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  • 13 Feb 2022 9:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Janet Marie Bartholomy was born in 1945, in Chicago, IL. She lived there until age 11 when her family moved to Palo Alto, CA. There she attended the Catholic Girls’ School graduating in 1963. In 1972, she completed a BA degree at California State University San Francisco majoring in psychology and journalism. That was followed by a master’s degree in Speech Communication in 1976. She earned a PhD at the University of Minnesota with an emphasis on intercultural communication and anthropology in 1985.

    Janet served in the Peace Corps in Chuuk District, Micronesia (previously known as Truk Atoll) one of a cluster of islands located mid-ocean 1,100 miles north-east of New Guinea. In 1966, she married Milton Bennett who she met as an undergraduate at California State University San Francisco. Moving to Portland, OR, in 1985 she taught at Marylhurst University.

    In 1986, Cliff Clark determined that his Summer Institute at Stanford University should move to Portland under the aegis of Janet and Milton. Milton’s father, Stanton Bennett’s endowment funded that move resulting in the Intercultural Communication Institute (ICI) that in turn sponsored the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) that influenced the careers of so many. The peripatetic Summer Institute was initially located at Marylhurst, then housed briefly at the University of Portland, followed by a move to the Pacific University in Forrest Grove, OR for many years. Subsequently Janet moved it to Reed College in Portland. Janet’s warmth and heartwarming skills created a welcoming atmosphere and a total-immersion, interactive learning environment. Many described SIIC as a culture in itself. Janet expanded the Summer Institute concept in Portland to the East Coast with the Winter Institute of Intercultural Communication (WIIC) and to Doha for the Qatar Institute of Intercultural Communication (QIIC).

    Several people (primarily Peggy Pusch, SIETAR USA’s founding president) recognized the need for and encouraged Janet to develop an intercultural research library that grew to tens of thousands of volumes, videos, papers and other intercultural and DEI materials (icilibrary2022@gmail.com). Janet also founded, administered, and supported a Masters in Applied Intercultural Relations (MAIR) degree program. In addition to her managerial duties with ICI and SIIC, Janet maintained a busy presentation schedule with speeches and workshops around the world. She also found time to write book chapters, articles for peer-reviewed journals, and co-edited the third volume of the Handbook of Intercultural Training.  

    Perhaps an accomplishment of which she was most proud was the publication of the 2-volume Sage Encyclopedia of Intercultural Competence (2015). The 5+ pages of contributors reads like a compendium of intercultural and diversity leaders. In the introduction to the encyclopedia, Janet lists 6 predictions regarding the future of intercultural competence. It is a positive list, reflecting her steadfast belief in the efficacy of intercultural relations training. She ends with “it must be asserted that the outcry for social justice will be heard—perhaps not a prediction, but a fervent desire.” She knew that we were well beyond the time when “clichés about the global village” were enough to justify our work and as always, her deep concern for our world showed through. 

    Janet had a close relationship throughout the years with SIETAR International and subsequently SIETAR USA. She was always ready and generous with cogent advice, penetrating insights, and useful recommendations. Janet was an active participant in SIETAR USA conferences. Often invited to give a Master Workshop, she and Milton offered The Transcultural Context of Training at the inaugural conference in 2000 (Fairfax, VA). Janet conducted an array of Master Workshops over the years.

    • Building Intercultural Competence for Trainers (2002 Portland, OR)
    • Decision Making in Intercultural Teams (2003 Austin, TX)
    • Designing Intercultural Training: Skills and Tools for the Educator (2005 Jersey City, NJ)
    • Turning Resistance into Engagement: Training Design for Transformative Learning (2006 Albuquerque, NM)
    • Cultivating Intercultural Competence (2009 Cary, NC)
    • Have a Nice Day! Reducing Risk and Alleviating Anxiety in the Training Room 2011 (Denver, CO)
    • Intercultural Inclusion: Inspiration, Aspiration, and Application (2013)

    That is a sample (but not all) of Janet’s Master Workshops reflecting her strengths, skills, expertise, interests, and engagement with the issues of training and intercultural competence.

    For the 2010 SIETAR USA conference in Spokane, Program Chairs Esther Louie and Ann Marie Lei chose Janet to deliver the opening keynote address. Janet spoke on Upsetting the Balance: Transforming Ourselves, Transforming the World. In addition, she delivered a Master Workshop at that conference on Teaching Curiosity: The Keystone of Intercultural Competence. A passionate proponent of theory to practice, she consistently referred to the theoretical and research foundation of the intercultural field and demonstrated its application to real world issues—especially those faced by trainers in the classroom.

    Janet was the recipient of SIETAR USA’s Margaret D. Pusch Founders Award in recognition of her commitment and service to the intercultural relations field over her long career. The award cited her prolific writing, sharing her intercultural knowledge with others. In addition to numerous chapters and articles in peer reviewed journals, she co-edited with Dan Landis and Milton Bennett the Third Edition of the Handbook of Intercultural Training. She published what she had learned from her interns and students in Turning Frogs into Interculturalists: A Student-Centered Development Approach to Teaching Intercultural Competence (in Goodman, Phillips & Boycigiller (Ed.) Crossing Cultures: Insights from Master Teachers.) The award recognized that as the executive director of ICI and SIIC she influenced the careers of thousands of interculturalists and DEI professionals. Her service to the profession, contributions to the community and to SIETAR USA, and her consummate professionalism earned her the highest award given by SIETAR USA. Her nomination concluded with “Janet Bennett’s unflagging professionalism, her legion contributions to the intercultural field and its literature, her support of colleagues and students, her investment in community and SIETAR in particular deserve to be recognized with the Margaret D. Pusch Founder’s Award in 2013.”

    Janet’s life work was building bridges. She understood the impact of cultural differences and she wrote about the need to soften barriers to living life with cultural others and exploring the mysteries of unknown places and peoples. In the introduction to the Sage Encyclopedia, she wrote: “we do so not only to teach more wisely, train more effectively, and manage more appropriately, but also sometimes for the sheer pleasure of experiencing differences.” Janet left us on February 3, 2022. She was a treasure, and she is sorely missed.

    Sandra Fowler, Editor

    The Interculturalist: A Periodical of SIETAR USA

  • 13 Feb 2022 9:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear Janet,

    This is a letter of gratitude for your friendship, your contributions to the intercultural field, and for all the many people whose lives you touched.

    Thank you for being a friend—down the road and back again. We met in 1979 in Mexico City at a SIETAR conference. One of the conference days we went to a mercado with Peggy, Michael Paige and a few others. Shopping with you and Peggy was always a hoot. The two of you maneuvered around a store like a school of fish, swimming in perfect unison without ever touching or looking at each other. I do think that there might have been some nonverbal communication that led to finding just the right scarf to go with the most stunning outfit and the perfect purple earrings to top it all off. I consider myself a shopper, but I’d just stand in awe and watch the two of you.

    You were an exquisite problem solver. Over the years, you were one of my most treasured go-to people when I had a quandary to resolve. Your questions always seemed to illuminate the best path forward. When I’d call to ask how to solve a knotty problem, your sentences usually started with “Have you thought of…?” You never offered unsolicited advice because I was always thankful for any advice you had to offer.

    The intercultural field benefitted from your scholarship, innovation, creativity, and ability to draw the best out of students and colleagues. I was honored to be included in several SIIC programs—that was after the SIETAR Summer Institute held at Georgetown University with which I was actively involved, ended its long run. I had, of course, heard a lot about SIIC and got to experience the total immersion for myself. An eye-opening experience, indeed. You created the atmosphere, the learning environment, and your warmth and welcoming spirit made such a difference to participants, interns, and faculty. Flowers in each room, posters on the wall, it felt like home—which is just the effect you sought—and you succeeded. When I encountered a disruptive, problem person in my classroom you rallied other faculty and we figured out together the best strategy under the circumstances. It was the apotheosis of support.

    Back in the early 1990’s, as I was determining the list of authors to invite for the Intercultural Sourcebook: Cross-Cultural Training Methods, your name was at the top of the list. Even the best writers need a good editor (which with your and Peggy’s tutelage, I learned how to do it better) but I recall that there were two chapters that had zero red marks: yours and the one from Harry Triandis. You were a good writer, finding just the right combination of words to clearly express your meaning. When you began the hugely complicated process of inviting authors for the Sage Encyclopedia of Intercultural Competence, I was grateful that you returned the favor and invited me to do an entry.

    I think that the most fun we had working together was on the 2017 SIETAR USA conference in San Diego. Both night owls we regularly talked well past midnight. Often our Program Chair, Colleen Kelley, also known to burn the midnight oil, joined us. It was a great conference that unfortunately you never got to attend, and we had to tell you about it. You arrived at the hotel in San Diego’s Mission Valley but never got out of the lobby. A phone call from Portland waiting for you at the reception desk informed you that your friend Steven, had fallen in a parking lot and hit his head. He was in the hospital in grave condition. You picked up your suitcase, returned to the airport, and flew back to Portland within a few hours of arriving. I’m sorry you missed the fruits of our labors because it was one heck of a good conference.

    A conference memory that I think of often was when just the two of us had dinner after a long day of sessions and such. It was shortly after my husband died and you were so understanding to let me talk about him. That was the kind of friend you were.

    I cannot speak for all the people whose lives you touched because there were so many—a lot of them posted loving, grateful messages on social media when they heard the sad news. I am confident that they would join me in thanking you for your thoughtful consideration and being a sounding board for them as you were for me. I know that you didn’t always act on my ideas or suggestions, but you listened.

    Saying final goodbyes to friends is always hard. It leaves a hole in one’s life knowing that they are gone. Janet, you live on in our memories with your big, floppy hats, your warm smile, your amazing wisdom and intelligence. You are missed.

    Sandra Fowler, Editor

    The Interculturalist: A Periodical of SIETAR USA


  • 13 Feb 2022 9:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    To All SIETAR USA Members and Friends of SIETAR USA:

    SIETAR USA joins colleagues around the globe who are mourning the loss of a giant in the intercultural and DEI world. Janet Bennett passed away so very recently, leaving us with her rich legacy of accomplishments that helped build the intercultural communication field. We have lost a teacher, a mentor, a friend. To honor Janet, we invite you to send us a reminiscence of Janet, a story or memory, a picture that we will use in a special issue of The Interculturalist: A Periodical of SIETAR USA. We would like to receive all submissions no later than February 20th so that we can distribute the special issue the first week in March. Send your contribution to the special issue to Sandy Fowler at sandymfowler@outlook.com or Editor@sietarusa.org.

  • 13 Feb 2022 9:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What’s New? What stays the same for Omaha in 2022?

    The conference theme remains MIND, CULTURE, SOCIETY with the three conference tracks aligning with those three arenas.

    We are also happy to say that the bulk of the conference in Omaha, Nov 3-6, 2022, will be the same as what was planned for 2021. The team in 2021 did an impressive job of lining up a stimulating list of conference sessions and activities, most of which will stay in place.

    The conference schedule will be:

    • Nov 3: Master Workshops & Opening Ceremony in evening
    • Nov 4: Keynote Plenary and conference sessions
    • Nov 5: Conference sessions and Gala Dinner
    • Nov 6: Conference sessions and closing

    More details regarding special activities during the conference will be announced at a later date.

    Presentations: Presenters who had sessions accepted for 2021 will receive a notice to renew their commitment to attend and present. Those who wish to renew their presentation as is or with MINOR revisions can just renew. Those who wish to submit an entirely new proposal or make significant changes can submit a new proposal through the CFP process. The CFP Guidelines and link for submissions will be posted on the SIETAR Conference website soon.

    What’s new?

    First, we are excited to announce that two new conference committee members will be joining us. Dr. Ferial Pearson from the University of Nebraska, Omaha will be joining Thorunn Bjarnadottir as Conference Co-Chair. Also joining the team in a new capacity is Melissa Graetz who will be Co-Chairing the Program Committee with Ricardo Nunez. Look for more details on the conference team in the March newsletter when we will share BIOS for our new team members.

    With respect to the Program of the conference, we have made two changes.

    • We have added a Poster Session to the presentation options. Please share this information with those in your networks, and especially with students in the IC & DEI fields.

    • We are allowing more leeway for a limited number of virtual presentations. While the conference attendance will remain in-person, and we strongly encourage in-person presentations, we also want to support those who are unable to attend in-person and have valuable contributions to the conference theme. Those presenting virtually should plan to partner with a colleague who can facilitate the session in person. Three conference session formats will allow for virtual presentations: Research, Presentation, and NED Talks (which should be pre-recorded if virtual).

    We are greatly looking forward to the opportunity to gather in-person this year in Omaha and once again renew friendships, make new friends, and learn from and support each other in our vital work. Due to the ever-changing circumstances regarding Covid-19 and potential travel restriction renewals - we will stay vigilant regarding any changes to the CDC advisories and keep the well-being of our members and conference attendees at the center of our decision making.

    Volunteers: If you are interested in taking part in conference planning, please contact the conference chairs at conferencechairs@sietarusa.org.

    Specifically, we are looking for a SEA* Coordinator to assist Caliopy Glaros, our Director of Partnerships and Sponsorships in support of the conference. This will be an excellent opportunity for someone to learn and hone expertise in how to organize and execute a sponsorship effort. Duties will include prospecting research, management of request communications, and updating of sponsor data. This person will report directly to Director Caliopy Glaros who will design and manage all sponsorships. The position will require approximately 6 hours per month of volunteer time.
    *Sponsor, Exhibitor, Advertiser

    SEA Coordinator: Work closely with Sponsorship Director to ensure there are sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers that help keep the cost of the conference as affordable as possible

    Time Commitment: 4-6 hours/month

    Responsibilities and approximate timeline of responsibilities:

    1. Feb – Mar: Conduct sponsor prospect research with the guidance of Sponsorship Director to identify potential Sponsors, Exhibitors, and Advertisers.

    2. Mar-June: Coordinate with Sponsorship Director in direct outreach to leads for sponsorship

    3. April – Sep: Preparation of acknowledgement of sponsors, allocation of exhibitor booths and advertisement materials.

    4. August/September - October: Ensure that all information regarding sponsorships, exhibitors, advertisers is correct and processed (by SUSA Admin).

    5. November: Assist in welcoming the exhibitors and sponsors to the conference and ensuring they have all they need.

    Karen J Lokkesmoe, Ph.D.

    Director, Conference Oversight

  • 13 Feb 2022 9:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By John Knight

    One of the greatest challenges I’ve had in teaching Seminar at St. Mary’ College of California has been to stimulate all my students, including the most reluctant, to contribute their ideas to our discussions for a true experience of shared inquiry. Twenty-nine years ago, one student in my American Culture and Civilization class for international students provided a spark which helped me address this challenge. She announced that she would not be participating verbally in class as it was the Day of Silence. Later, I learned that this day had been set aside by students at the University of Virginia in 1996 to show support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. These students felt that by being silent participants they draw attention to those who have been silenced by hatred, oppression, and prejudice. The challenge they experienced in that class reminded them of the voices that were and still are not heard.

    This led me to wonder if my students might be emboldened by experiencing an entire class without speaking. So, the next year I experimented in my English as a Second Language (ESL) composition class. To my delight the attempt was successful, and a seed was sown. Shifting a teaching method had the effect of stimulating thought and lively discussion by even the most reticent of speakers. A repeated experience in another class enjoyed similar results. Thus began my practice of conducting class in complete silence for one day a semester.

    I initiate our "Day of Silence" class by distributing handouts introducing the National Day of Silence and instructions on how to proceed using the whiteboard, flip chart paper, binder paper and tape. In small groups students devise a question from the ones they have previously prepared and write it on the board or flip chart paper. Our mute discussion then begins.

    To demonstrate what happens, let me summarize a recent discussion we had on Don Quixote. At first the students were unsure about what to do. With some written and nonverbal prompts from me, they began to huddle in groups, searched their texts for ideas and pulled one another to the flip charts. Slowly the following questions emerged: "Do you believe Don Quixote has too much knowledge from books and not enough from his own experience with reality?” “Can this be why he is insane?” “Is it better to be knowledgeable or wise?” And from my quietest student – “How do we judge that wisdom?"

    Now the real action began. They penned answers and ideas under the various questions. Some wrote their thoughts on separate pieces of paper and taped them near the appropriate chart. One student pulled her classmate to a chart and pointed to a comment she had written. As I perused their ideas, I noticed two main topics had developed: First, does the knowledge we assimilate from core texts truly prepare us for life? Or do we need actual experience to develop the wisdom required to survive? Second, what are the consequences of Don Quixote's and our own actions.

    After 60 minutes we summarized our efforts. We agreed that it is important to look at all points of view to make an intelligent decision. Many of the comments began with a version of “I didn’t see that point. Do you think it fits with xxx?” Every student had posted numerous ideas and questions. So, we could actually see that our actions, even in discussion, have consequences.

    In our review of the class, many remarked that having the questions and responses up for view all period gave them time to think and respond. This resulted in a stronger give and take between them. One student even wrote, "I didn't feel stupid." And they were happy to have had the opportunity to address all the questions. But there were pitfalls as well. "I hate being silent" was one. And sometimes it didn't feel like a group effort but more of a person to person or even a solo discussion. Nevertheless, the most telling comments came in response to how the positives of a silent discussion could be transmitted to our regular conversations. They included having more time initially to convert ideas to questions. Students mentioned that since we had such a lively discussion with everyone participating, the usually quiet students had more courage to speak up, and they discovered they were a definite asset to our dialogue.

    The most powerful thought came from a student who felt the ideas of discussing in silence could be related to real life as well our reading. She wrote, "I enjoyed the silent discussion. In relation to Don Quixote and today's world, it made me realize that we really have to stop, listen, think, and respond to what other people are saying. Nowadays, people think and act upon impulse because of the outcomes they want for themselves, like Don Quixote. In silent discussion, we . . . were able to read, think and respond within reason. This kind of discussion forces us to actually listen to what others have to say, and everyone had the chance to answer and have their voices be heard. This does not always happen in our regular class." What a lesson for all of us, especially in an ongoing pandemic world!

    So, I invite you to be a little crazy. Introduce your students to a novel approach to any class discussion. Have fun in reasoning together about questions and problems.

  • 13 Feb 2022 9:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    • Into Africa: Intercultural Insights, Yale Richmond and Phyllis Gestrin
    • Understanding Arabs, Margaret Nydell
    • A Fair Go for All: Australian/American Interactions, George Renwick
    • Old World New World: Britain, France, Germany and the U. S., Craig Storti
    • Encountering the Chinese, Hu Wenzhong and Cornelius Grove,
    • From Da to Yes: Understanding the East Europeans, Yale Richmond
    • Considering Filipinos, Theodore Gochenour
    • Au Contraire: Figuring Out the French, Gilles Asselin and Ruth Mastron
    • Germany, Unraveling an Enigma, Greg Nees
    • Exploring the Greek Mosaic, Benjamin Broome
    • Speaking of India: Bridging the Communication Gap When Working with Indians, Craig Storti
    • Border Crossings: American Interactions with Israelis, Lucy Shahar and David Kurz
    • With Respect to the Japanese, John Condon
    • Learning to Think Korean, Robert Kohls
    • Latino Culture, Nilda Chong and Francia Baez
    • Good Neighbors: Communicating with the Mexicans, John Condon
    • Mexicans and Americans: Cracking the Cultural Code, Ned Crouch
    • From Nyet to Da: Understanding the Russians, Yale Richmond
    • Understanding Spanish-Speaking South Americans, Skye Stephenson
    • Spain Is Different, Helen Wattley-Ames
    • Modern-Day Vikings: A Practical Guide to Interacting with the Swedes, Rabinowitz and Carr
    • A Common Core: Thais and Americans, John Paul Fieg
    • Vietnam Today, Mark A. Ashwill
    And a few excerpts:
    • Israelis are uncomfortable with formality, ceremony, and protocol. This is frequently true of Americans as well, but the threshold of Israeli discomfort is lower. As a result, [Israelis] tend to rush through the ice-breaking or relationship-building stage of the negotiation process at a faster pace than Americans are accustomed to.
    • Just as the assertive character of American individualism springs naturally from the egalitarian social order, so also does what might be called “nonassertive “individualism grow out of the Thai hierarchical social pattern. Implicit in such a system is the notion of inequality; thus, a person always knows, so to speak, where he or she stands.
    • As Americans maintain their privacy by protecting their space (big cars, privacy fences, gated communities), Swedes maintain their privacy by remaining quiet. Swedes are generally slow to divulge personal information, particularly when it comes to sharing problems.
    • The Korean group orientation creates a strong ethos of cooperation with the people who are part of one’s ingroup and a climate of fierce competition with those who are not—another company in the same industry, for example…. Americans are more inclined to compete with everyone, including those they are close to. They encourage it in the home and in schools in ways that shock foreign visitors.
    • Spanish-speaking South Americans (SSNA) and English-speaking North Americans (ESNA) haver diametrically opposite ways of viewing time as it relates to status. Whereas in ESNA “Time is money”, and an important person is one who is very busy, in SSNA the opposite holds true. High-ranking people are often those who act as if they have significant time at their disposal to entertain those they deem worthy and potentially useful. They can function in such a way precisely because they have subordinates working for them to carry out the mundane tasks. In fact, it is a sign of high rank not to be rushed.

    Faithful readers of BookMarks will doubtless have noticed that we are a bit retro around here, stuck in the last century, as it were, having reviewed more books by dead authors than by live ones, more by 20th century writers than 21st century. We do try to keep tabs on recent books, but we also see it as one of our duties to make sure folks know about some of the intercultural classics, books that older interculturalists may have forgotten about or that younger ones may never have heard of.

    This month’s column is very much in that spirit; as you can see from the title, it is not actually a review of a particular book but of a concept, of a series of books started many years ago by David Hoopes, the late founder of what was then known as Intercultural Press (and which subsequently became Nicholas Brealey International (NB). David Hoopes idea was to bring out a series of books which selected a particular country and then compared that country’s culture to American culture on a number of dimensions, such as communication style, identity/self-concept, attitude toward hierarchy, and various other intercultural topics. It should be remembered, by younger readers anyway, that this was during the 1980s and 1990s when the intercultural field was starting to grow, enough anyway, that David gambled there might be a market for books such as these (the business plan, if you will, for Intercultural Press).

    Our purpose in this column is two-fold: to simply list the books in the series (NB assures me that most are still available, either in book form or pdf versions) and to quote a few passages to give you an idea of the kind of observations you will find in these books. Somewhere along the way, the idea of a ‘series’ as such was dropped and the press just continued to publish books that were wholly in the spirt of the series, contrasting US culture with another culture.

    I’m deliberately putting the list of titles first here because my real goal in this column is to draw readers’ attention to these books, some of them, I suspect, long forgotten or never even known of. So here goes, in alphabetical order by country:

    These books are treasures. If you are an intercultural practitioner, you will enjoy them—and you will, moreover, be doing your clients (hence yourself) a big favor by drawing their attention to these titles.

  • 13 Feb 2022 9:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following article was published in the 1989 June/July Issue of SIETAR International’s Communique. It made me think of Janet Bennett, a pioneer and early settler in the intercultural field. My interest in Mitch Hammer’s perspective was piqued and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. Used with permission from the author. (Sandra Fowler, Editor)

    Mitchell Hammer, Ph.D. Cultivating Our Field
    By Mitchell Hammer, Ph.D.

    Those of us who identify ourselves as “interculturalists” of one sort or another have led a rather nomadic lifestyle. We may well have travelled to the far corners of the world, visiting different cultures for varying lengths of time. We oftentimes claim that our intercultural experiences have had a profound effect in terms of how we live our own lives; we have sampled the intercultural salad and found much to our liking. In a similar fashion, borrowing an image from Schramm (1933), our field of “intercultural “education, training and research has had a nomadic history as well. Following World War II, researchers from such disciplines as anthropology, psychology, communication, sociology and international relations as well as practitioners from counseling, education and human resource development left the safety of their more established “areas of expertise” and travelled to a part of the human landscape that was then relatively uncharted: the intersection of “culture” and human interaction.” These early nomads, following the lead of such “intercultural observers” as Edward Hall (1959), began to ask questions concerning the relationship of culture (i.e., the values, beliefs, norms, and patterns of thought) to human behavior; particularly to human interaction that takes place between people from different societies and social groups.

    What was once unfamiliar territory began to develop the rudimentary structure of a “field of inquiry and practice.” We began to attract greater interest, primarily from academic- and practitioner-tourists who stopped by for brief visits and applied their disciplinary tools to our emerging field of study. Yet those individuals who “settled” in our town shared a vision which they cultivated as our field grew. This vision consisted of three fundamental notions. First, our field is interdisciplinary and multicultural in focus, method and content. That is, if we are to understand the territory of culture and human interaction, we need to employ interdisciplinary and multicultural maps.

    Second, our field is bult on practical need. David Hoopes (1979) identified three such needs: (1) to train people to function more effectively in a foreign environment, (2) to help international students adapt to living in a foreign culture, and (3) to effectively manage “the explosive dimensions of interracial and inter-ethnic relations in the United States as the civil rights movement gained momentum in the early 1960’s” (p. 10). Recently, Alfred Smith (1982) added such practical global needs as integrating intercultural insights into the work of larger international political and economic institutions skills in negotiation, finance, law and transborder information flow analyses. As Smith (1982) suggests, those of us who have settled in their field need to focus attention on “the serious problems of the international scene, problems that are morbid and malign: routine wretchedness and strife, transgression and injustice” (p.262).

    Third, our field fundamentally addresses the concerns of people. As Rohrlich (1987) aptly states: “why do we study intercultural communication? Because like a science it helps us understand the world around us, and like the humanities it helps us understand ourselves. It can help us with business, government, education, and language skills, all fields which ultimately depend upon interpersonal contact” (p. 127-128).

    Today, many of us are the “settlers” in our field. How we choose to cultivate the land will determine the kind of crop we will grow. And as our town grows, and we cultivate with increased sophistication, let us always remember the vision that guides our work in this field. Yet the question arises, how can we be sure we are cultivating the field with care? I would suggest that the final basis for determining whether our contributions are useful is to simply remember that increased understanding depends on increased skill in observation.

    Let observation with extensive view,

    Survey mankind from China to Peru;

    Remark each anxious toil, each eager strife,

    And watch the busy scenes of life.

                                                                   Johnson, Vanity of Human Wishes


    Hall, E. (1959). The silent language. New York: Doubleday.

    Hoopes, D.S. (1979). Intercultural communication concepts and the psychology of intercultural experience. In M.D. Pusch (Ed.). Multicultural Education (pp. 9-38). Chicago, IL: Intercultural Press.

    Schramm, W. (1982). The unique perspective of communication: A retrospective view. Journal of Communication, 33, (3), 6-17.

    Smith, A. (1982). Content decisions in intercultural communication. The Southern Speech Communication Journal, 67, (5), 252-262.

    Rohrlich, P. (1987). Why do we study intercultural communication? International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 11, 123-128.

  • 13 Feb 2022 9:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In 1976, Black History Month was officially recognized by the United States. In a recent Black History web search, I noticed a unique description of Black History Month by The World Economic Forum: "This month-long observance in the US and Canada is a chance to celebrate Black achievement and provide a fresh reminder to take stock of where systemic racism persists and give visibility to the people and organizations creating change." As I was preparing this article, I chose to highlight these three points for this conversation. Last month, I expressed my desire and goal to have deeper conversations at SIETAR USA around diversity, equity, and inclusion. DEI and black history are intricately linked. Black achievement is the first item mentioned by the World Economic Forum that offers several opportunities to celebrate black achievements that are not as prominent as others. A view of black achievement in my career field, aviation, may look different than other fields. You may have seen or heard someone mention that representation matters. As I consider black achievements, I link them to representation and how representation matters. But what do these two words mean to an interculturalist of color? Representation matters has an underlying meaning that resonates with giving voice in situations where previously there was silence or apathy.   

    Aviation, my career field, has a documented lack of diversity in its workforce in critical areas. Representation matters as a component of black achievement mean that even when I am not in the room, there is someone who can give a voice where there was otherwise silence. Someone who has shared experiences and/or deep knowledge of these experiences. Yes, representation is a heavy load, but at this moment, it's required. I recently participated in a three-day steering committee workshop on federal government diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). Representation matters. There were several opportunities to share with the panel about inequities that were experienced, some of them personal--all needed to be heard. I expressed our organizations' excellent track record in recruiting minorities for opportunities in critical careers but how we have failed to intentionally ensure that hiring managers are knowledgeable about our DEIA goals and are held accountable for their implementation. 

    Representation matters. The crux of black achievement for the steering group was the first time this entity had reserved space for this conversation. Our organizations' deputy administrator is a person of color. Representation matters. In over thirty years with the federal government, I often overlook or, better yet ignore public personnel announcements in my organizations because these positions are generally not diversely represented. But, last year, the deputy administrator, a person of color, was announced, and my phone didn't stop ringing because representation matters. It's hard to explain or express how profound it is to believe that there is someone in the room when you aren't there.  This person should represent your concerns. Black achievement comes in so many forms and has so many tentacles. It's not always the out-front ones who are working to dismantle systemic racism. There are others as well. I see black achievement in so many spaces. I don't want to celebrate black achievement in and of itself but black achievement as a tool to dismantle systemic racism. This leads me to the second part of the definition. Where does systemic racism exist?  

    Undoubtedly, this article will not do justice in identifying all spaces where systemic racism exists. Still, I think this article can elaborate on ways we, as interculturalists, can all contribute to the dismantling of systemic racism. How can intercultural intentionally seek to dismantle systemic racism in this current moment? We begin with conversations. My first SIETAR USA conference was in Atlanta in 2019. We were given a break-out room, and I was amazed by all the interculturalists of color present. We needed extra chairs, and I clearly remember the speaker standing in a chair for voice amplification. I also recall that there wasn't enough time to finish the conversation. There was a buzz in the room, a feeling of hope and unspoken possibilities for change.

    Interculturalists of color are in the field, and—as I previously stated—representation matters. I recently read How DEI Firms Replicate, an article by Janice Gassam Asare, PhD, in which she wrote that DEI firms repeat the same biases they seek to dismantle (January 2022). As interculturalists, we are seeking to engage a broader audience on the exchange of information, knowledge, and expertise in the intercultural field. But my initial assumption from being in the room with interculturalists of color is that some barriers exist to hinder their desire to enter the field. It was if they were missing the link to the inside or the way to find an opening for opportunities for people of color to thrive in the intercultural field. Maybe we need to start a conversation centered around these challenges and use the current years of experience to ensure that doors open for practitioners of color.

    It's not always these huge gestures of change that break down systemic racism but tiny chips in the processes that can truly make a difference. Intentionally sharing access to information is an excellent way to start the conversation. Mentoring is a huge and effective manner to chip away at systemic racism. I believe you need more than one mentor, and mentoring depends heavily on purpose. As we seek to mentor and intentionally focus on increasing the number of people of color in the intercultural field, we need to have real conversations about the potential barriers and the lessons learned. Practitioners of color can't let this conversation become one-sided. We must be open enough to share our challenges and express where we need assistance.

    Finally, during this month of Black History recognition, I want to credit people and organizations for creating change. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are at the top of my list for creating change.  

    There are 106 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States, and they are all committed to the dismantling of systemic racism. These 106 HBCU's account for only 3 percent of all colleges and universities. Yet, this 3 percent account for "twenty-five percent of African American graduates in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” Approximately eighty percent of students attending HBCU's are African Americans (www.uncf.org). HBCU's are credited with educating the following celebrities: Spike Lee, Taraji, P. Henson, Oprah Winfrey, Vice President Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Michael Strahan, Toni Morrison, Sean "Diddy Combs, Samuel L. Jackson, Langston Hughes, Thurgood Marshal, W. E. B Du Bois, Tiffany Cross, and Joycelyn Elders (former Surgeon General)—all just a few of the more famous people who attended an HBCU. HBCU's as an organizational unit have contributed substantially to creating change.

    As we move to acknowledge black history this month, let us intentionally create spaces to use our chisel to chip away at systemic racism. Until next time let’s be committed to intentionality.

    Willette Neal

    Director of Membership Outreach and Diversity

  • 13 Feb 2022 9:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As the Professional Development Director, my role is to work with SIETAR members to recruit engaging presenters for our monthly webinar series and Saturday seminars.  We have some exciting webinars and Saturday seminars planned for the year, but we are still looking for more speakers and ideas for topics.  That means we need your help by participating on SIETAR committees and reaching out to speakers that you believe would enhance our work in the intercultural and DEI fields.  This is your organization and we value your input, so please think of presenters you would like to hear speak at our webinars or at Saturday Seminars.

    I would also like to acknowledge the passing of Janet Bennett, a legend in the intercultural field and a loss to us all.  Janet was a trailblazer in the field and as one of the founders of the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) she mentored many over the years. I’ll be forever grateful to her for selecting me as a fellow at SIIC in 2018.  While I had attended SIIC several times before, being a fellow was truly a special experience that gave me an opportunity to meet some incredible faculty and other fellows from around the world.  I will cherish those experiences forever.

    It brings home how important mentoring someone is and how much it can influence someone personally and professionally.  We are still working on recruiting mentors so please consider volunteering your time to enhance someone’s life!  I know we are all busy, but it doesn’t take much time.  You can work with your mentee to adapt the time to fit your schedule.  Please email me at cherylwoehr@gmail.com today to volunteer to be a mentor!     

    We hope to see you at the monthly webinars & Saturday Seminars!

    Cheryl Woehr, M.A.

    SIETAR USA, Professional Development Director

  • 13 Feb 2022 9:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Kathy EllisBy Kathy Ellis

    Joy Harjo Defines Renaissance: Redefining the Boundaries of Culture

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

    Joy Harjo

    Joy Harjo is a force. She is the first Native American poet laurate, and a performer who weaves her music, singing, stories, and poetry while collaborating with other musicians.

    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.

    Other resources:

    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
    Welcome to a powerful performance

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

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