I write with news of yet another disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic: we will not be able to proceed with our plan to hold the IS-ISSS joint international security studies conference this October at Indiana University. We had been working hard to find ways to adapt the conference to the new coronavirus environment, trying to preserve as much interaction, networking, and sharing of scholarship as possible. Many university campuses, including our host campus of Indiana University, are just now announcing their plans for on-campus activities for the fall semester. Of course, those activities are limited by the need for social distancing and the need to ensure that everyone on campus has personal protective equipment that will keep them safe and will comply with the rules required by the university and the government. As we now can see, even if our conference clears key logistical hurdles — even if travel is back to “normal" in the fall, even if universities are willing to reimburse faculty travel to attend conferences, even if faculty are looking forward to reuniting for our excellent discussions of international security while acknowledging the risks and unknowns of the coronavirus, etc. — we will not be able to have anything like a “normal” interaction, especially with its community-building aspects, in October.
Our hosts at Indiana University, Sumit Ganguly and Ore Koren, are still excited about hosting the conference. As a result, we will simply postpone IU’s hosting until the fall of 2021. We will look forward to gathering as a community then. And in the meantime, we will gather at the main ISA convention in Las Vegas next spring, and the ISSS GC will brainstorm other ways that our section can stay connected and engaged this coming fall.
I hope that you are all safe, taking good care, and managing to find some positives in your personal and professional lives.