ISA Annual Convention 2017, Baltimore

Understanding Change in World Politics
ISA's 58th Annual Convention
February 22nd - 25th, 2017, Baltimore, Maryland
Headquarters Hotel: Hilton Baltimore

Now that we all have hopefully recovered from a stimulating, but exhausting, week in Baltimore, it makes sense to mention a number of highlights and outcomes from the annual meeting. Presciently, the program theme “Understanding Change in World Politics” set the groundwork for the convention at a substantive level. And even in the midst of a difficult political climate, about 6500 people attended the meetings. Some of our potential attendees were impacted by the US Executive Order, but as testimony to the persistence and resilience of ISA members, we still had many thoughtful exchanges, including terrific turnout for Ashley Leeds’ Presidential Address, the Sapphire Series and many more events. Attendees also had an excellent opportunity to discuss world events and develop strategies for research and activism. And although many thought Baltimore in February would be chilly, the weather made it feel more like Florida or southern California than the mid-Atlantic in winter.

In honor of those who could not attend, and to express broader concern about the impact of the travel restrictions, members organized a number of protest events, including a silent protest outside the Hilton on Friday afternoon. During one of these protests, there was an unfortunate incident in which an unidentified ISA attendee made comments that members interpreted as disparaging toward some of our ISA colleagues. This incident was especially disturbing because ISA is an organization that embraces diversity and inclusion and is fundamentally dedicated to civil discourse in our interactions. We truly hope that this was an isolated incident.

As for updates from the Governing Council (GC) and other governance bodies, members should note a number of developments: 

  • The GC approved changes to ISA non-discrimination language; 
  • Changes were made to ISA’s conference siting policy after a lengthy and very thoughtful discussion of the issues surrounding siting choices; 
  • The ISA Code of Conduct was revised to provide for easier reporting of alleged violations to the code; 
  • The Global South Taskforce met for the first time; 
  • Some changes to ISA membership rates and annual conference registration fees. The revenue impact of these changes will be assessed over the next two years; 
  • Two new initiatives were launched with adhoc committees created. One focused on virtual engagement and the other on the development of a teaching focused conference in collaboration with our regional meetings.

So overall, Baltimore was highly successful and laid the groundwork for many new and interesting developments in the coming year.

We look forward to our on-going work together. And we want to thank all ISA’s members for helping to make Baltimore convention such a success.

T.V. Paul, Outgoing ISA President (2016-2017)
Mark A. Boyer, ISA Executive Director


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