SIETAR USA June Newsletter
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President's Message

Dear SIETAR USA members, friends, and colleagues,

Summer will soon be upon us and planning for our annual conference is well underway! Read on to learn more about our conference location of beautiful San Diego, California, as well as our two conference co-chairs, Sandy Fowler and Janet Bennett. The conference Call for Proposals final deadline of June 1 recently passed and we received over 124 proposals, showing intense interest by members and non-members alike in learning with and from our fellow intercultural professionals. Finally, several SIETAR USA members were in attendance at the SIETAR Europa congress in Dublin, Ireland this past May 22-27 in support of our sister SIETARs from around the world.

Here's to a wonderful June!

Holly Emert, Ph.D.
SIETAR USA President

Holly Emert

Annual Conference 2017

Why should I attend?
You are a member of SIETAR USA because you understand the importance of professional development to share your own experiences and increase your own skills. You attend SIETAR USA conferences not just for the amazing presenters and for the immense knowledge that you acquire in a short time, but for the wonderful friends you make and networks you develop. The 2017 conference will be no different--come prepared to learn!
conference photo

If you are a first time attendee or determining if you can attend this year, here are 5 ways your participation in the 2017 SIETAR USA conference empowers you:
  1. STAY INFORMED: The SIETAR USA conference is the largest event in the United States dedicated to intercultural education, training and research.
  2. INCREASE YOUR KNOWLEDGE: Presenters at this conference are at the cutting edge of intercultural scholarship and practice. The wide variety of presentations include workshops, panel discussions, Pecha Kucha presentations (new for 2017!), reflective forums, artistic expression, plenary sessions and keynote speeches.
  3. NETWORK: Attending the conference puts you in touch with the best in the intercultural field. You can learn from other attendees about latest trends in training, education and research and meet with interculturalists from all over the world. It is also the place to connect with new colleagues and re-connect with the people you know from previous conferences. 
  4. EXPLORE AND LEARN: The program will include sessions that target your particular intercultural specialty such as diversity and inclusion, cultural identity, or myriad other topics, or client group be they students, business professionals or other like-minded professionals. In addition, you can branch out and explore some new ideas and add to your repertoire from areas that you have not explored in the past. 
  5. KEEP UP TO DATE: Exhibitors at the conference provide information on the latest versions of assessments, books, and training programs. Talk with the innovators and professionals who are the creators and distributors of products that speak to the work of interculturalists and diversity and inclusion professionals.


Sandy FowlerQ: Considering you’ve already organized two SIETAR conferences, why did you decide to co-chair the 2017 SIETAR USA conference?

A: They say it’s three times and out, which I think means this should be my last time. I’ve also heard that the third time is the charm and this time it will be perfect. Perhaps a perfect conference would be boring and we are definitely not planning a boring conference. Working on the conference gives structure to my days, I’m working with one of my favorite people: Janet Bennett, SIETAR has given me so much over the decades and it’s one way I can give back. The conference is in my home town, what more can I say?

Q: What would need to happen at the conference for you to consider it a success?

A: If just one person came up to me to say it was the best conference they’ve gone to this year; that would be success. Even better would be if someone says it’s the best SIETAR conference they’ve attended. And best of all, if it’s the best conference they’ve ever gone to, that would be for me amazing success. It’s not that they are telling me, it’s that they had such a good experience. It just takes one…

Q: How is organizing the SIETAR conference different from organizing other professional meetings?

A: Much is the same: attention to detail, finding good people for the committees, keeping the structure in mind. What is somewhat different about SIETAR conferences is the serious attention to inclusivity, sensitivity to difference, creating an experience that is comfortable, familiar and stimulating and exciting at the same time.

Q: What are the other SIETAR conferences you chaired?

A: The SIETAR International conference in 1993 in Washington, DC was my first to chair. I had been part of organizing committees prior to that. We put on a pretty amazing conference that included an entire day on diversity and inclusion, plus two tracks for teachers and for law enforcement personnel. The Saudi Arabian Embassy hosted a dinner one evening where we all sat on the floor. The second conference which I co-chaired with Sue Shinomya was in Denver in 2011. I especially liked that theme: Risk and Resilience in an Intercultural World. We had three special keynote speakers: Todd Conklin, Robert Cross, and Pari Namazie. There is such a thing as a “SIETAR hotel” and the Westin in Denver was one of the best. It almost rivals the one in San Diego for 2017. When I walked into the Crowne Plaza in Mission Valley, knew it was a "SIETAR hotel," meaning one with an intimate atmosphere perfect for networking and learning.

Q: How many SIETAR conferences have you attended? Which one was your first?

A: I’ve attended every SIETAR conference since my first in 1979 in Mexico City until the Orlando conference in 2015. My husband died that year and I regretfully couldn’t make it to the conference. I did get to Tulsa last year though for the 2016 conference and thought it was exceptional.

Q: When you got your Masters’ Degree from San Diego State University, where did you think you would be in 2017?

A: I certainly didn’t think I’d be back in San Diego. Actually I now live in Carlsbad, a bit up the coast. For me, the mecca of intercultural activity was in Washington, DC. I was fortunate to get the job of running the U.S. Navy’s intercultural program and I was pretty settled in for the long haul. And then I met Ray. When it was time for him to retire, we had to decide where to do that. He wanted to live in Florida and I wanted California so we compromised and lived in both places for part of each year. I’m quite sure I wasn’t thinking that as I approached 80, I would still be professionally active but it’s the best way to go!

Q: What is your favorite thing to do at a SIETAR conference?

A: Schmooze with old and new friends but I also like finding a session that is out of my comfort zone.

Q: What are you most proud of?

A: My son Jim, and daughter Monica who is my SIETAR legacy, and two grandchildren Ted and Allie. No greater accomplishment…

Janet BennettQ: Considering that you’ve been involved in SIETAR since 1974, why did you decide to co-chair the 2017 SIETAR USA conference?

A. Perhaps because I have been involved in SIETAR for decades, co-chairing the conference comes naturally as part of the commitment. And when Sandy calls and invites you do this, the only potential answer is “YES!”

Q: What would need to happen at the conference for you to consider it a success?

A: This effort would be satisfying if at the end, we could believe that intercultural and diversity and inclusion fit together in remarkably powerful ways, could see that we have a meaningful role to play in the current world, and could find some hope in continuing this complicated, but ultimately rewarding work. Keep the faith.

Q: How is organizing the SIETAR conference different from organizing other professional meetings?

A: I only organize intercultural events, and I think they all share a mandate to be real, to be authentic, to honor the ways of others. It is a tall order, but part of what we stand for. This makes high context thinking an essential tool.

Q: What are the other SIETAR conferences you chaired?

A: This is my first time! My involvement in SIETAR has been in numerous other positions, from board member, to advisory committees of various sorts, to marketing SIETAR at our own institutes, to housing Peggy Pusch as SIETAR Executive Director for years at ICI.

Q: How many SIETAR conferences have you attended? Which one was your first?

A: My first was Montebello in Montreal, and I knew I was home. I have been to every SIETAR since then except a couple that were overseas during graduate school when funding was a bit scarce, and one other one.

Q: When you got your PhD from the University of Minnesota, where did you think you would be in 2017?

A: In a climate warmer than Minnesota? Ah, you mean professionally! I had no idea. I knew it would be intercultural, however. My years in the Peace Corps guaranteed that. And I knew I wouldn’t be a full-time professor, since I am a natural administrator. In fact, my graduate school cohort tended to have the women become administrators, and the men, professors. So after grad school, I immediately became a department chair, then a dean, and then executive director of the Intercultural Communication Institute.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do at a SIETAR conference?

A: So many stimulating people, ideas, discussions! I love it all. I treasure being in the midst of knowledgeable professionals, engaged in important work, bringing different perspectives to dialogues. That’s SIETAR!

Q: What are you most proud of?

A: Having the privilege of teaching, training, and writing in a community of dedicated people. And sometimes, being able to make a difference.

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Still deciding if you should go? Make it a vacation with your family to just enjoy your "ME" time. Here's a little information on our location:

Fun Facts about San Diego:
  • Old Town120+ craft breweries (many recipients of national and international awards)
  • 100 diverse neighborhoods
  • 90+ public and private golf courses
  • 70 miles of coastline
  • 33 glorious beaches
  • 18 state parks
  • 1 national park
  • fantastic weather! 
Some San Diego History:

Although the Kumeyaay people had been living in the area for around 12,000 years, the recorded history of San Diego (the name translates to “Saint James”) began in 1542 when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay, earning San Diego the title of the birthplace of California. Over 200 years later Spanish Missionaries established a mission in 1769. Their original mission is in sight of the Crowne Plaza Hotel where the SIETAR USA conference will be held. After decades of Spanish and Mexican rule, San Diego became part of the United States in 1848. California joined the union in 1850.

The city of San Diego is bisected by Balboa Park, the nation’s largest urban, cultural park. Originally home to the 1900 Pan American Exposition, the Park contains 17 architectural gems housing museums, the Old Globe Theater, an Imax theater, the arts of Spanish Village, and more. Balboa Park also houses San Diego’s world famous zoo, home for 3700 animals. Many are rare and endangered species, like baby pandas, snow leopards, Tasmanian devils, Sumatran tigers, Komodo dragons and the largest koala colony outside of Australia. We suggest you plan to stay for several days after the conference to explore San Diego and its attractions (the conference hotel rate is guaranteed for 3 days before and after the conference)!
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SIETAR Europa Congress

SIETAR Europa photo
A few of the many SIETAR USA representatives at the SIETAR Europa Congress in May 2017!
Several SIETAR USA members and friends from the United States attended the SIETAR Europa Congress from May 22-27 in Dublin, Ireland. The congress theme was Cultural Dexterity in Turbulent Times. 

Here is a representative sample of SIETAR USA session presentations:
  • Patricia Cassiday, " Multicultural Identities: Creating a Sense of Home"
  • Elmer Dixon, "Challenges in Policing Diverse Communities"
  • Holly Emert, "Fostering Intercultural Competence through Holistic Program Design"
  • Soumaya Khalifa, "The Rise of Islamophobia in the United States in a Donald Trump Era"
  • Patricia Malidor Coleman, "From Wonder Woman to "I" wonder woman!"
  • Valli Murphy and Brett Parry, "Dexterity Across Cultural Differences: Tools for Identifying Challenges and Developing Potentiality"
  • Sue Shinomiya, "Deeply Disconnected: Our Public and Private Selves in the Age of Continuous Connectivity"
  • Peter Stark, "Navigating Chaos - Leadership"
  • Maria Thacker, "Setting your Ethical Compass"


Patricia Malidor-Coleman SIETAR USA current board member and SIETAR France President, Linda Vignac. Once everyone left Dublin the networking did not stop as Patricia met with SIETAR France president, Linda Vignac in Paris for a friendly get together. 

Patricia says: "As a French American, it's important to me to keep our Global SIETAR ties tight and build strong bridges. I cherish SIETAR USA but also SIETAR France. We look forward to many Europeans attending our conference in San Diego October 18-21, 2017."

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SIETAR USA, All rights reserved.

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