When I began my career in intercultural communications, SIETAR Japan had just been established. I immediately joined! I had just returned to Tokyo from an international assignment with a Japanese company in New York City and had first-hand experience of the struggles that global teams faced in communicating with each other. Watching the rampant miscommunication among my team members at work set me on a new career path, as an intercultural consultant. SIETAR Japan provided the support and community to learn and grow from my many talented sempai. I am very happy to be able to pay it forward!
The field of intercultural communications has evolved greatly since then, highlighting a key strength of the SIETAR Japan organization. Since its inception, SIETAR Japan has bridged the academic, research and corporate training worlds, combining theory and practice. This creates added depth to each part, strengthening the whole. As a corporate trainer and executive coach, I want to play a role in building links among our 3 core areas of focus.
The abrupt challenges of the pandemic have created a new momentum for change. The shift to virtual classrooms, whether in an academic setting or a corporate office, has forever changed our expectations of learning. SIETAR Japan’s online conference in 2020 was our first, and very successful, leap into this new world of technology. The steering committee and I are already planning our next digital steps.
Finally, it makes me very happy to see that Young SIETAR Japan is once again active so that our members can continue to mentor the next generation of interculturalists. Our Young Sietarians will be the global leaders of the future and I am thrilled to see the events they are planning, and their participation in the annual conference. In 2020, nearly half of our conference attendees were students.
As I begin my term as SIETAR Japan president, I want to express my deep appreciation to past president Makiko Deguchi, and to all previous presidents, who devoted their time and energy to making SIETAR Japan the inclusive, bilingual organization that it is today. It is representative of the varied backgrounds and experience of the membership of SIETAR Japan that this is possible.
SIETAR Japan will continue to stand for equality and respect for all.
Diane Walsh SASAKI, President of SIETAR JAPAN