I have spoken with many people this past year who have not been able to afford to attend the national NAFSA conference in Vancouver, or the Forum on Education Abroad’s gathering that recently took place in Boston. Both are clearly worthwhile professional opportunities, but for so many who have had their office budgets slashed, lost their jobs or are in school hoping to obtain a job in this field, the ability to spend over a thousand dollars out of their own pockets was simply unrealistic. While their absence had nothing to do with lack of interest, but rather funds, I started to think about how Melibee could offer a professional development opportunity to those who are interested in multicultural dialogue. I also thought about what I could offer that could be different.
This day is planned with a simple objective in mind: “To inspire us and do so at a rate that everyone can afford.”
I thought about aspects of the two main conferences in our field that I appreciate the most:
1) the inspiring speakers who still have me reflecting on their thoughts and ideas, days after I hear them present. These are the people who have inspired me to return to my work with an extra skip in my step, and who I don’t normally get to hear “live”
2) networking that is organic and offers ample time to exchange cards and have a true conversation.
The inspiration part was easy. I reached out to three people from my speaker series (Carrie Wagner, Aman Ali and Ibrahim Abdul-Matin) who have personally and professionally inspired me and thousands of students/educators this past year to be more conscientious about our planet, more reflective about our perceptions/biases and more aware of how cultures interact, and asked them if they’d speak at a rate that would keep the cost down for participants. They all quickly agreed. I also reached out to the team that made a remarkable documentary called “BUDRUS,” an inspiring true story of non-violent protest ever documented. They, too, agreed to screen the film.
Then I reached out to Purchase College, SUNY – who agreed to partner on this new seminar. It is largely due to them that this event IS so affordable.
Remembering my friends and colleagues who have literally LOST their jobs because of lay offs, I then created a special rate for any educator who lost a job in education or is underemployed due to budget cuts. Anyone who falls in this category can contact me at [email protected] to discuss the rate and eligibility.
In an effort to support any student (junior high school – graduate school) who wants to be inspired, but on a budget, I am offering a rate of $59. Anyone interested in this rate will need to contact me at [email protected] to discuss eligibility. (You cannot register with these two special rates through the website, hence the need to email me first.)
For a new event like this to run, especially at such an affordable rate, I need to ask each of you to aid in the marketing. Please share this with at least three people who may be interested. Please ask them to share it also with three people also! The marketing budget is low because if I have to pay to advertise, I have to pass the cost on to participants who are already facing enormous financial challenges. Thanks for your help in spreading the word.
Here is the “Seminar” link that provides all the details – once on this page you can register via the registration link and pay using a credit card through paypal.
Thank you for helping Melibee offer a great new professional development opportunity at a price that we all can afford! Please spread the word! Early bird registration for the general public ends on Friday, May 13th!