Global community members will fill the John. J. Hemmingson Center Sept. 12-14 for the Ethnicity, Race and Indigenous Peoples Conference.
The conference, ERIP, was created with the intention of bringing together scholars and activists among the Americas to a space where they can discuss the issues that are pertinent to their cultures at this time.
As an all-encompassing global event, the conference strives to bring all of the Americas to Hemmingson through the Jesuit mission of Gonzaga.
“It’s a commitment to community solidarity and diversity on our campus and in this country at a time when some of these commitments are also being challenged across the universities and more broadly as well,” said Pavel Shlossberg, co-head of the conference, who is also an associate professor and department chair in the master’s program of communication and leadership studies.
Rebecca Stephanis, associate professor of Spanish, and Shlossberg are co-leading the conference. They agree that it is aligned with the Jesuit mission of GU.
“[Through this conference], we seek to foster a mature commitment to the dignity of the human person, social justice, diversity, intercultural competence, global engagement, solidarity with the poor and the vulnerable and care for the planet,” Shlossberg said.
This conference is true to its national and global ties as the conference is part of the Latin American Studies Association, the largest research organization in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America and is also being co-hosted with LACES, a Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies Journal out of University of California San Diego.
Over 250 participants from throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America are expected.
The conference will feature five keynote speakers who will speak on topics including indigenous women rights, immigration issues, indigenous issues in Guatemala, afro-politics and issues impacting afro and indigenous communities in Honduras.
ERIP will feature several different cultures including Afro-Brazilian, West Indies, Native Islander and many from both sides of the border between the United States and Mexico. The goal is to bring these communities together to share and acknowledge their differences and rejoice in their similarities.
“We want to bring together all these different issues under the umbrella of building bridges ... to find the commonalities that resonate among the different groups that may have suffered some type of trauma or systemic experience and find out how they can learn from one another,” Stephanis said.
The panels included will feature multiple languages besides English, so students with or without a background in language are encouraged to come and listen, even if they do not understand.
“This conference gives proof that we can be this diverse community,” Shlossberg said.
Students and community members can register for the conference at www.gonzaga.edu/ethnicity-race-indigenous-peoples-conference.