Start a SIETAR

SIETAR Europa currently serves as the worldwide hub for SIETAR information and services. It also serves as the membership organization for individuals in Europe and neighbouring countries who have no local SIETAR group to join. It assists in the formation of local SIETAR association in these areas.Individuals from other parts of the world can apply to any SIETAR organisation for membership (some SIETARs may only accept members from their own geographical region).

Local chapters may also be formed within National SIETAR groups (found within “SIETAR Worldwide Links” on the right of this page). Normally this is done through the governing board of the SIETAR in the country they are located. However, the guidelines found here may be of help in forming such chapters.


To start a new local SIETAR, you need to:

  1. Assemble a group of interculturally active and interested people who subscribe to the SIETAR philosophy, mission and purpose.
  2. Notify SIETAR Europa or your national SIETAR of your intention to form a local group.
  3. Create statutes and by-laws, in accordance with local legal requirements for benevolent or not-for-profit associations. The SIETAR Europa Statutes and By-Laws will give you a model of what is involved.
  4. Form a clear organisational structure in line with these statutes
  5. Create a clear financial structure and fee-structure for the support of the new organization and for participation in the larger SIETAR community.
  6. Form an agreement with SIETAR Europa or your national SIETAR for official acknowledgement and participation in the organization and financial arrangements of the society

For a full list of the formalities of creating a new SIETAR group please go to our page on statutes and best practices.


When you make your intention to form a SIETAR group known to SIETAR Europa, a liaison to the SIETAR Europa Board of Directors will be appointed to assist you and will be your liason with the larger organization.

Normally, interested individuals already are or can become members of SIETAR Europa or become SIETAR Associates until their local organization takes shape. This provides you with online workspace until you have your own website, and notifies others of the formation of your organization.

SIETAR Europa can provide you with models and tools for creating the structure and agreements required to become part of the larger organization.


The experience in other countries and local groups suggests that a core group of 9 or 10 motivated people, working in the intercultural field is a good basis for forming an association. The following tips have been adapted from those developed by SIETAR Houston.


  • Start to hold meetings and educational events.
  • Find and involve other people in your network, draw in other people who may be interested in the aims of SIETAR.
  • Look for and involve people who may be in your area who already belong to a SIETAR or the SIETAR Associates group
  • Have a regular and public meeting place (not someone's house, and try not to move the meeting from month to month): universities, civic centers and churches are good places to start
  • Have a regular meeting time (Saturday morning seems to be the best time for most people)
  • Meetings should have a standard, repeating "format" (e.g., Welcome, Announcements, Experiential Exercise, Speaker)
  • If possible, provide refreshments at monthly meetings
  • Create a long term mailing address which will not change (we use the office of a member)
  • When you are well established, look into how a new organisation could become legally registered as a not-for-profit or benevolent society with govening bodies in your local and national area.
  • Keep records and archives for future reference


  • Choose a president or chairperson with a vision, a passion for intercultural work, and some formal intercultural education
  • Choose a vice president who has few defined responsibilities, but is versatile and flexible
  • Create a mission statement. Create a vision statement which excites the imagination of the members. (Creating these statements is extremely important and time consuming.
  • Adhere to mission of SIETAR in all that is proposed
  • Hold annual elections
  • Maintain a strong Steering Committee:
    • Balance the composition of the Steering Committee to include people from all the following groups: organizational, marketing, financial, creative and intercultural. A Steering Committee of only educators will not have all the skills necessary to grow.
    • Invite people to become part of the Steering Committee only after they have been chapter members for one year. Invite local members to Steering Committee meetings.
    • Use team building activities within the Steering Committee at least two times per year.
    • Clearly define well the roles and responsibilities of Steering Committee
    • Steering Committee should meet once a month
    • Maintain minutes of the Steering Committee meetings for your records
  • Create clear goals, short and long term (ours are one, three and five year goals
  • Foster slow and steady growth. (many opportunities will arise tempting the group to overextend the capabilities of the organization)
  • Cultivate volunteers
  • Maintain correspondence with national and other SIETAR groups
  • Develop a clear idea of your target audience


  • Choose a treasurer who can give financial advice, as well as maintain accounts
  • Determine fiscal year
  • Create and adhere to a budget
  • Report monthly to the Steering Committee, in vocal and written form, the expenditures and revenues to date as compared to budget
  • Join the credit union of a member to decrease service charges of checking account
  • Give receipts for "donations-in-kind" to encourage members to give anything to the chapter
  • Encourage members to donate cash gifts to the chapter, either for specific projects or for general administration
  • Discourage donations to any other organization, or for payment to any member representing the chapter at an event, unless the chapter is affluent. The tendency is to spend, forgetting the effort it took to gather the funds.
  • Charge a guest fee for non-members (e.g. 7€00 nonstudents, 5€00 students)
  • Display a collection jar to accept contributions for refreshments/snacks

Public Relations and Advertising

  • Develop a PR list of organizations and institutions which will receive monthly notices of your meetings and activities
  • Send monthly meeting announcements to newspapers and radio
  • Send monthly meeting announcements to academic institutions and cultural organizations
  • Send announcements by fax and email whenever possible; it decreases substantially the cost of postage
  • Include two telephone numbers on all PR and advertising materials
  • Put up colorful flyers advertising meetings in strategic locations, including university and community college departments, especially ESL, anthropology, sociology, psychology, education, language departments, political science, history, etc.; other civic groups, such as diversity organizations, ethnic
  • Record the names and details of callers. Distribute this list to other members of the Steering Committee so that they can acknowledge the visitors when they arrive at the meeting
  • Spend considerable effort establishing a relationship with someone who writes for a major newspaper; the most powerful position would be that of someone employed by the newspaper, not someone paid by the piece.
  • Respond to columnists in the local newspaper who indicate an interest in any intercultural topic. Offer to give them material to write something of interest to both of you.
  • Convincing newspapers to write feature articles about intercultural topics is a difficult and time-consuming job; you need the right contact at the right time; you must be capable of working with them on their timetable.
  • Develop liaisons with other organizations for mutual benefit.
  • Create a Web site, if possible. Acquire a domain name for your online presence.
  • Ensure that correspondence and publications are of "professional" appearance
  • Create a brochure
  • Consider volunteering as a group to support local social or charitable initiatives. The events can be fun, serve as a good team builder and will often get the name of your chapter before the public.


  • Survey members yearly to find out which programs are of most interest; ask them for names and contact numbers of speakers
  • Start contacting prospective speakers in February for programs in autumn
  • Publish the schedule of programs at least four months in advance so people can get interested and mark their calendars
  • Programming should meet the needs of members and address a variety of interests (education, training, research, country-specific, simulations, etc.)
  • Make an effort to get outside speakers. They will tell others about your organization as well as bring new ideas to the group.
  • Utilize the members' skills and expertise for presentations
  • When you're fairly stable, consider co-sponsoring programs with similar organizations.


  • Charge membership dues and raise when appropriate!
  • ALWAYS respond IMMEDIATELY AND ENTHUSIASTICALLY when someone inquires or wants to join. Make sure the person in charge of this has the energy, time, and inclination to respond in this manner.
  • Have always a supply of membership forms on hand so that anyone expressing a desire to join can do so immediately.
  • Value your members
  • When the group is stable, offer Institutional memberships
  • Send out letters to members who have not renewed their memberships
  • Do not give away memberships as gifts


  • If possible, provide speakers to groups who request a speaker


  • Network within the university community to identify people who might know of grants available to fund outreach programs
  • Be clear for what reason you are fund-raising
  • Consider a new book sale at a monthly member meeting.
  • Check with Nicholas Brealey, Butterworth Heinemann, Sage, etc.
  • Hold a used book sale at a member meeting


  • On occasion, organize "pot-luck" lunches to occur immediately after the monthly meeting
  • Select a different restaurant each month where members who want to continue talking can do so in a relaxed atmosphere.

Useful links

  • Statutes (including procedures for creating a new SIETAR under SIETAR Europa)
  • Board members (including New SIETAR liaison)