Meet the INvited speakers

Opening Keynote Speaker

Hamlin Grange, President DivisiPro

Bridging Cultural Differences: The Prodigal Interculturalist

The word prodigal has most often been associated with the biblical story of a wayward son who left home and wasted his inheritance on extravagant living. There is, however, another, much more positive meaning to the word. Prodigal also means to give abundantly. Today’s increasingly polarized world challenges the interculturalist to be prodigal in helping others bridge across cultural differences. Being a prodigal interculturalist is not only an aspirational goal but a call to action as we guide individuals and teams from adversity to true diversity and inclusion.

Hamlin Grange, is a diversity and inclusion strategist with nearly two decades of experience working with senior leaders, individuals, and organizations to meet the challenges and reap the rewards of a culturally diverse environment. 

As principal consultant and president of DiversiPro, he has extensive knowledge and experience with issues such as law enforcement, criminal justice, post-secondary education and the media. His work with the Toronto Police Service, for example, led to significant systemic changes around intercultural competence development in the largest municipal police department in Canada. 

As a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), he has administered hundreds of assessments and provided thousands of hours of coaching and feedback to individuals as varied as senior leaders, frontline police officers, judges and faculty members from post-secondary institutions. He is also a member of the faculty of the IDI Qualifying Seminar.

Track Plenary Speakers 

Track: The Role Of The Interculturalist: Diversity, Inclusion, And Social Justice

Jill Savitt,  President & CEO, National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Jill Savitt is a human rights advocate with special expertise in genocide prevention.  In March 2019, Savitt became the President and CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia. The Center’s exhibitions tell the story of US civil rights history and the global human rights movement, and displays the papers and artifacts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  From 2010 to 2014, Savitt curated the exhibit on global human rights at the Center. Previously, Savitt was the Acting Director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.  The Center stimulates global action to prevent genocide and to catalyze an international response when it occurs.  

 In 2007, Savitt founded and directed Dream for Darfur, a high-profile advocacy campaign that pressed the Chinese government to take specific actions regarding the Darfur crisis in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Games. The New York Times Magazine profiled Savitt and the initiative. Savitt was the Director of Campaigns at Human Rights First from 2001 to 2007 and taught a course on human rights advocacy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). She began her career as a reporter for WAMU, the NPR affiliate in Washington, DC.  Savitt graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Track: The Role Of The Interculturalist: Working With Specific Cultures

Joe Lurie, Author and Educator

Decoding Cultural Disconnects With Refugee And Immigrant Populations

In the spirit of the conference theme of "From Adversity to Diversity," Joe Lurie presents a revealing exploration of misperceptions of and miscommunications with various refugee and immigrant populations, with a particular emphasis on different approaches to health care, religion, employment and politesse. In the process, we may be reminded—even stunned by the limitations of our own cultural and experiential lenses when engaging with these communities, and likely amazed at what we can learn about ourselves and gain from others through the eyes of a stranger, for as a North African proverb suggests, "The Camel Does Not See its Hump!"

Executive Director Emeritus of UC Berkeley’s International House where he served for two decades, Joe Lurie currently offers Cross-Cultural Communication training, keynotes and intercultural classes for a wide range of organizations. His work has focused on the sources of miscommunications and misunderstandings across cultures which has been featured in his courses and presentations at UC Berkeley, Osher Institutes for Lifelong Learning, the World Affairs Council and the Commonwealth Club of California; he has presented at Google, American Express, the Institute of International Education, Linkedin, Tsinghua University in Beijing and various refugee/immigrant support organizations. He's also been asked to serve as an Intercultural Communication Trainer for NAFSA'S Trainer Corps.

A former director of semester and summer programs abroad for the School for International Training in France, Kenya, and Ghana, Joe lived in Europe for four years, and lectures widely for UC Berkeley's Cal Discoveries in Africa, Asia and Europe ; he is fluent in French as well as Swahili which he learned as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya . Formerly Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for AFS Intercultural Programs in the United States and National Study Abroad Chair for NAFSA'S Association of International Educators, Joe holds an advanced degree and Diploma in African Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he was recipient of an NDFL Fellowship in African Languages. His writings have appeared in Harper's Magazine, US News and World Report, profiled on NPR and featured in a 2019 interview on C-Span's Book TV. He inspired and was featured in a national PBS documentary about UC Berkeley's International House and is author of the award-winning “Perception and Deception –A Mind Opening Journey Across Cultures,” published in an expanded second edition in 2018 by Cultural Detective/Nipporica Associates. For more information about Joe and his book, visit:

Track: The Role Of The Interculturalist: Building Skills And Taking Them To The Market Place 

Tatyana Fertelmeyster, and Vicki Flier Hudson

From Passion to Payment and Back: Staying True to Your Purpose While Growing Your Business

It all started with a SIETAR-style conversation—the kind in which minds are ignited by each other, sparks of ideas fly, and constant interruptions are unavoidable because you just have to finish each other’s sentences. “Mind your own business” was at the core of that conversation. How do you actually mind it? What does it take to plant your passion, water it with sweat (and yes – a lot of tears) and see it grow or watch it resist your efforts?

Tatyana and Vicki, two very different women, owners of two very different intercultural businesses are joining forces to challenge SIETARians to examine the intercultural skills that are essential business development and business building and asking why we are often so good at being our own obstacles.

If feeling like an imposter or second-guessing yourself when deciding on how to charge for your work sounds familiar – join in on this conversation. Interculturalists are supposed to be experts in reinventing ourselves. Get on board – next stop is business success!

Tatyana Fertelmeyster,
Trainer, Consultant

Tatyana Fertelmeyster, born and raised in Moscow, Russia, came to the United States in 1989 as a refugee. Being a journalist by training, she went back to school in the US and became a mental health counselor. Tatyana’s work experience before becoming an intercultural and diversity consultant and trainer included refugee resettlement and counseling for Russian- and English-speaking individuals, families, and groups.

Founder and Principal of Connecting Differences, Tatyana is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in Intercultural Competence, Diversity and Inclusion, Global Agility Development, and Facilitation for Multicultural Groups. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.

At this point in her life and her career, Tatyana is most passionately focused on a centerpiece of the intercultural and diversity work – on all of us as humans at the heart of exciting and potentially hazardous professional field. She offers her services, support, and mentoring to colleagues in the US and around the Globe.

Tatyana’s involvement with SIETAR in addition to presenting at every SIETAR USA and many SIETAR EU conferences over the years included everything from being a SIETAR USA president, Conference Chair, or Advisory Board Member to being an official conference photographer (with a great enthusiasm and not a very good camera).

Vicki Flier Hudson, 
Trainer, Consultant

Vicki Flier Hudson is the Chief Collaboration Officer of Highroad Global Services, Inc., a company that exists to release the power of diverse teams. She offers keynote presentations, workshops, and organizational strategy for working effectively across differences. She has brought training and consulting to companies like Procter & Gamble, IHG, UPS, The Home Depot, The Coca Cola Company, NASA, Martin Marietta, and many more. She is the author of the book Zen and the Art of Offshoring: How to Build a Collaborative and Profitable Team with Your Partners in India, and a recipient of Kennesaw State University’s Instructor of the Year award for International Programs.

Vicki is a certified DISC practitioner and a certified Driving Forces Analyst. She is also a certified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), a certified facilitator of the Cultural Detective methodology and a trained coach through CTI (Coaches Training Institute). Previously, Vicki supervised and conducted training for Distribution and Manufacturing for Immucor, Inc., a worldwide blood bank automation company with affiliates throughout the globe. She also spent several years as a software analyst specializing in multi-country software implementation. Vicki has lived and/or worked in Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Nepal and Thailand. She developed a knack for riding camels, rickshaws, buses, and cement trucks across the globe, and enduring Indian train rides exceeding fifty-five hours at a time. She has traveled in several countries including Austria, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, England, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Panama and Singapore. She is an active member of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR), Japan-America Society of Georgia, and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), and served on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce and TAG's International Business Society. In her spare time, Vicki sings and plays guitar in two hard rock bands, Overtime Crew and The Spirit of Rush.

Closing Keynote

Amer Ahmed, Speaker, Facilitator

Dismantling the ‘U.S. versus International’ Dichotomy: Creating Synergy between Intercultural and Diversity/Social Justice Approaches to Confront 21st Century Challenges

Intercultural approaches are often adopted by those in organizations who engage in international and ‘global’ efforts while Diversity and Social Justice approaches tend to be viewed as only applicable in U.S. contexts.  As the trend of 'Globalizing’ Business, Higher Education and other sectors rapidly accelerates, there are many missed opportunities due to the lack of synthesis of the two approaches.   This dichotomy often prevents us from understanding the relationship between local and global factors that impact our ability to engage constituencies holistically.  For example, by engaging issues related to immigration and more specifically undocumented people in only one of these approaches, it prevents us from understanding the relationship between local and global factors impacting diverse contextual realities around the world.  In addition, the integration of these approaches better highlights the historical context and inequities created from power dynamics that must be considered in order to effectively navigate intercultural realities in our world today.

Dr. Amer F. Ahmed is an organizational strategist who helps institutions and leaders address diversity and inclusion, equity, and intercultural development through consulting, coaching, group facilitation, and keynote speeches. A frequently requested speaker nationwide, Dr. Ahmed’s approach is grounded in a commitment to Inclusive Excellence in organizations and communities. He brings his identity as the son of Indian Muslim immigrants and extensive years as an intercultural and diversity consultant as the sources of a pivotal understanding of the depth of diversity and inclusion work. Throughout his career, Dr. Ahmed has worked with large organizations, higher education institutions, non-profit agencies, schools and community groups to create understanding and change among key constituents and institutional leaders.

His thought leadership and keen sense of the latest trends informs his approaches to helping groups address potential areas of opportunity to grow and develop. Dr. Ahmed incorporates deep theoretical knowledge of the field combined with a variety of methods including storytelling, discourse on current events and connections to art and music in order to move audiences to profound awareness of issues and next steps. He has published key opinion pieces and has been featured in media such as MSNBC, documentary film, and other national press outlets for his commentary and critical perspective on news and significant topics in society.

Dr. Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of AFA Diversity Consulting, LLC, a consulting practice dedicated to enhancing the development of organizations through efforts around leadership, professional development, assessment, and strategic change. In addition to his consulting work, Dr. Ahmed serves as Faculty at the Summer and Winter Institutes for Intercultural Communication and is a member of SpeakOut: Institute for Democratic Education.

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Wild Apricot theme design and development by Webbright