The Spirit of ICHRIE
Similar to the “Disney Magic” or the “Hyatt Touch” concepts, the “Spirit of ICHRIE” is an intangible, hard-to-define, yet powerful feeling. It includes a sense of belonging. It includes the practice of hospitality. And it includes civility and sense of caring toward one another.
We study hospitality so we know how important it is to serve. We study tourism so we know how it feels to be a stranger. We study and practice education so we know how to organize information and how to share it with others. Through the Spirit of ICHRIE, we combine these aspects to create our unique feeling of camaraderie, which is commonly defined as mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together.
Mutual trust seems to be at the heart of the Spirit of ICHRIE. We are hundreds of professionals from far flung corners of the globe. We earned our credentials at disparate institutions. We are from many cultures and many lands. Yet when we gather at any of our federation or global conferences, or committee meetings, or whatever professional gathering it may be, we find welcoming arms that embrace us into the Spirit of ICHRIE. That mutual trust and warm welcome is given the moment we enter an ICHRIE event for we know that all of us share the same overarching mission: to advance hospitality and tourism education for the benefit of the human experience.
I suppose another key aspect of our mutual trust is our low level of competition. Instead, we have high levels of collaboration and cooperation. We don’t have a climate of besting one another (Ha! I got this and you didn’t.). We have animated discussions about what we do and the challenges that we independently face. Yet as we talk we often find that our peers experience similar challenges. Based on those conversations, we often share ideas and materials to help (such as syllabi or teaching techniques). We sometimes end up collaborating on a research project. Or we may not be able to help immediately but we frequently share our networks so that connections might be made with those who could help.
The Spirit of ICHRIE is not easy to explain. But it certainly is easy to experience it. And it certainly is easy to contribute to it. We can all keep the Spirit of ICHRIE vibrant and alive by richly living it and sharing it with others.