RIP Peggy Pusch


Lew, Peggy and son Rob

It is with a sad heart that I bring news of the passing of Margaret D. “Peggy” Pusch. Born in September of 1936, Peggy was 83 years old. She’d suffered a stroke nearly a decade ago, and had been lovingly cared for since by her longtime husband, Lew.

Peggy was a mentor to oh-so-many in the intercultural field for four decades. She was President of Intercultural Press for many years, where she guided the development of dozens of magnificent books, ensuring that invaluable information made its way to those who needed it at a time when “intercultural” wasn’t quite so popular. She authored her own respected volumes as well, including Multicultural Education: A cross-cultural training approach (1980) and Helping Them Home: A guide for leaders for professional integration and reentry workshops (1988), and contributed to many other volumes, such as the Handbook of Intercultural Training. Click on a photo to enlarge it.

Peggy performed leadership roles in the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research for many years, both internationally and in the USA. She very much helped Bill Gay, Shoko Araki, Doug Bowen and me when we were starting SIETAR Japan. She was a longtime faculty member of the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication and several universities during her career, including Antioch and University of the Pacific. Peggy was an avid experiential facilitator, publishing articles in Simulation and Gaming and playing an active role in the North American Simulation and Gaming Association.

I first met Peggy in the early 80s, when she was active in SIETAR International, a faculty member of the then-Stanford Institute for Intercultural Communication, and President of  Intercultural Press. She and Lew welcomed me into their home in Maine many times over the years, and I loved and respected them dearly. I’ll never forget her bringing the publishing contract for Ecotonos: A simulation for collaborating across cultures to my wedding! Peggy attended our very first train-the-trainer workshop for Beyond Bowing: Working Effectively with the Japanese and provided invaluable input. She loved our Redundancía: A foreign language simulation and used it in many of the trainings she conducted, and was an ardent supporter of Cultural Detective. Her son, Rob Pusch, is an instrumental member of our Cultural Detective LGBT authoring team.

The entire Cultural Detective community sends our heartfelt condolences to her family. Peggy was a pillar of the intercultural community for decades, and will be sorely missed.


[Day 1 of 5] SIETAR Europa Congress Tallinn: Daily Wrap Up

For those of you who are passionate about intercultural but, like me, were not able to get to Tallinn, Estonia for the SIETAR (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research) Europa Congress, here is Vanessa’s first day wrap up. Enjoy!


the book of ness

Wednesday was “Pre-Congress How-To Workshop Day”.  We are wrapping up, and what were the biggest take-aways?


Sabrina and I were first to present this morning.

We framed Social Media Marketing through an intercultural lens.  Have you ever been a tourist?  Have you ever been a traveler?  What’s the difference?  Tourists might just casually visit a country, without a strong connection or engagement with the local community, perhaps get easily distracted to shiny objects and come home with a suitcase packed full of purchases they didn’t anticipate.

What about a traveler?  Perhaps they spend more time planning and preparing for the visit to the new land.  Relationship building, engaging with local community, and being a conscious participant is the approach of a traveler.  Apply this to Social Media and get your passport ready for your journey.


We have more inspiring stories about building a social media campaign using competencies…

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Want to Get Interculturally “Fit”?

The image above is part of the “Got Milk?” ad campaign; the copyrights belong to their owners. We reproduce the image here to equate the ideas “Got milk?” and “Got intercultural competence?”

Got intercultural competence? Want to get interculturally “fit”?

Do you want to improve the success of your international negotiations? Mergers and acquisitions? Want to get more productivity and even joy out of your virtual teams and projects? How about jump starting the outcomes of study abroad and international education?

Intercultural competence is not something you attend a workshop about and then check it off your list. Just as physical fitness requires ongoing activity, practice, commitment and discipline, so does the development of intercultural competence. You do not become physically fit by exercising and eating right one week out of 52. Nor do you become interculturally competent merely by having lived abroad or having earned road warrior status or flight rewards. Intercultural competence requires that we take the time and focused reflection to make meaning of our experience, to apply it, and then to keep refining and upgrading it.

Physical and intercultural fitness both require ongoing, structured practice. Discipline. We can’t be physically fit if we don’t exercise and move our bodies regularly. We can’t be interculturally fit if we don’t regularly reflect on our own values and behavior, that of others, and on our skills and strategies for bridging similarities and differences and making the most of diversity by creating inclusive spaces.

Terrific. So you’re committed to the journey. You want to get started. How? Well, to become physically fit you might start monitoring what you eat. You might join a gym, or commit to an exercise program. Similarly, to develop intercultural competence you could subscribe to Cultural Detective Online. You start a structured exercise program or join a gym of intercultural competence. At less than $100/year, a subscription is definitely cheaper than most gyms!

But, as we all know, joining the gym does not give us physical fitness. We have to actually GO TO the gym! We have to actually get out of the lounge chair and move our bodies, regularly and repeatedly!  So, we promise ourselves to spend an hour or two a week for the next three to six months, going into Cultural Detective Online to reflect on our experiences, dialogue with our teammates, learn about ourselves and others, upload and debrief stories from our daily lives. Perhaps we form a group of like-minded friends and colleagues, to support and encourage one another. And, as we practice, we find we enjoy it! We come to crave it! We start to look forward to the learning and insight! The cycle feeds itself, propels itself forward; each step towards intercultural fitness encourages us on to the next.

Finally, just as on our journey to improved physical fitness we might consult a nutritionist, dietician, personal trainer or coach, once we are committed to developing intercultural competence we may find it helpful to hire a personal trainer or coach. You have access to many talented professionals via the Cultural Detective authoring team, the list of certified facilitators, and the SIETAR (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research) chapters worldwide (list of chapters with links is at lower left of the linked page), as well as various coaching associations. There are more and more classes taught worldwide that incorporate the Cultural Detective Method and CD Online. We very much encourage you to take advantage of these resources.

We would love to hear from you about your intercultural fitness regime! Please share with us so that we might learn from and be encouraged by your progress!