Welcome to SIETAR USA Ethics

In 2013, SIETAR USA created the Living Code of Ethical Behavior (“LIVING CODE”) as a guide to performing exceptional intercultural work. This document has been periodically reviewed and updated (in 2016, and most recenty in 2021.) We believe this ethical code improves the standing of our field in the eyes of our clients, prospective employers, and other professionals. We invite you to explore the ethics pages here on the website to learn more about the LIVING CODE and the opportunity for members to designate themselves as Ethical Interculturalists. Click here to view the full LIVING CODE document.

Introducing Your 2021 Ethics Committee

The SIETAR USA Ethics Committee and Chair are responsible for the coordination of educational activities designed to support the understanding of and participation in the LIVING CODE. On a regular basis, the committee will review the LIVING CODE and supervise any proposed revisions deemed necessary to reflect current and timely issues. The committee is available to assist members who have ethical concerns in their intercultural work, and will oversee the submission and processing of complaints regarding possible violations of the LIVING CODE.

The following members of SIETAR USA served on the 2021 Ethics Committee, and several have been involved in this process since the LIVING CODE was created in 2013. All have a deep interest and commitment to abiding by the LIVING CODE. They stand ready to support you with ethical issues that you face in your intercultural work and to keep the LIVING CODE alive. We encourage you to contact us at info@sietarusa.org

Your 2021 Committee
Kurt Nemes, Ethics Committee Chair
Bettina Byrd-Giles
Sandy Fowler, Immediate Past President
Luby Ismail

Alan Richter 
Cheryl Woehr, Professional Development Director

Purpose and History

Click here to learn about the purpose and history behind the creation of the LIVING CODE and the team who developed this mechanism by which colleagues, clients and prospective employers can judge SIETAR USA members’ ethical standing.  

Endorse ("Sign") the LIVING CODE

You're not affixing your signature to a traditional document, but indicating within your membership record your commitment and willingness to abide by the Living Code of Ethical Behavior. SIETAR USA members, you can find instructions for accessing your membership record to indicate your agreement (or confirm that you've already done so.)  Click here for instructions: Endorse the Living Code


SIETAR USA members who designate themselves as Ethical Interculturalists have pledged to abide by the LIVING CODE. 

Click here for a list of those members who have endorsed the LIVING CODE and made the commitment to the ethical standards professed by SIETAR USA. 

Ethical Practice - Resource Material

Looking for additional resources related to practicing as an Ethical Interculturalist? Click here for a list of resource materials.

Have a resource to recommend? Submit details to admin@sietarusa.org.

Messages from your Ethics Committee

November 2021

In 2013, SIETAR created its first Living Code of Ethical Behavior. Since then, high profile societal events have thrown into relief the sharp contrast between espoused values and lived experiences. As leaders in intercultural understanding, SIETAR USA has issued statements condemning systemic racism after the murder of George Floyd, the forced separation of immigrant children from their parents, and the armed insurrection at the U.S. capitol. Many businesses and organizations are following suit and have begun developing and implementing strategies to dismantle structural drivers of inequality to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. In 2021, the Ethics Committee and a team of volunteers took up the task of updating the Living Code to make it more relevant and useful to its membership in this dynamic landscape and also examine whether structural inequalities exist in the organization's own make up. After initial stakeholder consultation and review with leader and SIETAR USA’s membership, the committee has developed an updated version of the Code which was approved by the SIETAR USA Board of Directors on November 3, 2021.

Ethics: Because It Makes Us Better

May 2016 


Ethics define who we are, what we consider to be right and wrong. They are our guiding light, professionally and personally.

They help us to set boundaries; they guide us when to say “yes” and “no”.

They force us to question our assumptions and revisit issues that we thought were long resolved.

In short, they make us better professionals and better people.

Honestly, how much better can it get?

The creation of the SIETAR USA Living Code of Ethical Behavior (the Code) was a long, challenging, and sometimes, painful process. There were times the proposal of a code of ethics met resistance.  It was perceived by some as a restriction of freedom and creativity.  It triggered a fair amount of ambivalence and a degree of unease that impacted and contributed to the vibrant discussion around a code of ethics. We struggled, created, argued, compromised, revisited, innovated, often all at once. This process reflected the strength of SIETAR USA as an organization. The result is a one of a kind code of ethics that has motivated other SIETAR organizations to follow that path.  The Living Code of Ethical Behavior represents a remarkable testimony of perseverance, creativity and innovation. It is proof that SIETAR USA is a living organization with an abundance of expertise, creativity and motivation.

The members of SIETAR USA happen to be a highly diverse bunch from all walks of life, very different professional backgrounds and with a tremendous cultural diversity.  A code of ethics in such an organization has to be an ever changing, dynamic one. One that should be part of an ongoing discussion and questioning of who we are, whether our organization is still aligned with the Code and whether we are personally still abiding by the Code that we signed.  Our Code is not an eternal law; it is alive, and dynamic. A work in progress. It wants to be questioned. That is what makes it so different from any other professional code of ethics.

We are now entering into a new phase. Our task is to keep breathing life in the Living Code of Ethical Behavior – because that is what we committed to.  We hope the Code will be embraced and enhanced by every Intercultural Professional.  The Ethics Committee, along with the SIETAR USA Board of Directors, will work tirelessly to promote it. In addition, this group of dedicated and experienced professionals will be there for you to give answers to questions that you might have about ethical behavior within and outside SIETAR USA. We invite you to participate in ongoing conversations to grapple with the issues and to engage one another in discussions about ethics.   Please join us in implementing the Living Code of Ethical Behavior in life, work and within SIETAR USA.

Ethics challenge us to look into the mirror. Let’s embark on a journey of increased self-awareness and professional development together!

SIETAR USA members who sign the Living Code of Ethical Behavior can proudly display this emblem in their communications.  Members are encouraged to contact the Ethics Chair to learn more about the benefits of committing to the Living Code of Ethical Behavior.

November 2013

Greetings Everyone:

I am following up on our successful launch of the new “Living Code of Ethical Behavior” during the 2013 conference in Washington.  Many of you in attendance signed the code.  A list of signees appears in the Ethics section of our website. The “EI” (Ethical Interculturalist) icon is now available for your use.  We encourage all other Members to sign the code by means of the Electronic Signature Process in the Members only/Ethics section of our website.

We encourage everyone to help make this a living code by submitting any resources that you think may be valuable (comments, examples of great ethical behavior, links, articles, etc). You can do this by sending them to me (michael@tuckerintl.com) and I will get them on our website.

Our new code brings many values, among them are:

            Raises Professionalism of Interculturalists and our Society

            Provides Comfort and Peace of Mind to us as we face ethical dilemmas

            Enhances Competitiveness by setting us aside as ethical practitioners

Michael F. Tucker, Ph.D., CMC Trustee; EI
SIETAR USA Ethics Chair 2014-2015

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