s Day, which is both a Roman Catholic religious holiday and an Irish National Holiday. Starting in March 1991, U.S. Presidents have been issuing proclamations every year. Irish-American Heritage Month celebrates the achievements, accomplishments, and contributions that Irish-Americans have made to the United States. Prominent Irish-American figures include President John F. Kennedy, the first Irish-American Catholic U.S. President, and current President Joe Biden.

    Many people think of St. Patrick’s Day as just a parade. But even the White House engages in some intercultural sharing to celebrate the holiday. Every year, the Taoiseach (the prime minister of the Republic of Ireland) visits the White House. In the morning, after the Taoiseach's arrival, the occasion commences with the Shamrock Ceremony, which became a tradition in 1952. The tradition began when the Irish ambassador in Washington, John Hearne, sent a box of shamrock to President Truman. During the ceremony, the Taoiseach visits the President in the Oval Office and presents a gift of a crystal bowl containing a shamrock plant. Then, there is a luncheon and an evening reception attended by the Taoiseach, the President, the Vice President, the Speaker, and other U.S. officials.

    Irish-American Heritage Month and St. Patrick’s Day are opportunities for Irish-Americans and the Irish Diaspora to celebrate their heritage, engage in cultural traditions, and connect with their roots. Irish-Americans are also encouraged to build intercultural bridges and share their traditions and celebrations with people of all backgrounds and cultures. Sharing food and eating meals together is a common way to share cultural traditions. One of the most famous Irish recipes that many people around the world enjoy is corned beef brisket. Another tradition is to share an Irish blessing or toast at mealtime or gathering. There are hundreds of Irish blessings, many of which are secular and suitable for all occasions. One such Irish Blessing goes:

    May joy surround you,
    Good fortune find you,
    And all your cares be left behind you.
    May you live as long as you want,
    And never want as long as you live.
    And may the saddest day of your future
    Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

     Written by: Emily Kawasaki

    Works Cited

  • 15 Mar 2022 5:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Many of our readers were moved by the remembrances of Janet Bennett. Here are some of the appreciations they expressed.

      • “A special thank you to all the people who let me know how much this article and my letter to Janet meant to them. She certainly was a force in the field. Those of us who got to know her were the lucky ones. But anyone can get to know her through her articles--she wrote so clearly and with great passion about both intercultural and DEIB issues.” – Sandra Fowler
      • “Thank you, Sandy. I so appreciated your letter describing who Janet was, all that she offered, her passions and convictions and her lighting the flame of the field of intercultural communication as well as the professionals who have been and are now spreading the word of curiosity, understanding and inclusivity within the strive for global social justice. Thank you for your portrayal as well as the huge myriad of contributions that you have made to the field. In deep appreciation and gratitude, Mari” – Mari Alexander
    • LETTER FROM THE EDITOR by Sandra Fowler
      • “A truly beautiful tribute to an amazing person and friend, Sandy. Thanks for writing this letter to Janet.” – Anonymous

  • 15 Mar 2022 5:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sandy FowlerTo paraphrase Harry Truman, the buck stops on the editor’s desk. I would like to apologize to the four contributors to Janet’s memory: Dorothy Sermol, Richard Harris, Barbara Schaetti, and Adam Komisarof whose contributions should have been included in the special commemorative issue. Due to the magic of technology, they will be included in the special issue on the SIETAR USA website. I am delighted to be able to lead the March issue with these 4 tributes to Janet. I am deeply sorry that they were not included in the special issue because each one offers personal memories as well as their appreciation for all that Janet meant to them and to the intercultural field. I hope that these tributes will inspire those of you who would still like to respond with your memories of Janet, to take a few minutes and send us a remembrance for the April issue. If you need more time, the May issue would be fine too. We will add each additional tribute to the special issue on our website, so they become part of the permanent record of the commemoration issue.

    I want to note that although the April webinar on what role interculturalists can play for refugees addresses a currently important topic seemingly related to the recent invasion of Ukraine, the Webinar team made the decision last year to have a panel of people with expertise and experience working with refugees as the April webinar. Of course, at that time, we had no idea how topical it would be. The article on Ukraine also touches on the refugee situation due to the invasion by Putin’s Russian forces. Ukrainian refugees are beginning to arrive in the United States. They deserve our attention. The article derives from an interview with Olga Collin and Tatyana Fertelmeyster, two women with intercultural insights and close connections to Ukraine.

    The Opinion column this month relates a personal journey with which many of you are likely to identify. I’ve heard from several people who decided to undertake such a life-changing journey particularly after reading some of the recent books on diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and belonging. One of the first of the books to inspire an awakening is the 2015 Ta-Nahisi Coates’ Between the World and Me; Robin Diangelo’s White Fragility was published in 2018; and more recently Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste in 2020. There are, of course so many more books that have made a difference, these just happen to be the ones that mean something to me. I invite our readers to ponder their own journeys and let us hear about them.

    On a final note, I think the world is exploding with in-person conferences now that it finally seems so much safer to gather in large groups. SIETAR USA joins SIETAR Europa and the International Academy of Intercultural Research in holding in-person conferences this year. You could go to Malta in May for the SEU conference, to Rapperswil, Switzerland in July for the IAIR conference, and join us in Omaha for the SIETAR USA conference. It was nice of these organizations to spread themselves out so that you really could go to each one. Naturally there are many other professional associations that our members belong to, so I’m sure that some of you could attend a conference every month for the rest of the year! In any case, I trust you will keep Omaha on your list. See you there!

    Sandy Fowler, Editor

    The Interculturalist: A Periodical of SIETAR USA

  • 28 Feb 2022 9:21 PM | Emily Kawasaki (Administrator)

    Janet in Puglia, Italy (Photo by Antimo Cimino)


    The intercultural world and the SIETAR community have responded with an outpouring of esteem and emotion to the passing of Janet Bennett. She was not only admired but truly loved for her warmth, brilliance, and contributions to the intercultural and DEI field. Janet’s mark on so many individuals is evident in the testimonials and reminiscences that you will find in this special commemorative issue. Several authors commented that it was a way to say goodbye, to reach some closure. Others said it helped them come to terms with a world without Janet. For all, writing their last words to and about Janet was an emotional experience. Thank you to all who contributed. Read their words to discover things about Janet and the writers that you may not have known. And to honor a true legend in our field. (Sandra Fowler, Editor)


    Janet Bennett’s Impact on Diversity and Inclusion

    The passing of Janet Bennett is a huge loss for those of us working in Intercultural Communication, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  Yet even as we mourn the loss, we are left with her body of work that is a gift that keeps on giving.  As we have all experienced, she was instrumental in building a global community of people who were able make synergistic connections, create new concepts, and foster better appreciation of differences across the world.  But there is so much more. 

    While Janet’s academic and training contributions are many, two stand out because of their powerful impact.  First, she was in the forefront of bringing the intercultural perspective to diversity work.  Using the paradigm of culture and viewing differences through an intercultural lens helped expand understanding of the complexities and challenges of working with differences and ultimately broadened approaches beyond gender- and race-based concepts.  Diversity, Equity and Inclusion now commonly includes, not only a focus on power, privilege, equity, social justice and bias, but also a realization of the powerful role culture plays not only in interpersonal interactions but in organizational systems.  This additional layer of understanding enriches the field and helps in the development of practical, relevant strategies for increasing equity and inclusion.

    The second major contribution Janet has given us is helping connect the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity to the realities of training.  With her tremendous background in training design and facilitation, she has shared knowledge about which training activities are most appropriate for people at each stage of development on the DMIS.  This has brought a level of relevance and practicality to the real work of training and development.  Understanding why participants might react or engage in particular activities because of their own stage of development is key to designing relevant and impactful training, and also facilitating that training with empathy. 

    As a lifelong interculturalist whose mission it was to increase understanding across the world, Janet played a powerful role in expanding the reach of intercultural communication to help in the development of equitable and inclusive environments and to equip those of us who do this work with greater knowledge, insight, and strategies.  Her influence continues as we stand on her shoulders, and hope that others can stand on ours.

    Lee Gardenswartz, Ph.D. and Anita Rowe, Ph.D.


    Standing on the Shoulders of Giants by Sarah Shaw

    From Michaela Carriere

    There are a number of people who populate the world, little corners of being-ness, disparate, yet connected in purpose, intention and focus. People who have deeply touched your life, with whom you share a kindred connection across circumstances, a connection that pulses with a quiet knowing, a commitment to continue where we left off, whether together or apart.

    Janet is one of those people for me, a part of an invisible, intentional network, steadfast in purpose in all her humanity, with a deep respect for the richness of complexity and the efficacy of the liminal.

    Please know, Janet, that I hope for many more such small conversations, whether in real life, or more ephemerally. Be well.

    "Very great change starts from very small conversations, held among people who care." ~ Margaret J. Wheatley


    From Maria Thacker

    Standing on the “shoulders of giants” certainly applies to the intercultural field and the foundation that Janet Bennett built. Her hard work enabled the annual ingathering of like-minded interculturalists. This fostered access to a unique resources library, a synergy of ideas, and a renewal of the spirit. In the last decade I got to know her personally as we connected through our love of anthropology, Peace Corps and Japan. She will be missed.

    Maria Martin Thacker


    CILMAR Carries on Janet’s Stage-Based Pedagogy

    From Annette Benson

    Purdue University’s CILMAR (the Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research) joins with interculturalists the world over in mourning the loss of Janet Bennett. Many past and present CILMAR staff members have sat under Janet’s tutelage at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) and have studied her writings in graduate school, bringing back theories and activities to be implemented into courses and programs. Janet’s stage-based pedagogy is at the heart of the embedded intercultural learning curriculum which CILMAR offers the Purdue colleges and is a hallmark of every Intercultural Learning Hub (HubICL) presentation. Several of the activities in the HubICL’s Toolbox list Janet as the author, and many more of the activities in the Toolbox have been created from a Janet-inspired idea. Janet continues to be the inspiration for many of the learning opportunities offered by CILMAR, especially the virtual summer Step Up Zone series of workshops and the HubICL Professional Development Zone.

    Janet’s legacy will live on in CILMAR’s work at Purdue and contributions to the intercultural field. In an even more tangible way, CILMAR is endeavoring to share with others the benefaction of Janet’s labors as she gathered and curated an unequaled intercultural library. Purdue will be receiving a significant portion of this collection to ensure its accessibility into the future. Other parts of the Intercultural Communication Institute’s library are still looking for a home; we welcome organizations and individuals interested in supporting the project of preserving Janet’s collection to contact us at cilmar@purdue.edu.

    Michael Paige, Annette Benson, and Janet Bennett

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