Over 300 friends and colleagues from around the world came together virtually on Saturday, August 6, 2022 to celebrate Janet Bennett’s life and life’s work.
Following Janet’s wishes, the remembrance was a joyful gathering —albeit with a tear or two— in which we reflected on her wisdom, humor, grace, generosity and impact on so many.
Among those who shared their favorite Janet memories and how she influenced their paths were:
Shizu Yamamoto Tokai
Mick Vande Berg
Anita Rowe & Lee Gardenswartz
We heard from them about…
- how Janet made all who crossed her path feel special, seeing in them unique potential and talents that they often didn’t see in themselves;
- when, at the end of a long week of training in the US Midwest, a janitor who had been observing from the back of the room approached Janet, speaking with her in Chuukese (“Trukese”), delighted to have unexpectedly found someone familiar with and appreciative of his Micronesian homeland;
- the time that Janet and Kent Warren spontaneously broke into a waltz(!), dancing, singing, and laughing together in tandem down the hallways;
- how, despite her stature and leading role in the field, Janet put all she met —colleagues, learners, and strangers alike— at ease, finding ways to skillfully, subtly, and masterfully demonstrate how in how everyday interactions and encounters we have the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of another.
The virtual event was organized by Sandra (Sandy) Whitmore-Garrison and Dorothy Sermole, also on behalf of Theresa Seaton and Steven Dowd. It was hosted by the Institute for Developing Across Differences with the involvement of Melissa Liles, Michaela Carrière and Gordon Watanabe.
The IDD is honored to play a leading role in the Janet M. Bennett Intercultural Library initiative.
As a co-organizing member of the project consortium, work is underway to launch a globally accessible version of the Library in 2023.
The IDD will house, organize and digitize a portion of the (original) materials, with shipments arriving in September and October 2022.
Learn more at intercultural.org.