A few words from our new President

Dear Members, dear Friends and Followers,

Welcome to this new edition of our newsletter, which is coming out a bit later than usual this year. Responding to the major turbulences caused by the pandemic, our editorial team quickly rethought its contents.

Governments and individuals around our planet have been forced to reorganize and improvise in just about every aspect of life, starting with basic human relationships and moving on to working together and simply planning for an improvised future… I want to believe that when we look back on this period in a few years, we will take pride in the lessons learnt and in how much the human race was able to heed the signs, reshape our thinking and stand up to the challenges we faced on this planet.

The confinement period already brought home to us many positive aspects that I’d like to focus on: solidarity, resilience, and prioritizing what’s good for our planet and its inhabitants.

Meet our new board:

Here is a lovely picture of our current board taken at our February 25th AGM, when physical closeness was still our regular way of life.

As you know, our first action as a board involved pushing back our 2020 Congress, which hopefully will be able to take place from the 23rd to the 25th of October, 2020. Our next step was to switch our program to online sessions, with a focus on our leap into the virtual world. Those actions seemed, indeed, the best we could do to help our members deal with the prominent part that virtual meetings and trainings and related technologies have suddenly begun to play in our lives. Our next “Workinar” – “Rethinking Intercultural Interactions through Digital Media”—will take place on June 8th in style of a World Café.

From left to right Kimberly VanLandingham, Gundhild Hönig, Arnaud Detourbet, President Sabine Baerlocher and Vice President Jillaine Farrar

A very special thanks to our former president:

This newsletter would not be complete without the recognition of Anne-Claude Lambelet’s devotion to and achievements for SIETAR Switzerland. She remains extremely active and engaged at both the Swiss and International levels, as you will see further in this newsletter.

In this edition:

You will find an article by Jillaine Farrar, Vice President of SIETAR Switzerland, on “Working Through COVID19 Times and Beyond: What could be the next normal for intercultural education, training and research?”

One of our Congress panelists, Lucy Antrobus, shares the story of how her new organisation had to re-invent itself and its way of working to support the migrants it serves in “Unleashing potential in a time of uncertainty and refugees adapting to covid-19: Stories from a Swiss NGO”

You will also find information on#SIETARCovid_19, a special project capturing SIETARians’ experiences during the lockdown.

We have two great books reviews, both addressing the African continent. Thanks to George Simons for reviewing Benoît Thery’s book “Intercultural Management in Africa: The Renaissance”, and to our editor Tawa Braimah for reviewing “Developing Global Leaders: Insights from African Case Studies, Palgrave Studies in African Leadership, 2020” by Eva Jordans, Bettina Ng’weno, Helen Spencer-Oatey.

The interest and need for robust knowledge of the African continent should also be well served within SIETAR circles by the creation of a Special Interest Group, Africa, which is currently being formed under the patronage of SIETAR Europa. Another Special Interest Group, SIETAR Lebanon, is also being launched as a first step to formalizing the creation of this new national entity.

Last but not least, you will find updates on two of our current projects. The first is SIETAR Switzerland‘s collaboration with the Swiss Students’ Union on their “Perspectives-Studies” project for refugees, and the second is our newly created Working Group on “Value Recognition for the Profession” – clearly an important topic for all of us at the current time.

Happy reading and hope to meet you in the real world again soon!

 

Sabine Baerlocher,

President SIETAR Switzerland

 

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