News and Updates from FPA

ISA Headquarters posted on February 06, 2017 15:31

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:

  • Those who do not attend the convention in person may have colleagues present their research. These papers will be available on our paper archive, and the papers will remain on our program and receive feedback from the panel discussants and audiences. We will recognize this as participation in our Annual Convention.
  • Panel chairs may arrange for remote participation by panelists using their own data plans. Keep in mind that guest room internet access does not extend to meeting rooms, so there will be no hotel wi-fi available in the meeting rooms. Panel chairs who arrange to use their own data plans to bring in remote participants will be reimbursed $20 USD by ISA at the meeting. We ask that those panel chairs who plan to use this option email Jennifer Fontanella at ISQ HQ ( by Tuesday, February 14 to request reimbursement so we can have it available in Baltimore.
  • Affected participants should contact the panel chair about the possibility of remote participation (as discussed in the previous point).
  • The Governing Council, in its discussion of future Convention siting, will likely address the issue of wi-fi access for future conferences.
  • In addition, ISA is engaged in discussions with the American Civil Liberties Union in Maryland to have attorneys on-call to assist any ISA participant who encounters unexpected travel issues as a result of the Executive Order. We have been assured by the ACLU that this will be possible, but we have not finalized those discussions. Contact information will be forthcoming when that is settled.

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 (

Members of the ISA Executive Committee

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The International Studies Association

Representing over 100 countries, ISA has more than 6,500 members worldwide and is the most respected and widely known scholarly association in this field. Endeavoring to create communities of scholars dedicated to international studies, ISA is divided into 6 geographic subdivisions of ISA (Regions), 29 thematic groups (Sections) and 4 Caucuses which provide opportunities to exchange ideas and research with local colleagues and within specific subject areas.
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