The Young Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research (Young SIETAR) is an international association which combines the efforts of students and young professionals from a wide range of practical and academic disciplines who share a common concern for intercultural relations. Through various activities Young SIETAR provides a unique opportunity to build a bridge in this dynamic field between newcomers and professionals, educating a new generation of interculturalists.
The process of founding Young SIETAR took four years from the idea to the point that the environment was ready to recognize Young SIETAR as an organization within the SIETAR world. The Young SIETAR initiative dates back to 1993 when Veronique Kilian started to develop the idea. This resulted in a policy plan that was spread in 1994 at the SIETAR Europa congress in Prague.
Veronique Kilian then started to work with an operating board - being Young SIETAR's first president. The board consisted of young professionals living in the The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. This small but vibrant group devised a rough vision which is now Young SIETAR. Many discussions with both SIETAR International and SIETAR Europa paved a way for the interculturalists of tomorrow. Support was gathered from all around the globe and the small group of pioneers began an endeavor with much potential.The first Young SIETAR newsletters, flyers and brochures were developed and spread at the joint SIETAR congress in Munich in 1996 - the first seeds of Young SIETAR were planted.
Later that year, in the season of 1996/1997, a small group led by Veronique organized monthly activities dealing with intercultural issues. The group also organized Young SIETAR's first Annual Congress in Amsterdam - the final recognition of Young SIETAR. A grand success, approximately 60 participants from around the world were mesmerized by three days of intercultural academic learning. The organization began to take shape, and with great enthusiasm a Governing Board was installed who started working on the tasks at hand, with the ultimate goal of creating an intercultural virtual society transcending space, time and organizational boundaries.
In ten years of committed and inspired work, Young SIETAR has created an intercultural and academic horizon, that is constantly explored and developed; a fascinating field of social and cultural, academic and professional diversity and interaction, taking place on a global scale.
Young SIETAR is willing and able to overcome geographical distance by using today?s technological advancements to create and facilitate a so called virtual society. As we of course don?t wish to replace the real world, we use this virtual society to stimulate and coordinate local, transnational, cross-cultural, and global activities, where its members have the unique opportunity to exchange intercultural knowledge and experiences with each other.
Young SIETAR does not only see itself as an active organ within a vast network of interculturalists, but also as an independent organization that produces and shapes its own activities. Aware of the technological advances of the 21st century, Young SIETAR sees the World Wide Web as the ideal medium of presenting and evolving this initiative. Virtual teams work across space, time and organizational boundaries on the various projects. With the help of interactive tools such as e-groups, bulletin boards and electronic messaging, individuals are able to connect and share thoughts and ideas with other Young SIETAR members situated on the other side of the globe. The importance of the geographical distance is thus reduced and cultures are brought closer together. Our working tools offer Young SIETARians a unique learning experience in virtual communication. Young SIETAR feels confident in tackling the everyday challenges of the virtual world.
Our goal and challenge is to create and run a solid but lightweight organizational framework, and to share our vision with as many people and supporters as possible. But we can?t do this alone. We need help and support from our members to make it all work. Young SIETAR is a member-run organization whose people dedicate a lot of time and energy to the society?s cause on a purely voluntary basis. Although it can be hard work, it?s always fun to meet people from different countries and work with them on various projects, and it?s also a great way to make new friends. Therefore, we invite our members to participate in our different project groups to fulfil a variety of tasks (please see projects for examples of our current projects).
If you would like to develop yourself within this context and are open-minded enough to link with individuals from foreign cultures, we think that Young SIETAR is the right place for you. The possibility of becoming a member and play an active role in shaping the future of Young SIETAR is just one click away. All teams and project groups are permanently looking for new members who are willing to invest some time and energy realizing the many initiatives within a rich and diverse network.
We hope you enjoy your visit and we look forward to your reactions.