We write with an update about remote participation options and travel concerns for our Annual
Convention in Baltimore in two weeks.
As you know, we have already announced that we will refund registration fees and waive any
penalties for those who are unable to attend the annual meeting or choose not to attend as a result
of the U.S. Executive Order on Immigration, which we have condemned.
We have spent the last week investigating what options we can offer for those who wish to
engage in the meeting remotely, allowing them to avoid travel to the United States but continue
to benefit from our intellectual exchange. Because the meeting is so close in time, we are very
constrained in those options, especially as they pertain to re-negotiating contracts with the audio-
visual (AV) providers and the unions that support their labor.
As the past week’s research has developed, we found that providing wi-fi access throughout all
86 meeting rooms would cost the association more than $400,000. Both our Finance Committee
and our Executive Committee voted against that expenditure. It is also not logistically possible
at this late date to move all panels in which participants might need to “attend” remotely to a
single room at the conference. Furthermore, given that AV availability at the convention
locations are governed by union contracts, we also cannot bring in outside technical support to
help service any such options.
Thus, we have come up with the following:
Please also know that everyone involved in these decisions at ISA HQ, the Executive
Committee, the Finance Committee and other governance venues are trying very hard to handle
the issues at hand thoughtfully and effectively in a very constrained time and contractual
environment. We also hope that cooler heads will prevail in the US, as evidenced by the court
rulings over the weekend halting the ban at least temporarily.
These are challenging times for our association and for the world as a whole. We believe that
the voices of scholars of international studies must be heard at this time. We look forward to the
intellectual exchange we will have in Baltimore and to the important discussions about future
meetings. As usual, any questions, comments or suggestions about this or other policies, can be
directed to Jennifer Fontanella (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Members of the ISA Executive Committee
ISA has over 6,500 members worldwide and is the most respected and widely known scholarly association dedicated to international studies.
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