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  • 06 Feb 2020 7:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    February 18, 2020 – SIETAR Europa WEBINAR:

    “Cross-Cultural Studies and Their Business Applications: Focus on the Arab Culture” with Agnieszka Ches, Ph.D.    Visit SIETAR Europa February Webinar to register!

    March 13, 2020 – SIETAR USA WEBINAR

    “Understanding Misunderstandings in the Era of Globalization” with Joe Lurie, Executive Director Emeritus at UC-Berkeley International House. Visit SIETAR USA March Webinar to register!


    Black History MonthFebruary 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 18: Presidents Day, a federally recognized celebration in the United States of George Washington’s birthday, as well as every president proceeding Washington.

    February 19: 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 25: Mardi Gras, the last day for Catholics to indulge before Ash Wednesday starts the sober weeks of fasting that accompany Lent.


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

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

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

    International Women’s DayMarch 8: International Women’s Day. First observed in 1911 in Germany, it has now become a major global celebration honoring women’s economic, political and social achievements.

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

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


  • 12 Jan 2020 5:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This special issue of The Interculturalist: A Periodical of SIETAR USA, is dedicated to the memory and contributions of Margaret (Peggy) Pusch, our founder—a leader and major contributor to the intercultural field. This issue begins with my reflections on my friend, followed by the story of Peggy’s life written by her husband Lew Pusch, and her son Rob. An overview of her professional career was written by Nan Sussman. A number of people contributed personal memories of their time with Peggy. People are welcome to submit further personal memories of Peggy, which will be published in the February issue. This issue closes with information about the January webinar as well as the calendar of events for this month.

    It was 1979, at the annual SIETAR conference being held in Mexico City where I first met Peggy Pusch. Her knowledge of the intercultural field was evident, and she impressed me as one of the leaders of SIETAR (yes, that is what it was called in those days; International got added later and USA even later than that). Little did I know then that this was the beginning of a 40-year friendship.

    I soon realized that although she was not shy about taking the reins and being the public face of SIETAR, she was a master of the behind-the-scenes work that made the organization hum. In the 1980’s the field was still small and Peggy knew everyone and their special skills. She was also willing to take a chance on someone new because she could mentor and guide a person to get the best out of them. She had a keen sense of who could fill the roles required to organize the annual conference, serve on the Board of Directors, or take on a project like one that I worked on to assess whether SIETAR should get into the business of certifying interculturalists. As Executive Director of SIETAR USA, Peggy kept future requirements in mind so that she would start working with someone she thought could put on a good conference well before it was time to get started. Of course, she was there to support the person every step of the way.

    Peggy’s diplomatic skills saved SIETAR USA many times. She had a way of re-framing a situation so that all parties felt that they had been heard. She seemed to be creating an “island” on which both people could work together. Very early on, I sent an insensitive message to someone who had proposed a paper-reading session for a SIETAR conference when I was the Program Chair. In essence, I said that I couldn’t imagine anyone reading a paper in one of our conference sessions. Peggy responded to me, acknowledging that indeed we did tend toward interactive sessions but that we could make room for a paper-reading session. And to the other person she explained that even though we preferred an interactive session, that she could see including her session especially if the proposal included an active Q&A at the end. A very small example, but we both felt supported and ok with the outcome.

    Anyone who trained with her or took one of Peggy’s workshops, recognized her skills as a trainer. In fact, she was so good that she was a bit intimidating. Whenever I had the opportunity, I would sit in on one of her workshops to learn from watching her in action. Later in my career she and I trained together a variety of times, for example, we conducted a full-day workshop on simulation games at the Summer Institute. We carefully planned the day together but forgot to discuss a few details. It turned out that while we were running Barnga we discovered that we did it differently. I wasn’t about to back down nor was she, so the participants got a first-hand look at how co-trainers can work out a process disagreement without disrupting the entire activity.

    One other skill Peggy owned that surpassed most others was her editing ability. She always had in mind that she did not want authors to be embarrassed by less than skillful writing. She also insisted on clarity. Murky sentences were an anathema. She was anything but timid in her editing and if she sensed a better, clearer way of saying what she thought the author had in mind, she would re-write it to her high standards. As I began gently editing the 2-volume Intercultural Sourcebook, I tried hard to keep the authors’ voices, which often meant some murkiness crept in. As I submitted the first few completed sections of the Sourcebook, she applied her heavy editing pen and freed me up to do the same, reminding me that one needs to hold high standards and to apply them whatever the situation.

    I learned a lot from her over the 40 years we had together—she could be tough, compassionate,  innovative, traditional, caring, playful, and deeply thoughtful. Where would we in the intercultural field be without her guidance and support over the years? I don’t know the answer to that, but I am so very grateful that we didn’t have to find out.

    Sandra M. Fowler
    President SIETAR USA

  • 12 Jan 2020 5:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As Told By Lew Pusch

    Peggy and I met during my freshman orientation week at Johns Hopkins University. She was a junior in high school. We met at the home of one of her classmates whom I had met at the 2nd Presbyterian church. Upon entering high school Peggy asked to be in the

    academic program but was told since her father only went to the 8th grade that she was not going to college and she needed to get a job when she finished high school. Thus she was placed in the commercial course and trained to be a secretary. She started as a legal secretary upon graduation in 1954.

    We married in August 1955, between my 3rd and 4th years in college. I graduated from Hopkins under-graduate school in 1956 and entered the Johns Hopkins Medical School in the fall of '56. Peggy then moved to a job in public relations at the Johns Hopkins Hospital where she learned a lot about hospitals. She gave tours to visiting physicians from many countries, taking them to the observation area above the operating room where they could observe surgery in progress. Then the children started arriving and she moved into a decade of being a stay-at-home mom, raising three children.

    After finishing medical school I started a residency program in Pathology at Hopkins. Peggy’s first experience of living overseas happened because when I finished my training, I was drafted into the army medical corps and assigned to an army hospital in Yokohama, Japan, which was receiving wounded from the Viet Nam war. Peg—always looking to help—volunteered with the Red Cross to write letters for the wounded. 

    We were living on a Navy base and she also took courses in Japanese language and culture. The Japanese gentleman who taught these courses did so to find Americans who would help teach English to the Japanese. Peggy was teamed with a young Japanese woman who was an English teacher while Peggy functioned as a native English speaker to assist in the pronunciation of the English words. She and Midori would spend Saturday afternoons with the executives of the Hogichi corporation in Tokyo. I was also asked to have English conversation with a young Japanese physician who was coming to the New York City for additional training. When we returned to the United States, I talked to him and he told me that he had studied the wrong language because the hospital in which he was training was in Spanish Harlem and most of his patients spoke Spanish.

    Peggy ended up providing conversation experience in several venues and with a variety of groups. That led to several occasions when we were invited to homes, parties, and given tours of Tokyo and other near-by cities. Unfortunately, we did not learn to have conversations in Japanese because most of the Japanese we met wanted to improve their English. Finally, my tour in the army was drawing to a close but Peggy wanted to stay in Japan longer and was disappointed that I was anxious to return to the United States.

    We returned to Syracuse, N.Y. where I took a position at the SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Pathology and Peg was back to being a stay-at-home mom for another two years. Then our youngest child entered school and Peg announced that she “was not going to sit around this house and intended to go to Syracuse University and get a job”—which she did. Her first position was as an administrator for a program in the Newhouse Communication center for international radio and TV broadcasters who spent a month at Syracuse University and then spent two months travelling to various US cities to meet peers in broadcasting.  One of her tasks was to make all their travel arrangements.

    Peg then moved to the international student office as an advisor. SU also sent her to 3 other universities to observe their international student programs. She met several individuals who were important for her learning about the needs of foreign students. Peg was an avid reader and began educating herself about intercultural communications and developing her own library on the topic

    At this time she met David Hoopes and George Renwick on her travels who asked her to join their consulting group working with companies sending Americans abroad and/or bring foreign nationals into the country. Their group was asked by the New York State Department of Education to write a prospectus on bilingual education. They talked to faculty in departments of education to learn about bilingual education and incidentally learned that these educators had great difficulty finding publishers willing to publish their writings. The three of them decided to start a publishing company. David and George would read the submitted manuscripts and Peggy took over managing the business, contacting printers, selecting paper, and contacting book designers. When printed, the books were shipped to our house, stored in the basement and garage, and our teenage children would come home from school, box and address them, then take them to the Post Office. Thus the intercultural Press was on its way. Peg also read all the books printed and often was the tie breaker when David and George disagreed on printing a manuscript.

    Peg loved professional organizations and they loved her back. She started attending the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) in the late 1970's, first as a participant, then as an intern, and finally as a faculty member. Peg was later appointed as associate director of the Intercultural Communications Institute (ICI) in Portland, OR. Starting while she worked at SU she became a member of NAFSA (the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors) and became active in regional programs and active on national committees, which led to serving on the Board of Directors, which eventuated in her being elected national president is 1995. In that same year, NAFSA sent her to the European Association for International Education (EAIE) where she presented a workshop. Afterward Jeanine Hermans from the Netherlands asked Peggy if she might work with Peggy over the following year and perhaps the two of them could do a program together. This led to Peggy and Jeanine developing their three-day workshop and putting it on every year for 10 years in a different European city each year. Also, as you might guess, Peggy became an active member in EAIE

    In 1984 I accepted a position at the Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. Peggy groused about having to move and needing to reinvent herself again. We also moved the Intercultural Press to Maine which required a separate truck to carry the books. In Maine she set up the Press in half of a strip mall and hired new staff, all the while continuing her work in NAFSA and ICI. Peggy had been an active member in SIETAR International for many years but while in Maine, she became seriously involved in the division of  SIETAR International into its constituent country specific SIETARs, which led to the formation of SIETAR USA. She was a founder and first president of SIETAR USA. 

    Then she was asked to work with the International Partnership for Service Learning (IPSL) where she became a Board member and then president of the Board. In Maine she also moved into community service becoming president of the Board for the Portland Stage Company, a professional theatre who hired actors in New York City; president of the World Affairs Council of Maine and active on the Board of the Spurwink Schools for developmentally-challenged young people These schools trained young people for employment in businesses at large

    In 2009 Peggy had a stroke following which she felt she no longer could keep up the pace for her usual activities. Over the ensuing 10 years, her health gradually deteriorated and she died just before Christmas, December 22, 2019. She is survived by her husband of 65 years, three children: Carrie, Rob and James, four grandchildren: Darryl, Ambre, Kira, and Ethan and two great grandchildren: Arthur, and Francis.

    Lew Pusch
    January 2020

  • 12 Jan 2020 5:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Peggy and Lew, 1954

    Lew, Peggy, and Rob

    Peggy and Family
    (2015: prior to the birth of her youngest great-grandson) 
    Front: Ambre, Peggy holding Arthur;
    Middle: Carrie, Darryl, Lew, Ethan, Rob, Kira;
    Back: James

  • 12 Jan 2020 4:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    We have all joined a global Intercultural community of caring professionals, a community willing to share hard-gathered wisdom and our ever-growing body of knowledge. It means that wherever we go, we meet others who touch our lives. But each of us touches sadness as well, when we lose a friend at a distance such as Peggy—a fine mentor, a generous colleague, a talented writer, speaker, and trainer. The initial publications of the intercultural field occupied her dining table for years (thank you, Lew). I will leave it to others to name her honors, awards, publications, and countless accomplishments. I will only say we loved her and always will.


     A tireless and committed woman who dedicated her life to making a difference. She had a natural gift and ability to relate to a person’s experience and made you feel accepted and understood. Her personality and authenticity allowed her to make thousands of friends around the globe. I am lucky and privileged to have had Peggy as a friend and colleague, and forever grateful that our paths crossed while I was her student while working on my Master in Intercultural Relations. Then when SIETAR USA moved to Portland, we shared an office and worked closely together on the 2002 SIETAR Conference. My last face to face interaction with Peggy was in their new home in Rancho Mirage to help her downsize her fabulous wardrobe and closet, wow what a collection!!!

    Antimo Cimino, Peggy Pusch, Lew Pusch (March 2013)


    Margaret D. Pusch, known to us as “Peggy,” was extraordinary in many ways. She was an extraordinary interculturalist, an extraordinary leader, and an extraordinary human being. She possessed knowledge in a wide range of areas, from knowledge of the intercultural field to running an intercultural publishing house to running an intercultural professional association. But it wasn’t just that she had the know-how, it seemed like knowledge and expertise radiated outward from her. In the time that I served on the SIETAR-USA Board of Directors and Peggy served as our Executive Director, one of the most remarkable parts of that experience was the opportunity to witness first-hand Peggy’s ability to “herd cats”—or organize, co-ordinate, and lead a disparate and diverse group of people in a kind, gentle, and sensitive way. Another was that she knew how to do literally everything involved in the running of such an organization. I found this to be truly amazing, and we tried to learn as much from her as we could. To close, Peggy leaves behind a considerable legacy that generations will continue to benefit from. The highest compliment I can give is this: For Peggy Pusch, intercultural relations was not just what she did—it was who she was. In so many ways, she was an embodiment of the very essence of interculturalism. (SIETAR USA President 2012-2014)


    I had the occasion to discuss the need for SIETAR USA to be more consciously inclusive of differences with Peggy one year while attending the annual event in Albuquerque. I was impressed with her genuine commitment and desire to continue to pursue greater levels of equity and inclusion in an organization that talks the talk yet needed to improve its walk. She was always pursuing growth which is all we can ask of anyone. She will be sorely missed.


    SIETAR members all over the world owe a depth of gratitude to Peggy Pusch.  It is possible that our organization and our field might not even exist if it were not for the central role she played in the establishment of the field of Intercultural Relation.  When I first met Peggy, I could not figure her out.  She knew more than most of the scholars, she was helping to publish most of our books, she organized many of our conferences, her presentations were inspiring and she knew everyone in the field globally.  She was my walking encyclopedia.  SIETAR flowed through her veins and radiated through her heart and smile.  She loved connecting people and building bridges between interculturalists including academics, trainers, international education professionals (NAFSA), government officials and anyone who she knew. Despite her tireless sacrifice and many accomplishments, Peggy was one of the most modest people I knew.  Peggy played a significant role in my personal and professional life as an interculturalist and I am sure she had the same impact on the lives of thousands of others.

    Peggy and Neal Goodman


    Peggy Pusch:  She Chose Us. Working for, around, and with Peggy made it clear that her leadership in the intercultural community was a choice. Her energy, enthusiasm, competence, delightful sense of humor, organizational skills, and vast knowledge enabled her to be a leader in many of our intercultural institutions.  While riding in the car one afternoon with Peggy from one event to another, her vigorous hand gestures may have looked to external observers like she was directing the traffic around her.  From my perspective as the passenger, she was actually sharing how things could be run better in several of our professional organizations as well as the world.  I say “she chose us” because she could have chosen to be Secretary of State, or if the country had been ready, President.  I will always remember her as being far ahead of her time and a model for future leaders.


    I first met Peggy Pusch as one of my professors in Antioch University's Master's Program in Intercultural Relations.  With Peggy, I learned the basics of intercultural training.  Not only did she teach theory and methods, but also the types of lessons that only come from gleaning the wisdom of a master of her craft.  I still remember Peggy sharing the best advice I heard as a young trainer trying to break into the field: "Sometimes, you have to give it away."  In other words, to gain the experience necessary to get regular work, I needed to be willing at first to volunteer my services, and that I did.  When my first job came through--a reentry workshop--it was Peggy who patiently reviewed my program, step by step, giving me frank but invaluable feedback that markedly elevated the program's quality.  That was Peggy.  She offered sage advice, didn't sugar-coat it, and was incredibly generous with her time.  She poured her energy into nurturing the next generation in the intercultural field, and through her work with SIETAR, the Intercultural Press, and ICI, she impacted the vitality of our field in a way that few have.


    In 1989 I was invited to join the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication faculty by Janet Bennett, specifically to co-teach/train with Peggy Push on various topics related to international transitions. There was no way of knowing at the time we were developing the original Training for International Transitions course, and that it would continue to be offered at SIIC for twenty-three years! In retrospect, what I remember most from that experience was the excitement of participating in a field that was entering a period of what some have characterized as the expansion and maturation of the discipline. Peggy and I marveled (and were often challenged) by the fact that the field was changing so fast that from year-to-year we had to significantly alter our reading lists, training exercises, and conceptual/theoretical frameworks to keep up with the amazing advances in the field. 

     The faculty at SIIC were a wonderful collection of creative and generous minds, and the amount of sharing and fascinating intellectual exchanges continued to enrich our collective knowledge. But the truth was that, at its heart, the SIIC experience was just plain fun, so much so that many of us characterized it as “Culture Camp for Adults”. It was a unique moment in time and when I reflect upon my involvement at SIIC it is inextricably intertwined with memories of Peggy and her energy, intellect and work ethic. I have trained with many colleagues over the years, but I consider my collaboration with Peggy as not only the longest in duration but also one of the most intense. 

     Peggy was a unique individual with many professional facets (publisher, writer, administrator who held many presidential offices in intercultural organizations) but I shall let others speak to those accomplishments. Finally, I just want to note her influence on me as a teacher and trainer, and appreciatively acknowledge how much she gave to the field through her acumen, generosity, and wicked sense of humor.


    I became the President of SIETAR USA the very year that Peggy retired.  She was instrumental in my decision to run and when I was unsure if I was ready or even capable, she shared that she had nothing but faith in me and would always be there for me if I needed anything.  At that time her health was not 100% so I struggled often with the desire to call and the need to let her be and heal.  We had NO IDEA just how much Peggy did until she retired and much of my Presidency was about keeping the boat afloat while we figured it all out.  One day when I was feeling overwhelmed and a bit discouraged, a package arrived in the mail and it was a photograph of a vision board that we created at a Board retreat along with a list of the things that she described as “what she did”. It was 3 pages, front and back! And I have to say, I am sure that it only scratched the surface of what she did. I never felt that I could do for SUSA what Peggy did, but she was always there for me, if I needed her. The foundation that she laid down for us was a solid one and as I tried to pick up the torch and take the organization forward, I always knew that I was standing on her shoulders and was deeply grateful for her faith in me and the guidance that she offered. (SIETAR USA President 2010-2012)


    Peggy seemed to be everywhere and to know everyone. We attended conferences together in Prague and in Portland and everywhere in between; presented together, planned together, and wrote together; and everywhere and in every situation she knew people. She was always saying, “You should talk to …” or “You should meet …”. And sometimes she would dispense with the “you should meet,” because she couldn’t imagine that all of her friends didn’t already know each other. Her omnipresence revealed not freneticism, but rather an enormous generosity of spirit, and imagination, an ability to see connections between people and ideas that were not obvious to others. Moreover, her friendships were real and solid. When I returned from working in the Kyrgyz Republic for five years, we had lunch at an oceanside restaurant near the offices of the Intercultural Press. We talked for three hours – the waiter thought we would never leave. But she understood my re-entry issues and took the time we needed. I will miss her. 


    When I think of Peggy, three words come to mind – smart, energetic, and, dependable. I got to know Peggy by working closely with her on the board of SIETAR (Society of Intercultural Educators, Teachers, and Researchers). She was legendary. Having been involved with SIETAR from the beginning, when it was Global SIETAR. I got to know and respect her as we worked together on the board. And, work we did. Our time together was focused on an important transition – changing the daily leadership, the executive director, from Peggy to another person or organization. It’s a task that has shown how energetic and persistent she was when doing something she believed it. Her impact will last for decades. (President SIETAR USA 2008-2010)


    Andy Reynolds and Peggy


    Peggy epitomized the heart and soul of SIETAR USA and her legacy will live on in the fabric of SIETAR. I met Peggy at the very first SIETAR USA conference, held in Virginia, just outside of Washington DC. She was a ball of energy in motion. That, I realized as I got to know her over the many years of SIETAR USA conferences, epitomized Peggy. She was always in motion! A true leader—she was quick to jump in and do the work that needed to be done, and always with a smile. Her passion for the intercultural field was evident, both in her work and dedication to SIETAR as well as all the other intercultural work she did. She was dedicated, always willing to help others in the field, and had a strong commitment to actively growing the field and its resources. She was also a woman of love and courage, as evidenced by the fireside chat she did at a SIETAR conference where she candidly shared her family’s journey when her son Rob came out as transgender. Her willingness to be vulnerable and share her personal journey was very moving, and it is a fireside chat I will always remember. Peggy touched many, many lives in SIETAR and the intercultural field, and I’m grateful she touched mine.


    Andy Reynolds and I began teaching a Foundations Class at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) in the early 1990s.  Peggy Pusch was already teaching this class with Jaime Wurzel but the numbers had grown so large that a second section was needed.   While we were not new to the field or the topic, we had not taught this class at SIIC so we asked for Peggy's guidance. She was generous beyond our expectations:  she shared her curricula materials, her lecture notes, her history of the field, her insights about teaching at SIIC.  Going forward we became both good colleagues and friends.  Peggy willingly gave of herself, her experience, her knowledge.  Most importantly, however, she gave her heart to everything she did.  We were richer for having known her and poorer for having lost her.  I believe eternal life is created when others remember you and pass on your stories:  Peggy will be eternal! 


    Peggy Pusch and Donna Stringer


    With Gratitude to a Life: I was fortunate to have known Peggy Pusch for more than 40 years, from my entry into the intercultural field. What fun we had at SIETAR conferences over the years!  As an emerging interculturalist, she provided me with the encouragement of a nurturing mentor, and an exemplar of how to practice the synergy of the three functions of our field: trainer, educator, and researcher.  To those roles that she performed with distinction, she was a bold visionary, a willing and generous leader, a writer of clarity, and an organized  administrator.  The formation and growth of our field was reliant on colleagues who were willing to often put our collective and professional needs ahead of their individuals goals.  Peggy never shrank from those roles – in fact, she relished them—Co-founder and editor of the Intercultural Press, President and Executive Director of SIETAR, President of NAFSA, Associate Director of the Intercultural Communication Institute.  She taught and mentored hundreds of young interculturalists at ICI and in the Master’s program of Intercultural Relations.  Where would our field be without her committed efforts?   In addition to these enormous and sustained responsibilities, Peggy was able to impart her considerable intercultural skills and knowledge to trainees who benefitted from her workshops suffused with experiential practices. Peggy, you have lived a life that has increased intercultural understanding for thousands of people throughout the world. What could be a more crucial legacy?  I say farewell and thank you my colleague and friend.


    Peggy and I had met earlier, but I most remember our conversation sitting together on the plane from the Denver SIETAR conference (1988), where we agreed to do a program together the following year in Boston.  We represented different angles to the same exciting topic. I was astonished but thrilled that such an experienced professional would take on a relative novice.  But such was Peggy—always supporting newcomers to the field.

    Just before the Boston conference (1989), both Peggy and I, as members of the Governing Council, spent several days in Brattleboro working out what SIETAR International could be, since we in Europe felt a need to establish a SIETAR reflecting our European issues. This a small group of us did in Saarbrücken, Germany, several months later in November ’89 – symbolically, it turned out, the same day the Berlin Wall fell.  Peggy was always a huge support to us in Europe in that long process—for which we were always grateful. Of course, later she started and took on the leadership of SIETAR USA and many other posts.  Peggy had broad shoulders and never shrugged responsibility.

    Peggy was the engine of the growing intercultural field, not least because of her time as co-founder and president of the Intercultural Press and later with the Intercultural Institute. She had her finger on the pulse.  We are all indebted to her! Our collegial endeavors evolved early into a close personal friendship and mutual family visits in Denmark, Portland and Palm Springs, latest in August 2019.  I feel a deep loss of a close friend. God bless you, Peggy.  Rest in peace.

    Susan Vonsild, Peggy, Janet Bennett (March 2008)


    If my memory serves me correctly, I first met Peggy at the SIETAR International Congress in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1990. I had just read about this group of people calling themselves "interculturalists" a few weeks earlier and went to Kilkenny on a whim only to learn that I had found "my tribe." And Peggy was always a part of my tribe—as a mentor, friend, SIIC faculty member, SIETAR mover and shaker and fellow Board member. I felt a particular connection with Peggy because she was one of the most outspoken and steadfast supporters and allies of LGBTQ members within the SIETAR community. In 2004, I had the honor of hosting a fireside chat with Peggy at the Bloomington, SIETAR conference in Bloomington, IN, on the topic of LGBTQ equal rights and inclusion. She always made sure that LGBTQ interculturalists had a voice within the organization—which helped me find mine. Much gratitude to you, Peggy!


    I was so sorry to hear of Peggy's passing, and my heart goes out to Lew, Darryl, Rob, and all her other family members. I understand something of their loss because I myself have such good memories of Peggy and owe her so much, especially for her instrumental role in bringing me to ICI and SIIC. In 1996, I came from Japan to attend the SIIC for the first time and the experience was so fascinating that I determined to quit my company job in Tokyo and look for a business internship in the U.S. Having sent my resume to an internship organization, something happened that I still think of as miracle; Peggy, as director of the Intercultural Press at the time, accepted my application and introduced me to the ICI for a one-year internship. Her generous action allowed me to be with the ICI and the SIIC for more than 10 years after May 1997.

    In that time, I was very lucky to experience her multifaceted charm at close quarters. I saw not only her strong leadership in the field of intercultural communication but also her fascinating personality as an educator, wife, mother, and grandmother, as well as in her relationships with others around her. As the president at SIETAR USA and NAFSA, I came to understand her core honesty. One day, we were having brunch together on the terrace of a nice cafe in Portland, both ordering the same dish - eggs benedict and a cup of herb tea. I asked Peggy, “How can you handle so many roles? An introvert like me cannot imagine how you do that.” Peggy replied, “Actually, I am an introvert too.” It was such openness in her talk that I valued so much. Peggy's stories were always fun, witty, and inspiring, and listening to them let me walk with her through her life, and in the process learn how U.S. society, history, and cultures have changed from an intercultural perspective in the last 80 years. Those stories remain within me as the fondest of memories. 

    I treasure having known such a great woman as Peggy, and I know my great good fortune in having had her as part of my life. Her kindness and backing meant that I am now a college professor in Japan, something I could not have dreamed of when I first met her. I try, and will always try, to repay a little of my debt to Peggy by passing on to my own students what I learned from her. Peggy was also my dear mentor. She always attended official occasions that were important for me, such as my doctoral graduation ceremony, as well as social events like parties to which she would bring her husband Lew. My prayers are with all her family members.

    Peggy and Miki Yamashita


    In September 2001, I was in San Francisco studying under Dr. David Matsumoto during my sabbatical year. I was surprised to receive a call from Peggy saying that she would like to show me around town. This was such a wonderful offer since I was feeling very insecure after the 9/11 attack. Peggy, her husband, and her son picked me up and showed me around the gay area of SF.  She said she has a Japanese daughter-in-law and a daughter who became a son.  She was so open about the whole thing.  I was very much impressed by her love for her children.  Up to then I had kept distance with sexual orientation.  Peggy really opened my mind and heart to gay people.  She was truly a person who walked the talk on diversity.  Thank  you Peggy, for enriching my life.

  • 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

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