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  • 25 Nov 2019 3:31 PM | Anonymous

    For the past 3 years, the Practitioners of Color Forum has met at the conference as a regular session. SIETAR USA is committed to supporting our members who are Practitioners of Color. We are all in this society together but it is recognized that Practitioners of Color have special experiences and circumstances that they want to discuss. The lunch meeting on October 31, the first day of the conference in Atlanta was, as it turned out, not the best time for such a meeting. However, based on what we have learned from the 2019 meeting, the time and place for a POC meeting at the conference in 2020, will be different.

    As President on behalf of the SIETAR USA Board of Directors I’d like to offer an apology to the Practitioners of Color for the unpleasant ending to their meeting since our intent, while being respectful, didn’t match the impact. Despite the best of intentions we all stumble occasionally, but even though we slip up, we are committed to learning from our mistakes.

    The Board is reviewing the issues raised by the incident, the requests and concerns identified by the Practitioners of Color, and will report specific actions we can take for our future.

    We are all on this path together and with the help and understanding of all of us in SIETAR USA, we can move forward to creating an association that truly feels like “home” to everyone.

    Sandra M. Fowler, President

  • 25 Nov 2019 3:28 PM | Anonymous

    The closing event at the SIETAR USA conference was an activity that helped people distill what the conference meant to them. We also used it as a vehicle for giving away a free Master Workshop for the 2020 conference in Omaha. Our group of 3 judges had a hard time deciding who the winner was because so many of the bumper stickers were so good. I usually find myself referring to it as the Bumper Sticker Exercise but if you say that to participants, they know what is coming. So, I’ve changed it as you can see. Our winner was Russanne Bucci with “Change Behavior, Change Minds.” Some others: “World That Works=Everyone.” “Keep Opening Your Mind.” “Through Inquiry Comes Direction.” “Interculturalist On Board.” And one that I like that was repeated, “I Will Be Back.”

    This is an exercise that I have found useful in many settings and I thought you might want to have it for your own use. Put your content into the frame and it should work well. It focuses people on what is important. It goes quickly and provides some good discussion as a result. I introduced it as the way to determine what you will say on the elevator when someone asks: “So how was the conference?”

    Thiagi’s Reduction Exercise

    Assign teams. Divide the participants into 3 to 5 teams, each with 2 to 7 members.

    Get started. Ask an open-ended question (such as: What is the mission of our organization? How should we delight our customers?) Ask each team to come up with a response in exactly 16 words – no more, no less. Assign a 3-minute time limit.

    Review the 16-word responses. Ask each team to read its statements. Encourage everyone to listen carefully so they can “borrow” ideas from other teams’ statements for later use. After reading all responses, ask a panel of judges (which is assembled from the participants) to identify the “best” response.

    Shrink to 8 words. Ask teams to rewrite their responses in exactly 8 words. In this process, they may borrow ideas from other statements. Suggest that teams reduce the size of their responses by removing unimportant ideas, superfluous words, and redundant language. Assign a 3-minute time limit.

    Reduce by 50 percent. Repeat the process of collecting and reading the 8-word responses. Select the best statement as before. Now ask the teams to reduce their statement to one-half of its current size (to exactly 4 words) while retaining the essential concepts. Encourage teams to leave out secondary ideas instead of words. Assign a 2-minute time limit.


    1. Organize teams. Invite the participants to work with any number of friends, from 0 to 20.

    2. Assemble a panel of judges. Gather 3 to 7 judges from SIETAR VIPs or representative participants. (Have them develop their criteria for judging the winner.)

    3. Ask one of these questions: What was the most important event in the conference? How might your professional life change as a result of attending this conference? How was the conference? What did you learn?

    4. 16-word response. Ask the teams to come up with a response in exactly 16 words. Announce a suitable time limit.

    5. Judge the 16-word responses. Ask representative from different teams to read their responses. Ask the panel of judges to identify the best response, using what criteria they want.

    6. Conduct two more rounds in teams. One for 8 words and the other for 4 words. Repeat the judging procedure as before.

    7. Each individual: Prepare a bumper sticker. Ask each person to prepare a bumper sticker with the best 4-word response and display it on the wall.

    Sandra Fowler
    Guest Training Tip Author

  • 25 Nov 2019 3:23 PM | Anonymous

    Have you considered marketing to your existing clients differently than to prospective clients who’ve never heard from you? If your interested in long term business instead of several one-time engagements, think about creating a different type of marketing. Studies show it costs approximately five times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a current one.

    Create a list of your current clients rather than new prospects who don’t know you or your business. Next design a campaign or marketing activity to increase client retention, loyalty, growth, and community participation. The more you understand your client base, the more likely you are to form meaningful, long term relationships with them. With their positive word of mouth, you will gain more referrals. Sharing your successes of satisfied clients is one of the marketing strategies. Brand advocates are much more likely to share a great experience with their colleagues.

    In my practice, the Global Coach Center, our existing clients are intercultural coaches who have been certified to debrief the online self-assessment tool called the ICBI (Individual Cultural Blueprint Indicator). We give priority to our GCC coach community when we need a trainer or coach. Creating a sense of community is important and fun, so we have an online Facebook and Linked in group where we share experiences and opportunities with each other. We stay in touch with our group of GCC coaches with updates of tool improvements, announcements of new certified GCC coaches, and ICBI country additions. We’ve organized virtual meetings to share best practices especially when several coaches/trainers are working with the same client.

    In order for our GCC coaches to gain more of their own clients, we help them and provide marketing consulting tailored to their unique skills and services. We also encourage our certified colleagues to post the GCC certification logo on their social media posts and in the Linked In section of certifications and affiliations. This has led to mutual success in our efforts to provide intercultural awareness and build cultural competencies.

    Valerie Bath
    President, Global Coach Center

  • 25 Nov 2019 2:58 PM | Anonymous

    The November webinar with Rita Wuebbler presenting on Personal Leadership offered a way of thinking about leadership that starts with the self. Rita started the webinar in a somewhat unusual way. She started with silence. In Personal Leadership, silence is valued for the time it gives us to collect ourselves in a stressful situation, to listen carefully, and to remain centered within the principles and practices of Personal Leadership. The webinar recording is available on the website, free for members and at a reasonable cost ($25) for non-members.

    The December webinar promises to be special with Miguel Gandert’s amazing photographs of the holiday celebrations in the U.S. Southwest where several cultures have come together to create special ways of celebrating the holidays. He will describe for us the complex narrative and symbols of Hispano and Native-American communities in the Rio Grande valley in New Mexico. Using photography he will show the performance and symbols in each community as they use the rituals to create a fidelity to culture and community. In addition he will examine New Mexico’s tri-cultural myth (Anglo, Hispano, and Native-American), which is currently under reexamination since the New Mexico House and Senate passed a memorial bill in 2010 recognizing  Genizarios  as an historical cultural classification. Miguel is an Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Journalism from the University of New Mexico.

  • 25 Nov 2019 2:56 PM | Anonymous

    Several of the SIETAR Local Group leaders gathered together during the SIETAR USA conference in Atlanta to explore ways to foster a virtual community among the local groups, tap into local resources, generate new ideas for events (including virtual events) and support new groups just starting, and to get to know each other better. As leaders sipped wine and engaged in stimulating dialogue, they shared what the SIETAR community means to them. Comments such as “it feels like coming home” and “a sense of belonging” were echoed by several members who stated the camaraderie with like-minded people and professional development opportunities were what originally drew them to SIETAR.

    Currently, SIETAR has local groups in Washington DC, Minnesota, Florida and the recently formed Tri-State (NY, NJ, and CT) with interest in reviving a group in North Carolina soon. Interested in starting a local group in your area? Please contact Julia Gaspar-Bates at localgroups@sietarusa.org for details.

  • 25 Nov 2019 2:48 PM | Anonymous

    Be a part of the very first dozen!

    Learning together and putting our skills and ideas into practice right away – what can be a better way for being part of a vibrant professional organization? Belonging is about active engagement and that is the core idea behind the SIETAR USA new offering: SIETAR USA Leadership Academy.

    At the end of this short article you will be invited to email academy@sietarusa.org if you are interested in being a part of this new adventure. Not everybody likes to wait – email now and keep reading!

    SIETAR USA ACADEMY: Certification Program in Intercultural Organizational Leadership is proposed as a valuable professional and personal development opportunity for members who are:

    • Interested in deepening their learning about ins and out of intercultural leadership;
    • Are willing to invest their time, effort, and resources in this process;
    • Ready to engage in a 10-month long cohort-based program that will combine:
      • Education and mentoring provided by experienced interculturalists/veterans of SIETAR USA
      • Experiential project-based learning
      • Engagement in the SIETAR USA volunteer activities
      • Ongoing reflection to solidify and deepen their learning

    Upon completion of the program and submitting their final summary of experience/reflection papers participants will receive a SIETAR USA Certificate of Intercultural Leadership Practitioners.

    Are you asking yourself the most important question of ant adult learner – what’s in it for me?

    Here is how we see the desirable outcomes for the SIETAR members who will engage in the program:

    • Practical Leadership Skills

    Academy will offer a combination of theoretical and experiential learning with main focus on applicable skills and best practices of intercultural leadership.

    • Resources

    Connecting to a high-quality professional network. On-going relationships with experienced, successful people in the intercultural and DEI fields. SIETAR USA is a talent-rich organization with a time-honored tradition of collegial sharing and generosity. We will engage culturally and professionally diverse faculty from among the most experienced Sietarians as faculty, coaches, and mentors to participate in the process.

    • Internal Work

    Leadership is an “internal job”. Participants will engage in learning from their own life stories and learning how to use them to lead others. Special attention will be given to the importance of leading oneself while leading others (a Personal Leadership approach)

    • Making a Difference

    Contributing to the progress of an organization. Having a positive effect on an organization’s tone, culture.

    What is the next important question for any adult learner?

    You got it – how much? How much of my time and how much of my money will be required?

    Time – a few hours a month – will be shared between three major activities:

    1. Participants will have 10 virtual two-hour sessions, half of which will be education/mentoring by five different SIETAR experts and the other half will be for the cohort members to engage as a team and focus on their own needs, issues, experiences of practicing intercultural leadership in the world.
    2. Project-focused service learning: cohort participants will be working in small virtual teams on various projects relevant for SIETAR. For example, fundraising or outreach. Teams will engage in competition to make the process more fun and engaging.
    3. Ongoing reflection (journaling and such) will be an expected part of the process.

    We anticipate a great degree of information and resource sharing by faculty and participants, which means that some time every month will be needed for reading, listening to podcasts, and watching videos. Each participant will decide for themselves how to structure their learning process and time.


    This 10-month certification program will cost participants $ 1250. We know that different people have different budget constrains and we don’t want anybody to be prevented from joining simply because of money. How to be a leader in addressing financial realities is one of the important learnings for participants of the SIETAR USA Academy. Let’s talk about it!

    If you have not emailed us yet, now is definitely the time to do it: academy@sietarusa.org. Maximum size of the first cohort is capped at 12 participants!

    Tatyana Fertelmeyster,
    Lead Faculty for SIETAR USA Academy
    Past President of SIETAR USA

  • 25 Nov 2019 2:31 PM | Anonymous

    December 4, 2019 - SIETAR Europa WEBINAR: “Challenge Our Perception: Tools to Overcome Cultural Stereotypes” with Kirsten Waechter. Visit https://www.sietareu.org/activities/webinars to register!

    December 5, 2019SIETAR USA WEBINAR: Nuevo Mexico’s Mid-Winter Celebrations: A Look at the Intercultural Symbols and Reexamination of the Tri-Cultural Myth.

    Free to members; $25 fee for non-members. Sign up today: December 2019 webinar


    November is National Native American Heritage Month, which celebrates the history and contributions of Native Americans.

    November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance, established in 1998 to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia and to raise awareness of the continued violence endured by the transgender community.

    November 24: Feast of Christ the King, a Catholic holiday established in thanking God for the gift of time and a rededication to the Christian faith.

    November 28: Thanksgiving in the United States the United States. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

    November 30-December 3: St. Andrew’s Day, the feast day for St. Andrew within various Christian denominations.


    December 1: World AIDS Day, commemorating those who have died of AIDS, and to acknowledge the need for a continued commitment to all those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    December 1-24: Advent, a Christian season of celebration leading up to the birth of Christ.

    December 3: International Day of Disabled Persons, designed to raise awareness in regards to persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity.

    December 10: International Human Rights Day, established by the United Nations in 1948 to commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    December 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a religious holiday in Mexico commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531.

    December 13: St. Lucia’s Day, a religious festival of light in Scandinavia and Italy commemorating the martyrdom of St. Lucia, a young Christian girl who was killed for her faith in 304 C.E. She secretly brought food to persecuted Christians in Rome while wearing a wreath of candles on her head so both her hands would be free.

    Holidays list courtesy of: https://www.diversitybestpractices.com/2019-diversity-holidays

  • 12 Oct 2019 6:40 AM | Anonymous

    Sandy FowlerThe conference gestation period is almost at an end—just a few weeks until the baby will be born. It always takes on a life of its own once it starts—much like a real baby coming into the world. I know it is drawing close because after daily work on the zillion conference decisions and arrangements since January, it’s now entering my dreams. Some of the dreams have a germ of sense or relate to what I was working on that day, but some are a bit bizarre. That’s the nature of dreams but not the nature of the conference. It will be an exciting learning event and not to be missed.

    At some point in their career, every interculturalist is asked, “Why is intercultural competence important? What difference does it make?” These questions challenge the foundations of the intercultural field. What is your answer? These questions and more are food for discussion with your colleagues at the 18th national conference in Atlanta.

    Why now? International relations as well as domestic diversity and inclusion are unsettled and not getting any better. Communication plays a significant role in people’s perceptions of the state of the world. Instant global communication relays events that happen across borders around the world as they happen. Violence in one city or town becomes the news of the day. Intercultural competence is needed now as never before.

    Join us for a conference designed to stimulate your thinking, foster insights and understanding, expand your skills and renew your commitment—we will work together to explore important questions and seek answers.

    Sandra M. Fowler
    SIETAR USA President

  • 12 Oct 2019 6:33 AM | Anonymous

    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.

    SIETAR USA annually opens a call for nominations to the board of directors.We invite you to become involved by nominating yourself or another candidate. You can anyone you nominate must be:

    1. Member in good standing with SIETAR USA (or willing to become a member)
    2. Member who has attended SIETAR USA conferences in the past five (5) years
    The Nominations Committee identifies candidates through a nomination process for each position based on the required skill and knowledge sets needed for each position. Members may add names to the list of candidates by sending a petition to the Chair of the Nominations Committee.

    To that end, we are issuing the 2019 Call for Nominations for the Board of Directors of SIETAR USA. We invite you to become involved by nominating yourself or another candidate. Click here to download the 2019 call for nominations (PDF). 

    Petitions are due to the Chair of the Nominations Committee by November 5, 2019

    List of Positions Open for Nomination

    There are eight Officer and Directors positions open for nomination in 2019:

    • President Elect (Officer)
    • Secretary (Officer)
    • Treasurer (Officer)
    • Communications (Director)
    • Local Groups (Director)
    • Membership, Outreach and Diversity (Director)
    • Professional Development (Director)
    • Sponsorship Partnership Development (Director)


    The Nominations Committee identifies candidates through a nomination process for each position based on the required skill and knowledge sets needed for each position. Members may add names to the list of candidates by sending a petition to the Chair of the Nominations Committee by November 5, 2019. The petition must be signed by at least five current SIETAR USA members who support the addition of this candidate; signature by email is accepted. This slate is then announced to the members of SIETAR USA. If there is more than one candidate for a position, an election will be held.

    New Board members will serve their terms starting January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2022 unless noted otherwise. They will serve a three-year term (unless noted otherwise) and carry responsibilities for the portfolio (position responsibilities) for which they were elected. Upon completion of his/her term, every board member can choose to self-nominate for three more years of the same or a different board position and go through the nomination process as any new candidate would during that same nomination cycle. According to the SIETAR USA By-laws, Board membership generally cannot exceed nine (9) consecutive years.

    For more details on the process and a full description of the positions open for nominationplease download and read the 2019 Call For Nominations.  

  • 11 Oct 2019 12:58 PM | Anonymous

    Abroad: British Literary Traveling Between the Wars by Paul Fussell. 1980 Oxford University Press, 246 pages. Reviewed by Craig Storti.

    Many books are more or less one-trick wonders; you read them, enjoy them, set them aside, and pick up something different. When they’re over, they’re over. Other books start something; you enjoy them, but they also introduce you to their friends. So when you finish one, you pick up a related book they put you onto. Abroad is like that; if you start reading Abroad and enjoy it, you’ll almost certainly move on to some of the books and authors it will introduce you to—and be the better for it.

    So who are these folks? The list is impressive, a who’s who of some of the greatest British writers of the 20th century, who just happened to also write travel books: —Anthony Burgess, Cyril Connolly, Robert Graves, Graham Greene, Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, D. H. Lawrence, Somerset Maugham, George Orwell, and Evelyn Waugh. And then there are the great British travel writers: J. R. Ackerley, Robert Byron, Bruce Chatwin, Norman Douglas, Patrick Leigh-Fermor, Peter Fleming, and Freya Stark, among others.

    The book, broadly speaking, is intellectual history, a presentation and examination of ideas about travel and how it has evolved. But don’t let that put you off; Fussell is so wry, trenchant, and amusing that even when he is talking concepts, his tone delights and will keep you reading. And then, suddenly, you find yourself in Sicily, Tahiti, Tibet, Mt. Athos, Liberia, Kabul, or the French Riviera, where you are mightily entertained.

    So what is this book about? That’s hard. Here is what Fussell says it’s about in his preface: “This book is about travel writing, but it is also about travel, so I have dealt not just with books but with ships and trains, passport photographs and national borders and small French seaport towns, hotels and cafes and beach resorts, architecture ancient and modern, food and drink, nude sunbathing, and sex, both procreative and recreational. I have dealt with icy trenches and sunny patios, West African and Brazilian chiggers, touts of all nations, suntan oil, oranges and palm trees…. I have done all these things to imply the context of travel writing from 1919 to 1939, to suggest what it felt like to be young and clever and literate in the final age of travel.”

    The greatest joy of the book, at least for this reader, was the other books it sent me to, most especially Robert Byron’s The Road to Oxiana, an account of a journey Byron and Christopher Sykes took in the 1920s through the Middle East to Oxiana, the country of the Oxus, the river that is the border between Russia and Afghanistan. Byron is Fussell’s personal hero as a travel writer, mainly on the strength of this book but also one other, Mount Athos, which contains a wonderful description of a classic cross-cultural faux pas. Byron is staying at an Orthodox Christian monastery in the Sinai:

    My first shock came when I was requested, politely but firmly, by the guest-master to remove a pair of underpants then fluttering happily from the line. This, he pointed out, was a monastery; shirts, socks, handkerchiefs, even vests, might be dried with propriety within its walls. But underpants were a shameful abomination and could on no account be permitted. Meekly, I obeyed; but worse was to come. I woke the following morning at dawn...and made quietly for the wash-house.  Its principal furnishing was a huge stone trough; and into this I now clambered, covering myself from head to foot in a deep and luxurious lather. At this point the guest-master appeared. Never have I seen anyone so angry. For the second time in twelve hours I had desecrated his monastery. Having already offended God and the Mother of God with the spectacle of my underpants, I was now compounding the sacrilege by standing stark naked under the very roof of the Grand Lavra. I was the whore of Babylon, I was Sodom and Gomorrah, I was a minion of Satan sent to corrupt the Holy Mountain. I was to put on my scabrous clothes at once and return with all speed to the foul pit whence I had come.

    Cross-cultural encounters and the insights they produce are everywhere in these pages. How could they not be? This is a book full of the impressions of some of the most sensitive observers of the 20th century. When these people encounter culture, they feel it—and then they talk about how it affects them.  

    Abroad came out almost 40 years ago, so finding a new copy may be difficult (I just saw 7 on Amazon), but used copies abound, both in hardcover and paperback.

    (Paul Fussell died some years ago so there is no author interview this month.)

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