Welcome to: THE INTERCULTURALIST: A PERIODICAL OF SIETAR USA

Like to submit an article to the SIETAR USA periodical? If so, click here to see the guidelines. 

  • 13 Sep 2021 6:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Now Is Your Opportunity!

    At our last meeting, the Webinar Team decided for the 2022 series to open the monthly webinars to proposals from SIETAR USA members. Previously the process was for the Webinar Team to identify speakers and invite them to present. Cognizant of the limitations of that system in missing fresh talent and innovative work the Team sees this as a way to broaden opportunities for members to showcase their work and for expanding developmental opportunities. As many of you may know, SIETAR Europa already uses a member proposal system with great success, so we are ready to give it a try. Any suggestions or best practices for implementing this system are welcome.

    If you are interested in presenting a SIETAR USA webinar, and application form is available at this time from our Administrative Officer, Karen Fouts (info@sietarusa.org). Please put webinar application as the subject. The application process for 2022 is open now and will close December 31, 2021. Our webinars are 90-minutes long, 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM Eastern Time and typically the second Wednesday of the month. They are recorded and made available to members at no cost and for a reasonable fee to non-members. Registration is done by the SIETAR USA office and production is supported for you.

    Scheduling the annual webinar program, requires carefully attending to the expertise and diversity in topical areas held by SIETAR USA members. We also pay close attention to diversity within the membership and ensure that it is represented in the roster of presenters each year. The list of webinars for 2021:

    January

    Gigi de Groot

    Creating Inclusive Multicultural Teams Remotely

    February

    Elmer Dixon

    Evolution of Change: From Revolutionary to DEI Interculturalist

    March

    Basma DeVries

    Virtual Sparks! Interactive Intercultural Activities

    April

    Andrej Juriga

    Psychology of Cultural Humility: An Emotion Critical for Intercultural Development

    May

    Jamil Khoury

    Silk Road Rising: Art, Activism, and Why  Representation Matters

    June

    Daniel Yalowitz

    On the Art and Nature of Friendship

    July

    Joanna Sell

    Storytelling: How It Fosters Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

    September

    Tara Harvey

    Mindfulness in Intercultural Teaching and Learning

    October

    TBD

     

    November

    Kathryn Sorrells

    The Intercultural Praxis Model: Advancing a Vision and Practice of Healing and Justice

    December

    Stephen Moles

    TBD

    Let us hear from you! We know that you have something to share with the SIETAR USA community and we are grateful for your support.

  • 13 Sep 2021 6:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    September 15th to October 15th celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th to coincide with the Independence Day celebrations of several Latin American nations. September 15th is significant because it’s the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its Independence Day on September 16th. Chile celebrates its Independence Day on September 18th. Belize declared its independence from Great Britain on September 21st. Additionally, October 12th is a U.S. federal holiday, Columbus Day. Alternatively, many cities and states recognize October 12th as Indigenous Peoples' Day. Día de la Raza (Day of the [Hispanic] People) has been celebrated across Latin America since 1917. (Editors, 2020)

    This monthlong celebration honors the history, culture, accomplishments, achievements, and contributions of past and present Hispanic and Latino/a/x Americans, whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Their history, cultural diversity, and many accomplishments have contributed to and enriched all aspects of US American culture.

    In June 1968, Hispanic Heritage Week was introduced by California Congressman George E. Brown, who represented East Los Angeles and a large portion of the San Gabriel Valley. Congressman Brown wanted to celebrate and recognize the important role and contributions of the Latinx community throughout American history. President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first Hispanic Heritage Week presidential proclamation on September 17, 1968. It was expanded to Hispanic Heritage Month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 and enacted into law that same year. On September 14, 1989, President George H.W. Bush became the first president to declare the 31-day period from September 15 to October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month. (Editors, 2020)

    Many U.S. government agencies recognize this important cultural heritage celebration, including the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Works Cited

    • Editors, History.com. “Hispanic Heritage Month.” HISTORY. A&E Television Networks, September 11, 2020. https://www.history.com/topics/hispanic-history/hispanic-heritage-month.
    • “Hispanic Heritage Month - NPS Celebrates! (U.S. National Park Service).” www.nps.gov, September 18, 2020. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/hispanic-heritage-month.htm.
    • “National Hispanic American Heritage Month 2019.” Hispanicheritagemonth.gov, 2019. https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/.
    • Wikipedia Contributors. “Columbus Day.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, May 17, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbus_Day.
    • Wikipedia Contributors. “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, September 12, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_Peoples%27_Day.

    Written by: Emily Kawasaki




  • 13 Sep 2021 5:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    September 3-24, 2021 - SIETAR Europa Virtual Institute: “Anti-racism, Inclusion, and Intersectionality: From cutting-edge research to best practice”. Visit SIETAR Europa Events to register!

    September 13, 2021 – SIETAR Deutschland WEBINAR: “SIETAR Smart n Social series: Preparing international expats for a new life and career in Germany". Visit SIETAR Deutschland Events to register!

    October 12, 2021 – SIETAR Europa WEBINAR: “Multilingualism and Tolerance of Ambiguity” with Dr. Karin Martin and FH-Prof. Dr. Eithne Knappitsch. Visit SIETAR Europa Events to register!

     

    September

    Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15 to October 15. This month corresponds with Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16, and recognizes the revolution in 1810 that ended Spanish dictatorship.

    September 4-11: Paryushana Parva, a Jain festival lasting about eight to ten days that is observed through meditation and fasting. Its main focus is spiritual upliftment, pursuit of salvation and a deeper understanding of the religion.

    September 6: Labor Day in the United States. Labor Day honors the contribution that laborers have made to the country and is observed on the first Monday of September.

    September 6-8 (sundown to sundown): Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, marking the creation of the world.

    September 10: Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu holiday lasting around 10 days, where the elephant-headed Hindu God is praised and given offerings.

    September 11: Ethiopian New Year. Rastafarians celebrate the New Year on this date and believe that Ethiopia is their spiritual home.

    September 15-16 (sundown to sundown): Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, a day of atonement marked by fasting and ceremonial repentance.

    September 18: International Equal Pay Day, celebrated for the first time in September 2020, represents the longstanding efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value. It further builds on the United Nations’ commitment to human rights and against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination against women and girls.

    September 20-27: Sukkot, a seven-day Jewish festival giving thanks for the fall harvest.

    September 22: Ostara Mabon, a celebration of the vernal equinox commemorated by Pagans and Wiccans.

    September 24: Native American Day, a federal holiday observed annually on the fourth Friday in September in the state of California and Nevada and on the second Monday in October in South Dakota and Oklahoma.

    September 27: Meskel, religious holiday in the Ethiopian Orthodox and Eritrean Orthodox churches that commemorates the discovery of the True Cross by the Roman Empress, Helena, in the fourth century.

    September 27-29 (sundown to sundown): Shemini Atzeret, a Jewish holiday also known as The Eighth (Day) of Assembly, takes place the day after the Sukkot festival, where gratitude for the fall harvest is deeply internalized.

    September 28: Teacher’s Day in Taiwan. This day is used to honor teachers’ contributions to their students and to society in general. People often express their gratitude to their teachers by paying them a visit or sending them a card. This date was chosen to commemorate the birth of Confucius, the model master educator in ancient China.

    September 28-29 (sundown to sundown): Simchat Torah, a Jewish holiday, marks the end of the weekly readings of the Torah. The holy book is read from chapter one of Genesis to Deuteronomy 34 and then back to chapter one again, in acknowledgement of the words of the Torah being a circle, a never-ending cycle.

    October

    October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This observance was launched in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1998, the week was extended to a month and renamed. The annual event draws attention to employment barriers that still need to be addressed.

    October is LGBT History Month, a U.S. observance started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and the history of the gay-rights movement.

    October is Global Diversity Awareness Month, a month to celebrate and increase awareness about the diversity of cultures and ethnicities and the positive impact diversity can have on society.

     

     

    October 1: The beginning of Black History Month in the UK, Ireland, and The Netherlands.

    October 1: Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day. The aim is to raise awareness about the wider-than-average pay gap between Native American women and White men. Native American women are paid 57 cents for every dollar paid to white men.

    October 6-14: Navaratri, the nine-day festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. It worships God in the form of the universal mother commonly referred to as Durga, Devi or Shakti, and marks the start of fall.

    October 10: World Mental Health Day. First celebrated in 1993, this day is meant to increase public awareness about the importance of mental health, mental health services, and mental health workers worldwide.

    October 11: National Coming Out Day (U.S.). For those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, this day celebrates coming out and the recognition of the 1987 march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality.

    October 11: Canadian Thanksgiving, a chance for people to give thanks for a good harvest and other fortunes in the past year.

    October 11: National Indigenous Peoples Day, an alternative celebration to Columbus Day, gives recognition to the indigenous populations affected by colonization.

    October 15: Dasara, Dussehra, or Vijayadashami, in the eastern and northeastern states of India, marks the end of Durga Puja, remembering goddess Durga's victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasura to help restore dharma.


  • 27 Jul 2021 7:38 PM | Emily Kawasaki (Administrator)

    Join us for the 2021 SIETAR USA National Conference

    Intercultural and DEI professionals will gather in Omaha, NE for the 2021 National Conference: Mind, Culture, Society October 8-11, 2021. This is your opportunity to (re)connect with colleagues, learn from world-class speakers and presenters in 3-1/2 days of workshops and presentations, be inspired, be motivated, AND do it all IN PERSON!

    • Ready to register? Get to Conference Registration Info on the SIETAR USA website for details, registration links and hotel information.
    • Don’t forget: SIETAR USA members enjoy a discounted registration rate for the conference and the Master Workshops taking place October 8. If you missed the member email with the discount code(s), please contact info@sietarusa.org.
    • If you’re NOT a SIETAR USA member (or have let your membership lapse), there’s no time like the present to join or renew! Visit https://www.sietarusa.org/membership to learn about membership benefits, rates, and complete your application.
    • When you go to the Conference Registration Info page, make sure and download the Whova app which will allow you to stay current on all conference news and info!

    Early bird registration pricing is only good through September 1 – that’s less than 6 weeks away! What are you waiting for?

    #areyouin #go_omaha #2021sietarusaconf

    Here is a taste of what you will find in the session program: A conference session that might interest you!

    Do you use coaching, mentoring, or counseling in your intercultural work?  If so, you may be interested in attending the interactive session at the Omaha conference being given by Dr. Zen Perry, Portland State University, Dr. Rashmi Kapse and Cheryl Woehr, both SIETAR USA board members.  They will be exploring the differences between Leadership Development, Business and Executive coaching and discuss what it means to provide Culturally Sensitive Mentoring.

    With the recent transition from in-person to online meetings and training, we need to adjust how we interact with others in a virtual world, particularly when we are working cross-culturally. Interacting virtually requires us to develop our coaching abilities and reexamine how we engage with each other in a different format. Discussions will include the importance of using coaching skills and how to be more culturally effective when mentoring.

  • 27 Jul 2021 7:06 PM | Emily Kawasaki (Administrator)

    This year, after over a year of being apart from each other, we are looking forward to gathering together in Omaha, NE for the SIETAR USA 2021: Mind, Culture, and Society. One of the many highlights of this year’s in-person National Conference will be the play that will be presented on late Saturday afternoon prior to the Dine Around.

    This year, the conference theme focuses on and ask the questions: How does the intersection of these three vital aspects change how we view and react to the world around us? How does a deeper understanding and intersection of these three factors enhance our capacity to bridge such schisms?


    This year’s performance of the play I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady from Rwanda touches upon all of these intersecting themes. The play is inspired by the real-life experiences of Rwandan refugees in the UK and tells the story of two people from entirely different worlds who meet at a Refugee Center in London: Juliette is a Rwandan asylum seeker, determined to write a book on the genocide that killed her family; Simon is failing novelist, whose job it is to help people write. The play follows their funny and touching relationship and tackles issues that face many refugees who live in the UK and around the world today.

    The play is directed by Kelli McLoud-Schingen, and stars John Burns as Simon and Mecca Marie as Juliette. The playwright, Sonja Linden, received a nomination for best playwright in the 2007 NAACP awards. The performers are part of the World Stage Theatre Company, whose mission is to give actors and audiences access to the world by telling multicultural, inspirational, and transformational stories to connect our hearts and minds with people, places, and ideas. This mission of storytelling and intercultural understanding is felt and shared by SIETARians and interculturalists around the world. Sonja Linden summarized the importance of the intersection between art and intercultural communication by saying:

    We passionately believe that art has a role to play in communicating one of the most pressing issues today – the growing displacement of peoples in conflict zones. In a world increasingly overshadowed by international tensions, we aim to present to audiences’ stories of individuals whose lives have been touched by these events.


      Mecca Marie, who plays Juliette, is a native of Los Angeles, CA. She studied at the Marla Gibbs School of Drama and Lula Washington School of Dance. Mecca relocated to Rancho Cucamonga, CA, where she created an enrichment program for the Upland Unified school district and worked with young people as a performing arts instructor for several years. Mecca received the 2019 TATE (Tulsa Award for Theatre Excellence) for Outstanding Actress for her portrayal of Juliette.


     John Burns, who plays Simon, has been living in Tulsa, OK for almost a decade. He has performed primarily in a variety of musicals and has also appeared in several plays. World Stage is the fifth theatre company with which John has worked. John received the 2019 TATE (Tulsa Award for Theatre Excellence) for Outstanding Actor for his portrayal of Simon.



     Kelli McLoud-Schingen founded World Stage Theatre Company in 2017 and serves as Artistic Director. She received her theatrical training from Aurora University and Roosevelt University. She completed her MFA in Musical Theatre at Roosevelt and studied abroad at the Oxford School of Drama in Oxford, England. She has a wealth of experience in commercial, voiceover, and professional theatre, and over 25 years of directing experience. Kelli is currently the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Tulsa. She is also the President of KMS Intercultural Consulting, and a proud member of the Past President’s club of SIETAR-USA.

    We look forward to not only watching, but also reflecting on and discussing, this moving performance when we are gathered together again in Omaha, NE this October.


     Written by: Emily Kawasaki

  • 27 Jul 2021 6:58 PM | Emily Kawasaki (Administrator)

    SIETAR USA has an established tradition of reaching out for its biannual conference to attract new members by offering conference scholarships. Special focus for our outreach is among students up-and-coming in the intercultural field as well as employees in the nonprofit sector.

    Scholarships cover the full cost of the conference registration fee as well as highlight your networking profile at the conference. (NOTE: Scholarship recipients are asked to help volunteer at certain, limited points during the conference.)

    The deadline to apply for scholarships for the 2021 SIETAR USA conference is fast approaching! 

    Saturday, July 31, 2021 is the last day to submit your application.

    If you are a student or work for a nonprofit, you are eligible to apply!

    Further information on SIETAR USA conference scholarships as well as the application link can be found at  SIETAR USA - Scholarships

    Even if you are not eligible yourself, please help us support newcomers to the intercultural field by forwarding this announcement and spreading the word to those in your social/professional circles who that you think could benefit from a SIETAR-USA scholarship!!

    Contact for questions: scholarships@sietarusa.org 

  • 27 Jul 2021 6:48 PM | Emily Kawasaki (Administrator)

    In previous issues of this periodical, we have highlighted some interesting places to visit while in Omaha. Here is a broad look at the city and its origins.

    10 Interesting Facts to Know About Omaha, Nebraska

    1. Omaha was originally known for its railroads, breweries, stockyards and meatpacking. Founded in 1854, pioneers moved to Omaha to begin a new life along the Mississippi River. With so many passing through the city of Omaha to reach the “new West”, it quickly became known as a transportation hub. Omaha also hosted the World’s Fair in 1898. The 2019 population of Omaha was 475,862.

    2. Members of the Lewis and Clark expedition came ashore at the current location of Omaha.

    3. The Lied Jungle is the largest indoor rain forest in the United States—located in Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. The exhibit allows visitors to immerse themselves in a rainforest environment and explore it, rather than viewing it from a distance.

    4. Five Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Omaha. Con-Agra Foods, Union Pacific Corporation, Mutual of Omaha, Kiewit Corporation and Berkshire Hathaway all manage their colossal companies from the city of Omaha.

    5. Several modern-day inventions originated in Omaha. These prominent inventions include, cake mix, Raisin Bran, the bobby pin, the ski lift, the Rueben sandwich and the “Top 40” radio format.

    6. Omaha is still known for its breweries. Local breweries, such as Upstream, Lucky Bucket, Infusion and Beertopia may have something to do with Omaha being dubbed the “most hungover city in America” in 2013.

    7. Warren Buffet calls Omaha, Nebraska home (most of the year). Referred to as “The Wizard of Omaha”, this Berkshire Hathaway CEO frequents the pages of Forbes Magazine as one of the wealthiest people in the world. An interesting fact about Buffet is he has pledged to give away 99% of his fortune to charity;

    8. Mutual of Omaha has an interesting Headquarters. Seven floors of this fortune 500 company’s building are built underground.

    9. Omaha has one of the nation’s leading containment centers. Located at the University Nebraska Medical Center, this high-level containment center has taken in most of the nation’s Ebola patients.

    10. Sports are a huge part of Omaha’s culture. Omaha is home to championship ice skating, and it also hosts the Olympic Swim Trials. Omaha is also home to the annual College World Series. This annual baseball tournament takes place each year in Omaha in the month of June.

    This list is a modification of a list provided by the All My Sons Moving and Storage Company of Omaha, NE.

  • 27 Jul 2021 6:34 PM | Emily Kawasaki (Administrator)

    As SIETAR USA seeks a new President-Elect this year, it seems rather timely to reflect on leadership. Although there is a huge difference between an association as small as SIETAR USA and the much larger associations such as APA or AMA, in some sense there is no real difference in the leadership qualities needed. In fact, I would argue that there’s also not a big difference in considering leadership qualities in a business, government department, NGO or an association, however small or large.

    In some of the ethics workshops we offer to clients we sometimes use a role model exercise where we ask participants to think about who they admire for high integrity, and then list the qualities or attributes of that person, and then compare team lists. And when asked for who I think of as an integrity role model, I usually choose Nelson Mandela. As a South African (I am a dual citizen), that is an easy choice. In fact, in developing the Global Leadership Survey (our online self-assessment tool on Global Leadership) I always had Mandela in mind as the perfect role model. This self-assessment has four axes: Values, Action, Ideas and People – or Conscience, Courage, Creativity and Compassion, and Mandela was an expert in each one of these areas. On Values, he was a profoundly ethical leader, fighting for freedom, dignity, community and justice and, as demonstrated in the truth and reconciliation work and in the South African Constitution, these values are central. On Action, Mandela had incredible courage in advocating for his vision of a free South Africa; 27 years in prison and then being able to put that “behind” him so to speak and lead with dignity takes amazing courage. He also led through the deep governance changes in South Africa including the Truth & Reconciliation process and the new constitution. On Ideas, Mandela was a truly creative leader. There are so many examples, though the best known is probably his wearing the Springbok captain’s jersey onto the field in the World Cup Rugby final, as portrayed in the film Invictus. It was that genius stroke that in one symbolic act virtually eliminated the armed white right-wing threat that still existed in South Africa in 1995, right after the first ever free elections in the country. And as for People, Mandela’s compassion was witnessed by everyone who met him. He showed genuine care about people, regardless of their position in society. 

    We extracted those four axes - Values, Action, Ideas and People – or Conscience, Courage, Creativity and Compassion, from the voluminous longitudinal research on global leadership called the GLOBE project, which is still on-going research. Not only are these four axes global in the sense that they supersede culture, or can be seen in all cultures, but in my opinion, they also supersede the kind of organization you might focus on. In other words, regardless of what your organization does, it must address Values, Action, Ideas and People. In businesses the usual leadership focus is on Ideas and Action – delivering better products or services, though that applies to non-profits too. However, in non-profits, and associations, there usually is a little more focus on the Values and People side of things… on Integrity and Inclusion, and therefore on Ethical and Inclusive leadership. My observation, however, is that in these difficult, complicated and uncertain times, with a global pandemic, we have seen a growing awareness of the criticality of Values and People in effective leadership in ALL organizations. The evidence is reflected in a wide range of recent movements -- in #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, United Against Racism, ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing, and the inclusion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the planet into the strategic plans of all kinds of organizations, across all sectors.  No organization should downplay the importance of inclusive and ethical leadership in how goals are set and how results are achieved.

    So, what does this all mean for SIETAR USA? Find a new leader that is Mandela-like… yes, but the point is that organizations are not led by just one person – it takes a leadership team to make an organization successful and sustainable, and we need the diversity and balance of Conscience, Courage, Creativity and Compassion in and across the leadership team. That is all worth keeping in mind as SIETAR USA seeks new leadership.

    Written by: Alan Richter


  • 27 Jul 2021 6:24 PM | Emily Kawasaki (Administrator)

    Dear SIETAR USA Members and Colleagues,

    The future of SIETAR USA depends on its members to support its mission and to provide the leadership to guide the organization. To that end, we are issuing the 2021 Call for Nominations for the Board of Directors of SIETAR USA. 

    The SIETAR USA Leadership values diversity in all of its forms and is committed to creating and fostering an inclusive environment for all SIETAR USA members. We invite and encourage all members of our community to participate in the Board of Directors election process to support our efforts to cultivate a culture that embraces and values diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. 

    You may nominate yourself or another member of the organization. Any candidate for Board positions must meet the following criteria in addition to role-specific requirements listed in each position description. 

    1. Possess a strong background and understanding of the intercultural and/or diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) fields
    2. Be a member in good standing with SIETAR USA (or willing to become a member)
    3. Have attended at least one SIETAR USA conference in the past five years

    Nomination Submission Deadline

    All nominations must be submitted in writing by e-mail to boardleadership@sietarusa.org and cc: info@sietarusa.org by: Monday, August 16th, 2021: 5 PM CDT

    Open Positions

    We currently have three open Board positions for nominations in 2021:

    • The President Elect shall succeed the President. If, for any reason, the President cannot serve out a term, the President-elect shall fulfill the unexpired term and continue through his/her own term.
    • The Professional Development Director is responsible for seeking out and developing opportunities that sustain the professional development of the membership of SIETAR USA.
    • The Membership Outreach and Diversity Director is responsible for maintaining and growing the membership of the society.

    More detailed position descriptions including preferred qualifications for these roles are available on the SIETAR USA website.

  • 27 Jul 2021 6:15 PM | Emily Kawasaki (Administrator)

    The Call for Nominations has been open for a month and it is time to remind our readers that in addition to two Board Director Positions, one of the positions that is open this year is President Elect. I thought that it might be illuminating for anyone who is considering what it might be like to be president of SIETAR USA to hear from the past presidents. I asked two questions: Why did you become president of SIETAR USA? How did it turn out for you? The responses are varied but all express the joy of this job. In no particular order:

    Heather Robinson: “Quite simply, I became president of SIETAR USA because I wanted to give back to the organization that had given me so much, both professionally and personally. As the first elected president of SIETAR USA, I was taking the position the uncommonly gifted and energetic Peggy Pusch had handled in addition to being the Executive Director of the organization. Mercifully, Peggy had my back as we negotiated some growing pains. It was only the fourth year of SIETAR USA’s existence and we faced numerous challenges – creating an organization that was true to the global mission of SIETAR established in 1974, that was uniquely US American in its appeal, and that met the moment by supporting practitioners as interested in diversity and inclusion as intercultural work. We experimented with a structure in which each board member was responsible for a portfolio and could recruit any SIETAR USA members they deemed fit to help them execute. We benefited from formal board development, bringing in Ann Macfarlane of Jurassic Parliament to share her wisdom on Practical Leadership. We oversaw two very successful conferences - one in Bloomington, Indiana and one in Jersey City, New Jersey.

    Shortly after I became president of SIETAR USA, I followed my husband on an international job assignment to Bangalore. The joke was SIETAR USA had outsourced the presidency to India! Being president of SIETAR USA taught me a lot in a short time, both about leadership and about followership. With the learning I had gained from my SIETAR USA presidency, I found myself well equipped to be a founding member of SIETAR India in 2006. So, as a result, not only was I able to give back to the organization that had given me so much, I was able to pay it forward in supporting the creation of a new member organization in the global SIETAR family. I shall forever be grateful to those who asked me (yes, you, Sandy Fowler), those who encouraged me (yes, you, Rita Wuebbeler) and all who served with me on the board and on conference committees, for this life-enhancing opportunity. Thank you all!“ SIETAR USA President 2003-2005

    Esther Louie: “I had voiced interest to some members and had asked some SIETAR USA Board members—what their responsibilities were, what is it they worked on as Board members, etc.  I had been an active volunteer during our annual conferences and felt that I was still learning about the organization.  I had not actively sought a nomination and felt that I was still in the learning mode.  So, this may not be the most auspicious start onto the SIETAR USA Board but during the Bloomington, IN conference when we were nominating new Board members, I took a bathroom break, and came back to my table to find out that I had been nominated onto the SIETAR USA Board.  

    As I learned more about the role of Board members and eventually became president, I most valued the collegial interactions, learning about our members throughout the United States and meeting their interest, concerns and needs.  Keeping abreast of the intercultural/multicultural and global aspects of equity, diversity and social trends, developments and results and outcomes invigorated me and my professional goals.  Visioning and planning with the Board and our members were my favorite activities.  The coordination with SIETARs around the United States and globally was always a welcomed engagement.  I loved my years with SIETAR USA and wish all the best to its important and continued success.” SIETAR USA President 2007-2008.

    Kelli McLoud-Schingen: “It is no secret that I absolutely ADORE the SIETAR family – worldwide!  Though it wasn’t always like that.  I have said this many times, but my first SIETAR USA conference was in Minneapolis and while I was already an active member of the Houston local group, I hadn’t attended the USA events.  So, just weeks after September 11, 2001, I attended the conference in Minneapolis.  It was a tough time for the nation and most specifically, for those of us who knew what the xenophobic fall out would be.  I hoped to find my people… I did not.  But I did find a few persons who challenged me, invited me to stay, and to help change the organization from within.  20 years later, I am so happy that I did.  Not only did I find my people, I found my family.  A global family that means the absolute world to me. After my board service as Membership Outreach and Diversity Chair I was encouraged by Andy Reynolds and Tatyana Fertelmeyster to put my name in the ring for the President position. I didn’t think I was ready to lead a national organization and the two of them assured me that I wouldn’t be alone with their support and especially with Peggy at the helm.  It was terribly unfortunate that I only had a few months to work with Peggy before she retired, but she was there for me for absolutely anything I needed.  When you love an organization so much you want it to be the very best that it can be for you, its members and all that we touch.  So, it was a natural progression for me to want to lead our beloved organization as President from 2010-2012 and to continue serving in an Advisory role until this year.  It was exciting, challenging, fulfilling, frustrating, but most of all, one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.  If I had to do it all again, I absolutely would.  Again, and again.  I am grateful for the honor and pleasure of leading this amazing and best kept secret and I look forward to many more years as a loyal and faithful member.” SIETAR USA President 2010-2012.

    Holly Emert: SIETAR USA has always had my heart. I became involved in 2001--wow, that seems like forever ago--as soon as I learned about the organization through my graduate studies at the University of Minnesota. First, I helped out as Volunteer Coordinator for the 2001 annual conference and kept going from being Professional Development Portfolio Director through to President. I couldn't get enough of the mission and the people who found a home in SIETAR USA and the broader worldwide SIETAR family! Being President of this great organization is a worthwhile commitment of one's passion, dedication, and yes, the ability to herd cats! You make your mark through being President and support others as they make their own. It's a wonderful opportunity to support others and to be supported in turn. Please consider submitting your candidacy for President!” SIETAR USA President 2017-2018.

    Patricia Malidor Coleman: In 2015 I had the privilege to serve as President of SIETAR USA. As a former active member and board member, I saw the opportunity to walk the talk and put into action some of what many members like me looked for. SIETAR USA listens and the best way to get involved to contribute to as well as grow the intercultural field is to volunteer in committees and/or join the board. I started as member at large and worked my way up to the board and presidency with which I serve as a hands-on leader. 

    Being president of SIETAR USA is a place to gain and grow:

    • Lasting relationships
    • Intercultural skills
    • Professional development skills
    • Personal development skills
    • Business skills
    • Inclusive Leadership 
    • Spirit of community
    • Diverse team collaboration 
    • Global impact 
    • Global networking
    • Event planning management skills
    • Volunteer team management 
    • Nonprofit organization management
    ….and more but if I have to summarize, I’d say:

    “Being president of SIETAR USA is giving & receiving!”

    SIETAR USA President 2015-2016.

    Sandy Fowler: “I had been president of SIETAR International in 1989 and was a founding member of SIETAR USA but never thought about being president. I had a busy life and found pleasure in the tasks I did for SIETAR USA, which kept me in touch with the intercultural community. However, as my life changed after my husband’s passing, I felt that SIETAR USA needed me, and I was ready to take on the challenge of the presidency. I was fortunate to have the time to devote to it but, being president can be done in the midst of a busy life—ask any one of the others who responded to my two questions, and they will tell you that it can be done. They did it! For me, the greatest joy was connecting with the Board members, working together for the benefit of the society. I hope that The Interculturalist: A Periodical of SIETAR USA will be my legacy and last long after I’m gone.” SIETAR USA President 2019-2020.

    Christopher Deal: When I was asked to be nominated and serve as President of SIETAR USA, I immediately said, “Yes, I would be honored to serve.” I knew it would be challenging because running any organization has many inherent challenges. I also remembered Peggy Pusch saying something to the effect that it was like herding cats, something she was actually quite good at, I thought. The reason I did not hesitate was because I have a strong commitment to helping foster mutual understanding among people from different cultural backgrounds. I was happy to find that commitment embodied in the fields of intercultural communication, intercultural relations, and related fields and also happy to discover SIETAR USA as the nation’s premier professional association for intercultural work. I had the opportunity to serve on the SIETAR USA Board of Directors for about eight years as Local Group Chair, and that helped me learn the history and inner workings of the organization before becoming President Elect.

    I can remember so many times when attendees at SIETAR or SIIC (Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication) would say that coming to the conference felt like “finding my people.” Well, for me it was quite a joy to get to work with likeminded people for so many years on something so worthwhile and meaningful. I would encourage everyone with a passion for the field to consider serving on the Board of Directors or otherwise contributing to our cause.

    Becoming president turned out to have even more benefits than getting to work with great people and affect positive change. In 2015, I went to the SIETAR USA conference in Orlando, Florida even though I was feeling ill with unexplained headaches and was also inexplicably losing and dropping things constantly. I went despite feeling ill because Patricia Coleman, then President, said I would be inducted into the SIETAR USA Hall of Fame, which all former presidents are. As it turned out, the conference hotel they had chosen that year was very close to a branch of the Florida Hospital with one of the top brain surgeons in the country. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the conference that year, but Patricia asked Sue Shinomiya to come and see about me when my condition became critical. Sue, who I had served on the SIETAR Board for many years, met me at the emergency room where a scan revealed a large mass in my brain. She then accompanied me in the ambulance to the surgical center (What a wonderful thing it is to have a good friend with you at a time like that). The surgery was successful in removing most of a cancerous tumor of the type GBM (glioblastoma multiforme). I was so thankful to be near my SIETAR USA community when I was in need of help. Then, when my family and I faced the very difficult treatment and recovery phase after being told I had little chance to live beyond three years, SIETAR USA and the larger worldwide intercultural community really came through for us with an incredible outpouring of support in many forms: Money when we were having trouble with the medical bills, prayers, thoughts, good wishes—everything we needed. After radiation, one year of chemo, and then over three years wearing a device on my head called Optune, I reached the five-year mark and my doctor finally said I can be called a “survivor.” Who knows how things might have turned out if I had not been a part of SIETAR USA, but I am incredibly appreciative of the support of people in this community?” Christopher Deal, Ph.D., SIETAR USA President 2013-2014.

    Editor’s Note: Some people have a friend who decides to nominate them. Others come to the decision on their own and submit their candidacy. However it happens, every other year we need to search for a good steward of the association—a new president. Let us hear from you if you have someone in mind. Perhaps it is you.

    Sandra M. Fowler
    Editor

Contact Us
P.O. Box 548
Wheaton, IL 60187-4729
847.893.9655

info@sietarusa.org

Wild Apricot theme design and development by Webbright