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  • 12 Jan 2020 3:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The first 4 presidents of SIETAR USA:
    Esther Louie, Peggy, Tatyana Fertelmeyster, Heather Robinson

    SIETAR USA 2003

    Peggy on the Scholarship

    Early days of SIETAR USA:

    Sandy Fowler, Jeremy Solomons, Peggy, Giles Asselin, Donna Goldstein, Rita Wuebbler

    Peggy and Sandy at the
    SIETAR Japan conference (1998)

    Monica Mumford, Peggy, Esther Louie SIETAR USA at a Board Retreat meeting in Portland

    Ann Marie Lei, Glen Sebera, and Peggy at a different Board Retreat

    Another Retreat; everyone listening to Peggy
    Susan Vonsild, ?, Peggy, Deborah Orlowski
    SIETAR Europa in Sofia, Bulgaria (2007)
    Dinner with: Esther Louie, Tatyana Fertemeyster, Lew Pusch,
    Sandy Fowler, Kyoung-Ah Nam, Ray Fowler, Dan Kealey, ?, Susan Vonsild, Candice Hughes, Peggy


     SIETAR International Governing Council (Boston 1989)
    (Peggy in back with Janet)

    The SIETAR International reunion conference in Granada, Spain (OCT 2008)
    (Peggy in front of George Renwick with Irid Agoes and Al Wight in front of her.)


    SIIC 3rd week faculty. Peggy is standing next to Janet Bennett (Summer 2010) 

    ?, Miki Yamashita, Peggy, Kyoung-Ah Nam, Jack Condon, Lew Pusch

    Peggy and Nagesh Rao
    Kent Warren, Sandra Garrison, Peggy

    Peggy and Elsa Wallace at ICI

    A young Peggy

  • 12 Jan 2020 3:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

  • 12 Jan 2020 2:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    January 14, 2020 – SIETAR USA WEBINARStyle Switching for Success with Multicultural Groups with Julia Gaspar-Bates.  
    Free to members; $25 fee for non-members. Sign up today: January 2020 webinar

    January 22, 2020 - SIETAR Europa WEBINAR“Level Up! Digital Games as an Effective Medium of Intercultural Skills Acquisition” with Dr. Elena Shliakhovchuk. Visit https://www.sietareu.org/activities/webinars to register!


    January 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and an activist for nonviolent social change until his assassination in 1968.

    January 25: Lunar New Year, one of the most sacred of all traditional Chinese holidays, a time of family reunion and celebration. The Lunar New Year is also celebrated at this time in Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Mongolia.

    January 25-26: Losar, the Tibetan Buddhist New Year, a time of renewal through sacred and secular practices.

    January 27: The International Day of Commemoration to remember the victims of the Holocaust. The anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945 and U.N. Holocaust Memorial Day.

    January 27 (sundown to sundown): Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time to “mourn the loss of lives, celebrate those who saved them, honor those who survived, and contemplate the obligations of the living.” — Former President Barack Obama.

    January 29: Vasant Panchami, the Hindu festival that highlights the coming of spring. On this day Hindus worship Saraswati Devi, the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music, art, and culture.


    February is Black History Month in the United States and Canada. Since 1976, the month has been designated to remember the contributions of people of the African diaspora.

    February 1: National Freedom Day, which celebrates the signing of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in 1865.

    February 1: St. Brigid of Kildare, feast day for St. Brigid celebrated by some Christian denominations.

    February 2: Candlemas – A Christian holiday that celebrates three occasions according to Christian belief: the presentation of the child Jesus; Jesus’ first entry into the temple; and Virgin Mary’s purification.

    February 3: St. Blaise Day (The Blessing of the Throats), the feast day of St. Blaise of Sebaste celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church and some Eastern Catholic churches.

    February 3: Setsubun-Sai (Beginning of Spring), the day before the beginning of spring in Japan, celebrated yearly as part of the Spring Festival.

    February 3: Four Chaplains Sunday commemorates the 55th anniversary of the sinking of the United States army transport Dorchester and the heroism of the four chaplains aboard.

    February 8: Lantern Festival, the first significant feast after the Chinese New Year, named for watching Chinese lanterns illuminate the sky during the night of the event.

    February 8-March 9: Magha Puja Day (also known as Maka Bucha), a Buddhist holiday that marks an event early in the Buddha’s teaching life when a group of 1,250 enlightened saints, ordained by the Buddha, gathered to pay their respect to him. It is celebrated on various dates in different countries.

    February 9-10 (sundown to sundown): Tu B’shevat, a Jewish holiday recognizing “The New Year of the Trees.” It is celebrated on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. In Israel, the flowering of the almond tree usually coincides with this holiday, which is observed by planting trees and eating dried fruits and nuts.

    February 14: St. Valentine’s Day, a Western Christian feast day honoring one or two early saints named Valentinus. Typically associated with romantic love and celebrated by people expressing their love via gifts.

    February 15: Parinirvana Day (or Nirvana Day), the commemoration of Buddha’s death at the age of 80, when he reached the zenith of Nirvana. February 8 is an alternative date of observance.

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


  • 26 Nov 2019 10:17 AM | Karen Fouts (Administrator)

    Dear Colleagues,

    SIETAR USA is pleased to present the 2019 Slate of Candidates for the SIETAR USA Board of Directors for the term January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022. Please review these candidates’ statements of interest here: Candidates Statements

    • Secretary (Officer): Justin Sitron, PhD (incumbent)
    • Treasurer (Officer): Hamilton Cruz (incumbent)
    • Conference Oversight Portfolio Director: Karen Lokkesmoe, PhD
    • Local Groups Portfolio Director: Julia Gaspar-Bates (incumbent)

    The following positions did not receive nominations and may still receive petitions for candidate addition to the slate by the deadline of Monday, December 2, 2019.

    • President Elect (Officer)
    • Professional Development (Director)
    • Sponsorship Partnership Development (Director)

    Slate Approval and Nominations Via Petition

    Each year and according to the SIETAR USA By Laws, we send members in good standing a slate of candidates, who then vote for or against the slate. On Wednesday, December 4, 2019, you will receive an electronic ballot via email (response deadline of December 18, 2019). If there are no contented positions, members will be asked to ratify the slate at that time.

    Prior to the official vote, individuals may petition to be on the slate for any of the available positions that currently do or do not have candidates. Should there be more than one individual interested and eligible for any one position, SIETAR USA will hold a runoff election for that position. Individuals petitioning to be added to the slate for any of the seven open positions must submit a statement of intention for the role, a bio and petition supported and signed by five SIETAR USA members no later than Monday, December 2, 2019 sent to both info@sietarusa.organd hemert@sietarusa.org. Eligibility criteria include being a) a SIETAR USA member in good standing or willing to become a member, and b) SIETAR USA member (or willing to become a member) who has attended at least one SIETAR USA national conference in the last five (5) years. SIETAR USA welcomes questions, comments, and requests for additional information about any of the candidates prior to the deadline. Information about each role can be found at the end of this document.

    The results of the 2019 election will be announced via email no later than December 23, 2019.

    Timeline (Updated)

    • Tuesday, October 2, 2019 - Communication out to membership and general public, listing nominations committee members and nominations process
    • Wednesday, October 9, 2019 – Revised call sent to membership and general public
    • Tuesday, October 16, 2019 – Reminder communication out to membership and general public.
    • Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - Deadline for receipt of nominations with all required documentation sent to hemert@sietarusa.org and cc: Info@sietarusa.org
    • Thursday, November 14, 2019 - Selection of nominees by Nominations Committee.
    • Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - Slate of candidates for office is sent to the membership.

    §  Monday, December 2, 2018 – Submission deadline for individuals to be added to the slate of candidates.

    • Wednesday, December 4, 2019 – Slate of nominees is sent to membership for electronic ratification.
    • Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - Deadline for members to ratify the slate of candidates.
    • Friday, December 20, 2019 - Results of the election are submitted to the board. Those selected are notified.
    • Monday December 23, 2019 - Results of the election are announced to membership.
    • Wednesday, January 1, 2020 - Elected Officers and Portfolio Directors assume their positions on the Board.

    Please contact SIETAR USA at info@sietarusa.org and hemert@sietarusa.org with any questions prior December 2, 2019.

    Thank you,

    SIETAR USA Nominations Committee

    Holly Emert, PhD, SIETAR USA Past President and Nominations Committee Chair

    Katarina Salas, SIETAR USA Board Leadership Portfolio Director

    Laurette Bennhold Samaan

    Jeffrey Cookson

    Questions? Contact the SIETAR USA Office: info@sietarusa.org

  • 25 Nov 2019 4:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 2019 National Conference of SIETAR USA is now history. For this conference we used a banner that showed people’s hands reaching for the sky and the quotation that accompanied it was from Nelson Mandela: “It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.” When the conference started, it had a structure, a platform that we put in the hands of the 167 participants. They made it sing—lots of energy and exciting sessions, inspiring speakers, new ideas as a result of coming together in Atlanta.

    Matt Hogan, martial arts instructor and founder of MoveMe Quotes, has written that “one of our basic desires as humans is the desire to feel as though we are a part of something greater than ourselves. It’s our desire to feel as though we have contributed, that we have given back, and that we have made a difference in the world – so that we may find comfort in the way we have lived our life.”

    I think that the success of every SIETAR USA conference is based on connection. Connecting with like-minded people who understand without explanation, are truly interested in what you have to say. We have all chosen the intercultural path in our work and there are times when it is a lonely one as we are challenged by clients, students

  • 25 Nov 2019 4:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. (Native American Saying)

    When you ask U.S. Americans and Canadians what their favorite holiday is, many say “Thanksgiving!” Understandably it can be a day for some people of good food and warm company, for some it brings nice weather, colorful autumn leaves and exciting football. It is often a day when people join their families by birth or choice to celebrate the holiday. For some, it is a day of giving to the less fortunate, working in a place that serves food to those who otherwise don’t have a Thanksgiving dinner or donating time at a Senior Center or a place where people so appreciate a visitor.

    Thanksgiving also ushers in the holiday season that can take over our lives. For those who have a busy work schedule it can be a time of trying to wedge holiday preparations into whatever free time their work allows. For others, it is a time to take stock of what is important. Someone said that not expressing your gratitude is like wrapping a present but not giving it. So throughout the holidays is a very good time to consider telling people how thankful you are that they are in your life.

    Living in Southern California as I do, Thanksgiving is usually a warm, sunny day that I like to spend working in my garden. I am reminded of the Marcel Proust saying: “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” My work with SIETAR USA brings me into contact with so many charming gardeners—I want to give my thanks to all of you who make me happy whether in person at the conference, serving on the Board or committees, or virtually by email. We are all in this life together and I am so grateful that SIETAR USA gives us a professional home where as colleagues we can share our insights and caring for each other.

    Sandra M. Fowler

  • 25 Nov 2019 4:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

  • 25 Nov 2019 4:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A Pattern of Islands by Arthur Grimble, Eland 2011, 272 pages. Reviewed by Craig Storti

    “I was nominated to a cadetship in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Protectorate at the end of 1913,” this book begins. “The cult of the great god Jingo was as yet far from dead. Most English households of the day took it for granted that nobody could always be right, or ever quite right, except an Englishman. The Almighty was beyond doubt Anglo-Saxon, and the popular conception of empire resultantly simple. Dominion over palm and pine (or whatever else happened to be noticeably far-flung) was the heaven-conferred privilege of the Bulldog Breed. Kipling had said so.”

    A Pattern of Islands, it has to be said—and I knew it would come to this sooner or later as your book review editor—is the one book everyone should read before they pass on. After all, you never know what’s going to be in that next library/bookshop on the other side. So don’t press your luck.

    Nor is this advice just for interculturalists, though it is certainly for them; it really is the kind of book it's impossible to imagine anyone not liking, actually not loving. It is quite literally delightful, assuming that word means full of delights. Where else will you learn the right way to swim through a school of tiger sharks? The proper way to behave when you are the bait for a man-eating octopus? Why you must bring a coconut if you’re going to the Place of Dread? And why the word nikiranibobo is so hilarious in Gilbertese?

    In 1914 Grimble and his wife Olivia were posted by the British Colonial Service to the protectorate known as the Gilbert (now part of Kiribati) and Ellice (now Tuvalu) Islands, roughly half way between Australia and Hawaii. Grimble was 26 at the time. A Pattern is cross-cultural from its first moments to its last two pages, which contain one of the best examples of the reverse-culture-shock conversations you’re going to find anywhere. But first this:

    “We did learn to accept cockroaches as domestic pets (or almost), for…whenever foul weather threatened, whole rustling clouds of them would come flying into the house for refuge. Once lodged, they would stay for weeks so we decided at last to count them as an essential ingredient of Pacific romance—it was with either that or die of daily horror— and our only incurable pedantry about them in the long run was to keep them, if or when possible, out of the soup.”

    The book is squarely in the education-of-a-naïf genre, which means it is stuffed with cross-cultural incidents, otherwise known as embarrassing, humiliating faux pas wherein Grimble is revealed to be an absurd, charming bumbler utterly incapable of taking himself seriously. Here is just one example:

    “So I got up amid a great hush and said (the words are burned on my memory), ‘People of Tarawa, this is a beautiful island. This is the first time I have seen Tarawa. I think Tarawa is a beautiful island. This is the first time I have seen it. I think it is very beautiful….’ There are no means of estimating how long I should have continued had not Mr. Workman’s voice cut in: ‘Perhaps Mr. Grimble, we might now with profit move onward to the next thought. Time flies you know.’ I had no next thought save a wild desire to have done ‘Iam glad to meet you today [Grimble continued] and shall always be very, very glad to meet you….’ I did not expect the storm of laughter that rewarded my climax. It swept the maneaba like a hurricane, and lasted for minutes…. I got up amid the din and walked over to Mr. Workman…who wiped his eyes and explained that [what] I had said in effect was,  ‘I am glad to meet you today, but I shall always be very, very glad to say goodbye to you.’”

    And here’s a taste of the reverse-culture shock anecdote:

    Uncle: ‘Hullo my boy, glad to see you back. Sit down. Have a cigar. Now tell us what you’ve been up to all these years out there.’

    Self: ‘Oh, I’ve been—‘

    Uncle: ‘You don’t look too well on it, whatever it was. Did you keep up your riding?’

    Self: ‘Well—no—you see there aren’t any horses there. But I—‘

    Uncle: ‘What? No riding? Hm! Now the other day Jackie Jack Jackson said to me (Jackie’s dicta on fox-hunting as an aid to health here omitted). But you must have got a bit of fishing.’

    Self: Oh, yes, I had plenty of that. The tiger-shark—‘

    Uncle: ‘Tiger shark? Now the other day I was talking to a feller back from Ireland…. But I suppose you had a shot at tigers in those jungles.’

    Self: ‘Well, no. You see there aren’t any jungles or tigers. But I did—‘

    Grimble is not only a first-rate story teller, he is also beautiful prose stylist. If you’ve ever read a more sublime summing up of the cross-cultural experience than this, you’re very fortunate indeed:

    “It began to dawn on me that beyond the teeming romance that lies in the differences between men—the diversity of their homes, the multitude of their ways of life, the dividing strangeness of their faces and tongues, the thousand-fold mysteries of their origins—there lies the still profounder romance of their kinship with each other, a kinship that springs from the immutable constancy of man's need to share laughter and friendship, poetry and love in common.”

    My only hesitation in recommending this book is the financial hit you will have to absorb buying copies for all your friends. You may choose not to buy copies, I suppose, but what kind of friend would you be then?

  • 25 Nov 2019 4:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    November has been Native American Heritage Month in the United States since 1990. This month is a time to celebrate the First Peoples’ rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories.  SIETAR USA is proud to recognize and honor Native Americans and their important contributions to our culture and our country. There is a history of designating a day to honor Native people dating back to President Coolidge in 1915. In 1986 President Reagan declared the week of November 23-30 as American Indian Week. In 1990 President George Bush approved a joint proclamation to honor America’s tribal people for the entire month of November. Every President since 1995 has issued an annual proclamation designating the month of November as the time to celebrate the culture, accomplishments, and contributions of people who were the first inhabitants of this land. On November 5, 2019 the U.S. government officially proclaimed November as National American History and Founders Month. SIETAR USA honors U.S. history in all its forms but most strongly asserts its core values in honoring the first peoples of the land we currently know by the name of the United States of America.

  • 25 Nov 2019 4:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SIETAR USA Member Update: A Retrospective

    As we enter the last weeks of the year 2019, it is important to look back at the activities of this year. It gives a picture of all that is happening in SIETAR USA and provides a taste of what to look forward to in 2020.

    WEBINARS: An exciting series—to be continued!

    FEBRUARY: Living Our Values: The SIETAR USA Living Code of Ethical Behavior. Presenter: Kurt Nemes

    MARCH: Dispelling Myths About Muslims and Islam: Intercultural Interventions for Pluralism and Inclusion of American Muslims. Presenter: Lubna 'Luby' Ismael

    MAY: Making Sense of Russia in the 21st Century. Presenter: Tatyana Fertelmeyster

    JUNE: Promoting Age Inclusion in the New Millennium. Presenter: Tamara Thorpe

    JULY: Experiencing Civil Rights: My Story. Presenter: Kelli McLoud-Schingen

    OCTOBER: Unconscious Bias Training & Implications for Interculturalists. Presenter: Dr. Neal Goodman

    NOVEMBER: Personal Leadership. Presenter: Rita Wuebbeler

    DECEMBER: Nuevo Mexico’s Mid-Winter Celebrations: A Look at the Intercultural Symbols and Reexamination of the Tri-Cultural Myth. Presenter: Miguel Gandert


    A newsletter is a primary benefit of membership, providing news of the association, however, it can be more. This year the newsletter was upgraded to a periodical and given a name: The Interculturalist: A Periodical of SIETAR USA. As a periodical it not only continues the tradition of association news such as conference plans, webinar announcements, local groups activities and the like, but it also offers articles of general interest to people in the Intercultural and Diversity Equity and Inclusion fields. A regular feature is the Bookmarks column, a book review by Craig Storti. He has reviewed books of intercultural fiction, travel, and concepts/theories/applications. He has also developed an author interview, providing readers an insight into the person who wrote the books he reviewed. The Interculturalist Periodical also contains Marketing Tips by Valerie Bath and Training Tips from Thiagi. It has a DEI column by Elmer Dixon. There is an opinion article by an invited interculturalist, which began in January 2019 with an article by Harry Triandis about intercultural researchers and practitioners. Other article writers have been Robert Hayles, Chris Cartwright, Soumaya Khalifa, Stella Ting-Toomey, Carlos Cortes, Mike Tucker, Kathryn Sorrels, Andrej Juriga, George Renwick, Bruce LaBrack, and Alvino Fantini.


    2019 was a year that saw some new members join the Board of Directors. The year began with a new Secretary, Justin Sitron and a new Treasurer, Hamilton Cruz. Also new at the beginning of the year was Sherri Tapp, Membership Outreach and Diversity Director. Returning and renewing their commitment to the Board are Julia Gaspar Bates as the Local Groups Director, and Brett Parry, Communication Director. Katerina Salas Natchova joined us mid-year as the Board Leadership Director, and Karen Lokkesmoe is the new Conference Oversight Director. The year began with a new President as well. Sandra Fowler, longtime member of SIETAR starting in 1979, and member of SIETAR USA since its inception in 2000, took over the reins from Holly Emert, currently the Immediate Past President. The monthly Zoom meetings of the Board and the two annual in-person meetings are evidence of a lively group dedicated to the membership of SIETAR USA and to the health of the association.

    SIETAR USA ACADEMY: Certification Program in Intercultural Organizational Leadership

    The SIETAR USA ACADEMY: Certification Program in Intercultural Organizational Leadership designed by Tatyana Fertelmeyster, was announced at the National Conference in Atlanta. It is a year-long program with an in-service element. The SIETAR USA Leadership Program 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 (additional details TBD).


    The 2019 conference held in Atlanta received positive feedback for its presenters and concurrent sessions, invited speakers, and special events. Participants were especially touched by the Fireside Chat with Janet Bennett. She clearly knew what she wanted to say and shared many memories from her past. The Gala Banquet was fun with a number of the attendees wearing masks to celebrate the recent Halloween holiday. Anna Xia was the lucky person to have her business card drawn from the trick-or-treat bucket to win a free registration to the 2020 conference in Omaha. At the closing event, Russanne Bucci was the lucky winner of a free Master Workshop with her bumper sticker: Change Behavior—Change Minds. The Thiagi-inspired activity gave attendees the opportunity to hone their “elevator” response to the question “How was the Conference?” And then whittle it down to a bumper sticker. The activity is described in the Training Tip in this issue.


    DATES: 8-11 OCTOBER 2020

    From artificial intelligence to cybersecurity to virtual reality, people are adapting to rapidly changing technologies which present challenges to the individual, communities, and society. Please join us in the heartland of America for the SIETAR USA 2020 National Conference to explore the impact of new technologies on the work of interculturalists throughout the world.


    • Mind: Leveraging Neuroscience. Scientists studying the brain have applied their findings to many areas of human interaction. Neuroscience research is increasing our understanding of the mind in such areas as prejudice and bias. What can we learn from them that applies to our work?
    • Culture: Foundational Innovation. The foundation for the work of interculturalists is culture. What is the most recent thinking about culture? What innovative ways have been developed to facilitate people learning about culture? How does culture express itself in the work we do? In the leadership of world organizations?
    • Society: Dynamic Intersections. The impact of social media and the internet on institutions such as education, religion, and politics affects us all. Interculturalists can use modern technology to play an important role in bridging society’s schisms such as: (among others) rural/urban, race, gender, sexual orientation, immigrant/citizen, religion.

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