Overheard at WSU Spokane last weekend: “I like this conference. You get to talk.”

You get to sing, too — especially if you’re a professional performing artist like Veronique Medrano, who gave a rousing dinner-hour performance at the 7th annual Globalization, Diversity and Education Conference. Veronique is also a student at the University of Texas at Brownsville. She and her adviser, Elizabeth Sierra-Zarella of SUNY Farmingdale State College, gave a presentation titled El Arte de Memoría: Sexual Trauma, Existentialism, and Installation Art From the Borderlands. (You’ll find the entire schedule of presentations on the conference web page, and photos here.)

Personal communication and delightful surprises are hallmarks of the conference, which is hosted by the WSU College of Education’s graduate program in Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education. Although small by the standards of academic gatherings, it definitely reflects the university’s  “Because the world needs big ideas” theme.

Conference chair Mike Hayes offers these thoughts:

“As I reflect on the 7th annual Globalization conference, I am struck by the tremendous energy that participants brought to the two days of meetings. Filmmaker and activist Jen Marlowe tapped into the raw emotion of Palestinian struggles in her films “One Family in Gaza” and “Peaceful Thoughts.” Animated conversations spilled out from the presentation rooms and into the breaks, meals and the hotel lobby, magnifying their effect. Who can forget Denise Taliafero Baszile’s performance that had the audience dancing to Bob Marley’s “Get Up Stand Up” as a reminder of our commitment to social justice. Not your usual academic conference fare, but what we have come to expect at the globalization conference.

“I have watched the conference evolve over the years, and I feel it is uniquely positioned to push education research and practice to the intersection of the head and the heart and create educational experiences for all students that are meaningful, fulfilling and just. I look forward to seeing everyone again at next year’s conference, and continuing our tradition of deep engagement with ideas that enhance education in our global society.”