In 1974, a group of professionals working in the intercultural field formed the Society for Intercultural Training, Education and Research (SIETAR). This interdisciplinary network became the largest of its kind, and now includes over 3,000 interculturalists and 15 national and regional groups world-wide.
SIETAR BC was founded in 1992 as a not-for-profit entity incorporated under the laws of British Columbia. As part of the international SIETAR network, SIETAR BC aims to promote cooperative interaction and to build a network to provide mutual support and exchange of information a the local, regional, national and international regions.
Our members are active in a variety of areas, including educational institutions, business, consulting and training, migration and development aid, government, NGOs, and health services to name a few. We welcome members from all areas. (See the membership page for more information about how to join.)
Our MissionSIETAR BC's mission is to encourage the development and application of knowledge, values and skills in all individuals as a way to enable effective intercultural, inter-racial and inter-ethnic relations at the individual, group, organization and community levels.
Our main objective is to bring awareness and understanding of how culture affects education, policy-making, and business. We work to help people increase communicate across their differences and promote the exchange of ideas and experience in the intercultural field.
Additionally, SIETAR BC works to:
- promote the goals of the SIETAR global network in British Columbia, Canada;
- raise intercultural awareness at all levels of society;
- encourage and develop knowledge, skills and values to facilitate intercultural interactions in the community;
- raise awareness of the intercultural professions and support those who practice them; and
- promote cooperative interaction and build a network among members for mutual support and information exchange.
2013 Executive Committee
The following members were elected to the Executive Committee for the 2013 year:
Natasha Aruliah, Co-President
Trained as a Counselling Psychologist, Natasha has specialized in couples, family, and intercultural counselling and has worked with international students, at-risk youth, immigrants, refugees, aboriginal people, interracial/intercultural couples, and families, both in Canada and Great Britain. Currently, she is a consultant, educator and facilitator in all areas of equity, diversity, social justice and inclusive practice, integrating Intercultural theory, Emotional Intelligence and Social Justice practice. Her work includes designing and delivering programs and consulting on policy and implementation for a variety of settings. Natasha is on faculty, facilitating courses for the University of BC’s Centre for Intercultural Communication, and at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. She is a founding faculty for the Inner Activist program and continues her counselling work at an Aboriginal Healing centre. She is sits on various boards, such as the Multicultural and Anti-Racism Advisory Board for the Vancouver School Board, the Canadian Women Voters Congress, The Citizens Advisory Board for the Official Opposition Minister for Multiculturalism, Citizenship and Immigration and the Adler School of Professional Psychology. She has been involved with SIETAR for over 10 years; and has presented at SIETAR USA, SIETAR France, SIETAR UK and Young SIETAR conferences.
Terry Rogocki, Co-PresidentTerry has an M.A. in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University, a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Alberta, and a Certificate in Intercultural Studies from UBC. He is also expected to complete the Certificate in International Development at UBC this summer. Over the past 20 years he has worked at the University of Alberta’s International Centre as a peer educator for both Canadian and international students, in Japan as an English teacher and researcher, in Vancouver as the International Student Advisor and then Director of a private school, and in Sri Lanka as a Livelihoods Development Advisor. Terry currently works as an instructor at UBC and BCIT and as a soft-skills trainer at SAP Software. He has been a member of SIETAR BC for three years, and is Co-chair of the Oxfam BC/Yukon Regional Steering Committee.
Zhenyi Li, Vice-PresidentZhenyi Li views intercultural communication as his career, passion and personal life. He was critical in establishing the MA in Intercultural and International Communication program at Royal Roads, the first of its kind in Canada. His research interests include intercultural branding and marketing and the connection between intercultural communication and health-related knowledge, attitude and beliefs. Li is a consultant, trainer and volunteer in his community, dedicated to promoting intercultural understanding, cross-cultural adaptation and multiculturalism. He is a long-time executive member of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR) in B.C. and Europe.Li joined Royal Roads in 2005, after teaching intercultural communication at the University of British Columbia in Canada and the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland. He guest lectured at Simon Fraser University, Queen’s University in Canada, Lille Catholic University in France and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Since 1995, he has done training, research and consulting in the field of intercultural communication. In 2001, his book Cultural Impact on International Branding: A case of marketing Finnish mobile phones in China was published. He has also published several book chapters, dozens of journal articles and thousands of blogs on intercultural communication.Li obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East China Normal University in Shanghai and his PhD in intercultural communication from the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. In 2011, he won the Kelly Outstanding Teaching Award from Royal Roads and the Innovation in International Education Award from the Canadian Bureau for International Education.
Eric Meyer, Treasurer/Membership Coordinator
Eric will be finishing his MA in International and Intercultural Communication at Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC in March of 2013 and has a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a Major in International Business and a Minor in Economics from Carleton University in Ottawa, ON. Besides having focused his education in the international arena, he has traveled in Europe, south east Asia, Australia, New Zealand and China. He also volunteers with the BC Cancer Foundation where he has created, organized and managed his own fundraising events, helped out with many other fundraising events and spoke to groups as an ambassador for the Foundation. His professional background is in the software industry where he has worked for both large multinational organizations and in the fast paced start-up environment. His hobbies include playing hockey, skiing, golfing, being out on or around the water and travelling.
Peter Wanyenya, Co-Chair Programming
Peter Wanyenya earned a M.Ed in Human Development, Learning, and Culture from UBC and also has an academic background in commerce. In his current role, Peter advises, coaches, mentors, and coordinates supports and resources for UBC’s major international award students as well as supports the WUSC-UBC Student Refugee Program. He also provides advising services and engages in programming for all other international students. Peter has worked and volunteered in various organizations locally and nationally that foster resiliency and developmental assets for “at-risk” children and youth. He has also provided anti-oppression training in a variety of formal and informal educational settings.
Jennifer Wesman, Co-Chair Programming
Jennifer is passionate about intercultural communication. Working in management, community development, and post-secondary teaching, Jennifer applies her knowledge of IC to the fields of literacy, health, and education. She holds a Master’s Degree in Professional Communications with specialization in Intercultural and International Communications from Royal Roads University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University. Jennifer has coordinated programs and worked extensively with immigrants, refugees, and other newcomers through her work with Frontier College, Multicultural Family Centre, Canucks Family Education Centre, Britannia Community Centre, and Little Mountain Neighbourhood House. She currently works with international students and teaches cultural studies at Simon Fraser University. In 2012 Jennifer joined Royal Roads University as an Associate Faculty in the School of Communication and Culture. In this capacity she has supervised an international field study in China, and continues to teach both online and on campus for RRU. A lifelong learner, Jennifer is passionate about discovering people and places; Jennifer has travelled extensively throughout Africa, China, Indonesia, Eastern and Western Europe. She has been involved with several international development projects and is an honorary member of Rotary International. Jennifer was an advisor for Vancouver's 2011 and 2012 International Mother Language Day, and assisted with communication work for REACH Community Health Centre's executive board of directors. She was a founding member of the Lugari Community Resource Centre in Kenya, and was an executive board member for WHISCA (Willing Hearts International Society Canada). Jennifer is fluent in English, with a beginner’s knowledge of Kiswahili, Ukrainian, and Mandarin.
Ceyda Gultan, Communications Coordinator
Ceyda (jay-da) Gultan has over 18 years’ management experience in human resources and training within multi-cultural corporate environments. After leading many organizational change projects for variety of financial, corporate services and hospitality industries, she launched a management and training consultancy business for the world’s leading hotel and service group. After immigrating to Vancouver in 2007, she has volunteered for over a dozen not-for-profits, including the Vancouver Community TV Association, Vancouver Chapter of the International Coach Federation, Career Management Association of BC, Vancouver Community College, Richmond Civic Engagement Network, SUCCESS, Burnaby Multicultural Society, Vancouver Waldorf School, and Sunrise Rotary Club. Since 2004, she has been coaching company executives for sustainable personal success. She specializes in diversity management, group and team coaching, and organizational consulting related to global leadership and diversity themes.She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management and Development. She is an Accredited Certified Coach and a Certified Human Resources Professional. She also holds a Certificate in Intercultural Studies from UBC and she has been a member of SIETARBC since 2007.
Sabrina Ziegler, Social Media and Web Coordinator
Sabrina Ziegler has been with SIETAR B.C. since January 2013 and from the start became the Executive Member responsible for Social Media. Sabrina has been in the intercultural field for over ten years. She has worked with international volunteer organizations and is currently the Community Manager for the Intercultural Communication Institute, the Events Coordinator for Young SIETAR. In her role as the Young SIETAR Events Coordinator, Sabrina will be chairing the Organization Committee for the Young SIETAR Congress to take place June 2014 in Vancouver.Professionally Sabrina is an intercultural, enhancing communications and interculturally focused social media educational designer and owner of Authentizen.com. Sabrina holds a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Communication from Dublin City University (DCU) in Dublin/Ireland. Originally from British Columbia Canada, Sabrina lived in Europe (Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands) for 8 years where she travelled extensively before recently returning to her hometown on Vancouver, B.C.
Ahnes Hong, Member at Large
Ahnes has worked with students in a post-secondary context for the past 14 years. She spent five of those years in Korea teaching English as a Foreign Language at a private university. Ahnes has been with UBC's International Student Initiative for the past six years, where she is currently an International Student Recruiter-Advisor. She primarily works with prospective students from Asia, Europe and Africa. In this last year, she traveled to all three continents in her portfolio, visiting nine different countries. She holds a Masters degree in Drama (University of Guelph), an Arts Specialist Bachelor's degree (University of Toronto) and a Certificate of Intercultural Studies (UBC). This is her second year on the SIETAR executive.
Mark Dawson, Member at Large
Mark Dawson attended his first SIETAR BC event in 2011, and has been a member since 2012. He graduated from Royal Roads University Professional Communication - IIC stream in 2010, and has a Bachelor of Communications from Simon Fraser University. His interest in intercultural communication piqued when he attended the SFU Semester in Dialogue. His volunteering and education has most recently taken him to South Africa as a volunteer; to India as an intern with UNICEF; and on a cultural exchange to Shandong, China. Mark is currently growing his skills in social media, media relations, and communications as Media Manager for the PACWEST. He looks forward to working in post-secondary education where he hopes to inspire university students to pursue similar international experiences. In his spare time he enjoys running and triathlon.