SUSA News December 2014: Dr. Janet Bennett receives prestigious award, pioneers reveal burning issues in the intercultural field, President-Elect Patricia Coleman unveils 15th anniversary annual plan and more...

President's Letter

New Year Welcomes New Leadership, Continued Passion for the Intercultural Field

Dear Friends,
I’m very pleased to report that we had an excellent conference in Portland, Oregon in October of this year. Many thanks to the amazing conference team, keynoters, presenters, attendees, and everyone else who made it a wonderful experience for those who participated. It was great to see so many of you in Portland. If you couldn’t make it, we hope to see you at our conference next Fall.
As I end my term as President at the end of December, I’m excited about the composition of our Board of Directors moving forward. We have a collection of extraordinary Directors—all volunteers and each with their own areas of expertise and ways of contributing. Thank you for your response to our Call for Nominations. We have a great slate of new Directors and a great group of returning ones. We’re always looking for new talent—so please keep in mind the possibility of serving in the future. I’ve been amazed over the past nine years at the collective energy and positivity of our Board. It’s a great group, and it must be constantly renewed with people willing to serve.
Starting in January, Patricia Coleman will be taking over as President of SIETAR-USA. I’m confident that you will be as impressed as I have been (in her year as President-Elect) with her leadership skills and positive outlook. She’s got a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and great ideas for our organization. No need for me to go into greater detail—just see below the details of SIETAR-USA’s 15th Anniversary!
As we start the New Year, let’s all spread the word about SIETAR-USA. I believe our mission is to spread Love—what an important mission! The vast majority of our members who I’ve met revel in and enjoy the many things we share: an intercultural perspective, a deep desire to foster mutual understanding, a passion for the field, and a great enjoyment of gathering with other interculturalists (in person or virtually) to connect, collaborate, and grow. Let others know about SIETAR-USA as we work to build our membership base and reach the many people out there who would absolutely love being a part of our group—and have yet to discover us.
I wish you the best for a wonderful New Year: full of hope, opportunity, prosperity, positivity, and creative and fulfilling endeavors—both work and play.
Warm regards,
Christopher Deal, Ph.D.
President, SIETAR-USA

President-Elect Patricia Coleman Celebrates SIETAR-USA's Anniversary with Monthly Events

Twelve years ago, I found out about SIETAR-USA from a colleague who basically said: "You need to go to this conference. Just register. Trust me." This person was such a mentor that I blindly trusted her and next thing you know I am entering this venue full of smiles, engaging in warm and deep conversation about cultural differences, sharing my personal and professional anecdotes of perception gone wrong and finding my audience to nod and "get it." I had found my utopia.
Now 12 years later and after many SIETAR conferences locally and globally, serving on committees and various board positions and growing my professional network and worth, I found myself at a crossroads where a little voice asked: "What now?" It meant: "How can you make a bigger difference?" The answer came right away with the support and encouragement of several SIETARIANs to accept the nomination of President starting in 2015. After elections, I had a year as President-Elect to formulate my vision for 2015. Although it was clear to me that the 15th Annual Conference would be an opportunity to celebrate 15 years of evolution for SIETAR-USA, I felt that members deserved more. We made it this far due to the loyalty of many, starting with our strong SIETAR international foundation. How best to recognize and thank them? Celebrate them, I say! How? All year long!

Let’s celebrate all year and then I look forward to welcoming you to my home, the Sunshine State—Florida for the 15th Annual Conference.

Patricia Coleman, SIETAR-USA President-Elect, 2015-2016


You‘re Invited to the Party!

Happy 15th Anniversary, SIETAR-USA!

SIETAR-USA is throwing its 15th anniversary party for its members on the 15th of each month of 2015 and you’re invited! Mark your calendar!
Below is what we have planned so far for each 15th of the month, with so much more to come. Listen in on a podcast, participate in a webinar, join a tweet chat, cash in on a one-day product discount! And then, when we get together in October at the 15th Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida at the Gaylord Resort, we will really party!
Would you like to host one of the monthly parties? Offer a discount for your product? You can make it as easy or complex as you’d like. We’ve left several months open for members to host. Every month is available for a discount! Contact Naomi Ludeman Smith at Let the parties begin!
Dr. Janet Bennett’s Leadership Forecast for the Intercultural Field
As the recipient of SIETAR-USA’s 2014 Margaret D. Pusch award, we are very pleased to have Dr. Bennett kick-off our 15th Anniversary monthly parties. More information will be posted soon on our website
Black History Month: "Uncovering the Secrets of African Americans' Contributions Around the World"
Our new SIETAR-USA President Patricia M. Coleman and Past President Kelli McLoud-Schingen will host this month’s conversation. More information will be posted soon on our website
"How to Use Technology to Build Your Platform"
Cate Brubaker, Ph.D. and Sabrina Ziegler will give you a “behind-the-scenes” look at several of the events and tools they’re using to create their online platforms. Check out some of their free virtual events they’ll reference in this “behind-the-scenes” webinar. Go ahead, click away! 
#MyGlobalLife Monday - Every Monday
#GlobalLifeChat - 1st & 3rd Tuesday of each month
15th Anniversary SIETAR-USA’s Conference Website Launch!
Join the Tweet Chat. Be the first to register, check out the website for this year’s theme, conference resort location and directions for submitting a presentation proposal. Then pass the word to your colleagues and make your reservations!
Membership Profile Update Month + YOU!
Did you know that nearly every month, SIETAR-USA institutional and individual members search our membership directory for regional and area expertise to fill their needs? Would they be able to find your expertise on the membership directory? Add value to your SIETAR-USA membership. Update your profile today! We also invite you to host this month’s party or offer a discount on one of your products. Contact Naomi Ludeman Smith at
Reading Hong Kong, Reading Ourselves—SIETAR-USA’s Common Read
Join us for a book discussion with editor and author Janel Curry. Fulbright Scholars from a range of fields describe their experiences living in Hong Kong. Order it online. Read it. Then join us for this lively online discussion. Local groups, we encourage you to choose this as your June meeting. We can help you arrange for Janel or another author to join you virtually.
We invite you to host this month’s party or offer a discount on one of your products. Contact Naomi Ludeman Smith at
Early Bird 2015 Conference Highlights, Plus Interviews With Our Sponsors! 
Membership Mentoring Program
Hear the benefits from mentors and mentees who’ve participated in SIETAR-USA’s Mentoring Program.
October 15
15th Anniversary Membership Party in Orlando, Florida at the Gaylord Resort! See you then!
November 15
We invite you to host this month’s party or offer a discount on one of your products. Contact Naomi Ludeman Smith at
We invite you to host this month’s party or offer a discount on one of your products. Contact Naomi Ludeman Smith at profdevelopment@sietarusa.

Margaret D. Pusch Founders' Award presented to Dr. Janet Bennett at 14th Annual Conference

Dr. Janet Bennett, the 2014 recipient of the Margaret D. Pusch Founders’ Award accepted her honor at a closing banquet ceremony at SIETAR-USA's 14th Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon. She was chosen for this award since she so richly exemplifies both the letter and the spirit of it. Candidates for the award must meet or exceed criteria in each of four categories: Service to the Profession, Contributions to Community, Contributions to SIETAR-USA, and Professionalism.

Dr. Bennett said that it is an incredible honor to get an award from your peers. “What makes this such a powerful field to work in are the professional colleagues who have worked side by side with me over the decades,” she said. Her colleagues would say the same about working with her.

It was said that no one in the intercultural field is more appropriate to win this award than Dr. Bennett. In fact, she is truly the embodiment of this award. Her service has been life-long. Her commitment to the field, its research and literature, the tens of thousands of students and interns who have participated in the Summer Institute of Intercultural Communication (SIIC) and her service to SIETAR-USA are exemplary. Hers are the shoulders that many interculturalists stand on. She exemplifies the best in the intercultural field and has done so for many decades. Receiving this award meant a great deal to both her and to SIETAR-USA in its recognition of this outstanding individual.

Sandra Fowler, SIETAR-USA Member and 2012 Recipient of the Margaret D. Pusch Founder's Award

Seasoned Interculturalists Share Lessons and Insights at Inaugural Senior Summit in Portland During Conference

Pioneers in the intercultural field have long requested some time dedicated for them to interact as a group. In response to that need, the 2014 conference included an all-day session to which a number of senior interculturalists were invited. Participants were asked to briefly highlight their intercultural careers, and we discovered that over 600 years of experience in the intercultural field was represented in the room.

The following Seniors/Pioneers were in attendance:

•    Janet Bennett
•    Sylvia Cowan
•    Sandy Fowler
•    Robert Hayles
•    Karen Huchendorf
•    Bruce La Brack
•    Esther Louie
•    Monica Mumford
•    George Renwick
•    Heather Robinson
•    Dianne Hofner Saphiere
•    Barbara Schaetti
•    Donna Stringer
•    Maria Thacker
•    Michael Tucker
•    Gordon Watanabe
•    Gary Weaver
•    Rita Wuebbeler

Near the end of the summit, we split into four groups to discuss two topics:
 1) What have we learned from our history?
 2) Burning Issues

What have we learned from our history?: The field emerged from real world problems/needs; we need to better reap our past knowledge; however, we need to re-evaluate our received wisdom against new research, experience and complementary disciplines’ findings, e.g., W-curve. If methods/techniques are repeated too often, they can become truth even though they are fallacies. There has been a dramatic increase in content. Most of it is group-specific content and some of it is of poor quality. Much is also condensed to be used in shorter periods of time.
What has not increased is attention to process…the process of learning and the process of delivery. Along that same line, culture-general material is often lacking except among those with good education and expertise in the field.  The high levels of content without process sometimes give the illusion of mastery. Another issue discussed was the relationship between diversity/inclusion and intercultural which seemed to be working toward cooperation and collaboration but now seem to be moving farther apart; we need to figure out how to create a big tent where we can come together.
In a related burning issue: The diversity/inclusion and intercultural fields can inform each other on solutions for managing the experience of "Third Culture Kids" (TCKs) coming across the border, both from the standpoint of the children and the communities receiving them.

Burning Issues: Many issues were international in scope. For example, Ebola and other international crises like Iran and ISIS: the U.S. reaction often escalates quickly, contains a huge element of fear, and contains cultural misinformation or no cultural information. If intercultural wants a seat at the policy table, we must reach out to other disciplines: military, healthcare, etc. The media were mentioned as an issue. They tend to exaggerate problems/crises. The intercultural field has concentrated largely on the individual or individuals relocating or working with people from other cultures. We need to move away from the individual to the national and regional levels to fight stereotypes and bring some cultural understanding to the tough situations. This goes back to early debates in the field that essentially were never resolved, i.e., do we focus on the individual or the nation?

Education and training were mentioned: Our Ph.D. programs are in jeopardy. Ongoing, nationally-recognized, endowed chairs are retiring and not being replaced. Youth these days are not majoring in Intercultural Communication but in more lucrative subjects. Our visible junior faculty pipeline is diminishing. We must focus on talent development and recruitment and retention of talent. We need to use intercultural insights for solving mission critical situation-based issues that occur especially in organizational development and leadership development.

Burning issues also include the need to learn about and incorporate what we know from neuroscience that is relevant to our work. We also need to address the lack of process and dealing with the affective, emotional and uniquely human aspects of learning in this arena.  We need to address the things that, to date, only humans can do well.  That means handling complexity, change, multiple variables, emotion, etc.  Also, the intercultural field has ignored spiritual diversity, internationally and domestically. When we do talk about it, we talk accommodation rather than building together or collaborating. As a field, we need to better summarize and apply our key concepts so that others can use them more easily and effectively.

Sandra Fowler, SIETAR-USA Member

Rita Wuebbeler Recognized for Outstanding Member Contributions

SIETAR-USA is honoring members who have demonstrated excellence in service to the organization. Below are highlights of Member Rita Wuebbeler's contributions:
  • Joined SIETAR International in 1990
  • Became SIETAR International Board Member in 2008
  • Was a SIETAR USA founding member in 2010
  • Has served on SIETAR-USA Advisory Board 
  • Started SIETAR Pride Across Cultures (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender & Allies) Special Interest Group with Roger Shaff in 1992/93 and has been leading the group ever since
  • Is a member of SIETAR Germany and SIETAR Europa and attends their conferences on a regular basis
  • Has attended 13 SIETAR-USA conferences 
  • Has been a loyal mentor - formally and informally since the beginning of SIETAR-USA
  • Has presented at every conference since 2010
  • Has been a driving force in leadership development and often "encourages" SIETAR-USA members to become board members, some of whom became President (Heather Robinson, Kelli McLoud-Schingen, Patricia Coleman)
  • A resident of Atlanta GA, currently raising awareness about SIETAR-USA to the diverse Atlanta communities and interculturalist pool
In 2015 we would like to feature a SIETAR-USA member who is a making a difference to the organization. Email:, Attn: Netashia, if you would like to nominate someone. 

SIETAR-USA's Mentoring Program

For those of you who've participated in the Mentoring Program, you know what a tremendous SIETAR-USA member benefit this professional development opportunity truly is. And it goes both ways—mentor and mentee! 

If you've participated in the past three years, please join the Board in saying a special thank you to Mentoring Chair breidi Truscott Roberts for her professional "match-making" service to SIETAR-USA members. She ends her term commitment this month, passing on the coordination to Karen Haggerty Trémel (pictured at right).

Karen is an independent intercultural consultant as well as a Master’s candidate in Intercultural Relations at the joint University of the Pacific/Intercultural Communication Institute (ICI) Program. She also serves as a GLLab Associate at the Global Leadership Advancement Center. You can contact Karen at

New Membership Outreach and Diversity Director

SIETAR-USA members are the reason the organization keeps growing. The role of Director of Membership Outreach & Diversity constantly reviews, renews and retains memberships. As Chris Peltier embarks on a new career, please join the Board in wishing him farewell and welcoming Netashia Bolden who will fulfill the role, effective immediately through 2015. 
Netashia is a passionate interculturalist, with degrees in Psychology (Bachelor) and Global Strategic Human Resource Management (MBA) from American University in Washington D.C., including a focus on intercultural communication and training design and facilitation. She has experience designing and executing diversity-focused recruiting campaigns. She has served as a hostess and conference co-chair for the Sponsors, Exhibitors & Advertisers committee for two consecutive years. 


What Do You Think?

Eye on Ethics Incident: "Not My Idea"

A colleague has incorporated a process learned from involvement in another organization in a train-the-trainer program, in which I have been involved as a co-facilitator to deliver on several occasions.  This originating organization has now informed everyone that permission to use any of its intellectual property outside of the organization will not be given.  However, those who attended the train-the-trainer have used the process and may now be using it in their own programs.
What provision(s) of the Living Code apply in this Incident?:
What should be done?
  1. Should we now go back to all of those who attended the train the trainer and alert them to the fact that they do not have permission to use the above-mentioned process? 
  2. How about communicating with the originating organization and tell them that they did not mark or state this restriction earlier, so that the external trainers will continue to use the process? 
  3. She should do nothing.  This is not her problem.
Join the conversation and submit your ideas to by December 31, 2014 for a chance to be posted in the upcoming newsletter! 

Local Group News


SIETAR Philadelphia will be launching in 2015!  An initial planning meeting will be in February—exact date and location to be announced. If you are interested in getting on our email list and/or would like to be a part of the first planning meeting to discuss programming, topics and speakers, please contact Genienne Navarro at, 561-568-2917. We will be offering intercultural development in a variety of areas: higher education, business, tourism, immigrants and refugees, K-12 education, peace studies, conflict resolution, international exchange, non-profits, and community activism. Join us and be a part of the 2015 launch to set the direction for this new group!

SIETAR-Richmond, VA

Leslie Bozeman, a former SIETAR-DC member and coordinator, and Joe Hoff, a former SIETAR-Minneapolis member, have begun an effort to establish a local SIETAR group in Richmond, VA, functioning under the name InterculturalVA. They held interest meetings in April and May and a meeting for the general public in November. For their first meeting, there were representatives from the fields of K-12 education, higher education, social services, and the business community.  Currently, their main focus is building a network of participants and determining the needs of Richmond-area professionals relative to intercultural education, training, and research. For more information and to learn about the next meeting, please contact


We are pleased to announce that the Davis International Center at Princeton University has accepted our invitation to host meetings for the development of a SIETAR-NJ Local Group. We are excited to partner with Princeton and to offer an opportunity for New Jersey-based interculturalists to meet and explore the potential for creating a local community for professional development and social connections. Please contact Rashmi Kapse: or Valli Murphy: to receive details about the first meeting in 2015.

Valli Murphy, Local Groups Chair

October 14-17, 2015

The Sunshine State invites you to celebrate SIETAR-USA's
15th Anniversary during the 15th Annual Conference.

Join us in warm and sunny multi-cultural Orlando, Florida at
the Marriott Gaylord Palms Resort, where Florida's pioneering
history meets today's innovative path to the future!

Sign up for our email list at to receive updates
about the conference, the proposal submission process and more.

Contact us at

The SIETAR-USA Sponsors, Advertisers & Exhibitors Committee and our 2014 Sponsors wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

For information on sponsoring or exhibiting in 2015 please email


Contact Us



Stay tuned: SIETAR-USA will be updating its newsletter format soon!
Copyright © 2014 SIETAR-USA, All rights reserved.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp