SICA History

by | Dec 26, 2021 | 1 comment

Victor Margolin died this day in 2019. (November 26, 2019.)

Latifah TaorminaI learned about it in the middle of the night checking Facebook. A post by Latifah Taormina informed me and she would link to the SICA-International site and remind us Victor was one of the, if not THE prime force that helped create SICA in 1983:


The Subud International Cultural Association (SICA) was founded in 1983 by Bapak Mhd. Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo in response to an initiative led by Victor Margolin who chaired the Cultural Working Party at the Subud World Congress at Anguraha in Windsor, England, August 1983. Artists, educators, and cultural activists representing creative disciplines across all sectors and from many nations were members of this working party. Their initial intention was:

  • To establish a communication network for Subud members working in creative fields to share experiences and best practices;
  • To provide opportunities for collaborative projects and mentoring;
  • To build greater public awareness and support for the positive role arts and culture could play in the development of Subud and in building a more human and more livable world.
Victor Margolin

Victor Margolin

A full and historically accurate report by Victor Margolin of the inspiration for the working party as well as its results that were presented to Bapak is attached — and it’s a very good read! (Click here to download that report.

) Bapak welcomed this new initiative, but advised SICA to embrace a very broad definition of culture as culture is not just about the arts. “The arts can show the way,” he said, “but culture includes all aspects of human endeavor.” He chose SICA’s first chair and vice-chair and prayed that they be like “pioneers in the cultural field” in leading SICA forward. Bapak also felt the establishment of SICA signaled the beginning of a cultural rebirth:

“Culture has been reborn through the existence of the latihan kejiwaan of Subud, and it is still small, like a seed that has just been sown, which is about to develop and come to life.”

Just a year earlier, UNESCO, at its World Conference on Cultural Policies, had adopted its celebrated broad definition of culture that linked culture irrevocably to development:

“Culture is the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or social group. It includes not only arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs.”

As Chair of SICA-USA the past year, it has been both difficult and rewarding to guide this cultural wing of our spiritual organization. We’re all Zoomed out by now and craving the personal contact we had pre-Covid. Yet the harmony that has been established on the SICA-USA board, the consistency of posting, the huge help with finances by Ralph Davila, the website help from Lauren Stomel, the vision of Lawrence Pevec and the contributions of Lauren Stanley, Susannah Rosenthal and Sanderson Morgan are greatly appreciated. Our National Helper Liaisons, Michal Brownell and Jim Dehner are world-class. The initiation of Zoomuse Poems for Peace, a collaboration with SICA-International and SICA-Canada has been inspiring and will continue into the new year with hopes for an in-person Poems for Peace on September 21, 2022.

We are planning an in-person board meeting for late Winter 2022 and details are forthcoming. We hope to unveil our in-person Cultural Conversation at that time. We are grateful to have been supported in a very generous way in the past year, perhaps the best level of support in SICA-USA history. Should you be moved to make a year-end tax-deductible contribution, we would appreciate that tremendously.

Thank you for reading, for supporting true culture and for being part of Subud, which has been such an incredible soul-building experience for me.

In gratitude,

Paul E Nelson

Paul E Nelson SICA-USA Chair


1 Comment

  1. Thank you Paul for putting together an inspired list of 2021 blog posts. Looking forward to 2022 inspiration and cultural conversation.


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