mario_sikora_headshot2Flying into Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago, Chile, is a breathtaking experience. For the final 15 minutes of a very long flight from the United States, one flies alongside the rugged and still snow-capped Andes mountains before landing in one of the most modern and cosmopolitan cities in all of South America. The descent into Santiago takes my breath away each time.

IEA Chile President Erika Sieber Gamboa opens the Santiago conference

Once landing in Santiago last week, however, my focus quickly turned to my excitement about the reason for my trip–to attend the first Latin American Enneagram conference, hosted by the Chilean affiliate of the IEA. I was excited for a number of reasons, not the least of which was knowing that the Enneagram was first taught publicly by Oscar Ichazo in Santiago in the mid-1960s, not far from where this conference would be held. The conference seemed testament to the fact that the Enneagram has gone from being something of a closely held secret to being a widely known system of understanding human nature.

Conference Attendees

The conference exceeded everyone’s expectations. About 150 people from across Latin America (and a sprinkling of Norteamericanos) gathered for two and a half-days of community and learning from a diverse set of engaging and informative speakers. The conference went off without a hitch, and I can attest that the international presenters who did not speak Spanish were made to feel welcomed and genuinely appreciated by the organizers and attendees. Among the most intriguing events was a panel of Chilean Enneagram teachers from different approaches and backgrounds who all went away with a genuine appreciation and admiration for their fellow presenters.

This sense is shared vision on display in Santiago—the ability to move beyond personal bias and self interest to move toward a world where the Enneagram is widely understood and constructively used—was also vividly on display at the international conference in Long Beach this summer. The board takes this as is a sign that the IEA is fulfilling its mission of providing its members with opportunities to increase excellence, education, and community in the Enneagram world.

Russ Hudson with 2013-2014 IEA president Maria José Munita

Speaking of conferences, the request-for-proposal deadline for the 2013 International IEA conference inDenver passed on October 31. Despite moving to a new online submission format and becoming more rigorous about the proposal process, we had an increase in proposal submissions of 30% over last year, with proposals coming from professional members in 17 countries. Unfortunately, we have far more proposals than we have slots for presenters so some people may be disappointed at not being chosen, but this inundation of proposals shows how excited people are to be part of the IEA.

Next up is the European Enneagram Conference being hosted by IEA France in April 2013. Proposals are still being accepted for that conference, and the affiliate also has the “problem” of having received more proposals than they have slots for presenters. For more information about the conference, or to submit a proposal, contact at Benedicte De Navacelle at [email protected].

If you can bear to be in Paris in April, I will look forward to seeing you there.


Mario Sikora
President, IEA Board of Directors
[email protected]