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SIETAR Europa is Europe's largest association of interculturalists and is part of the worldwide SIETAR network.
Dear fellow SIETARians,
I am reminded by the words of Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet who wrote;
“A traveller is not he who walks fast and tires easily, a traveller is he who walks slowly and consistently.”
When I reflect on life’s journey, my experience has shown that it has been the moments I have spent along the journey, taking time to think, explore, falter, analyse and question which have provided me greater opportunities for personal and professional development, than reaching my destination.
Before the Board elected me, I shared a concern with them and said, “I have something I need to share with you, I need to tell you that although I live here in Europe, I am not European, I am somewhat of an outsider and a migrant.” Although I was a student in the UK many years ago and a SIETAR member since 2002, I migrated to Europe in 2010. I come from a region riddled with war, where democracy struggles to put down roots, where truth holds many masks, where the bonds of friendships and families runs strong, where distrust runs deep, where freedom is a word written on a wall.
And today one of the biggest concerns we share in Europe is the migrant issue. Migrants come in strength and number, knowing not what the future holds, but with a deep belief of hope for a better future. Europe embraces us, fears us, threatens us, loves us… Together we will face many challenges, hopefully learn from each other and evolve. There is so much to learn from one another, if we are prepared to see. This brings me back to Rumi’s wisdom of walking slowly and consistently, learning from each other, taking time on the journey.
And for our SIETAR Europa community, I feel it is also our time to be part of this journey, to examine our role, not only in the bigger picture of Europe but also within our own community, consolidating our values, mission and vision and finding a unified voice. I hope we can continue this journey together, it might at times be too slow for many of us but hopefully it will be consistent. In this same light, I look forward to working closely with our new Board, our diverse and active members and each national SIETAR in order to understand our different needs and priorities and how we can move forward one step at a time.
As a final word, I would personally like to thank Claude Bourgeois, the past SIETAR Europa President, although it was a short presidency, I greatly admire and commend her passion, commitment and energy to SIETAR.
With warmth and light,
Pari Namazie, PhD
President of SIETAR Europa