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How online conferences can contribute to social justice: lessons from organizing the EADI ISS Conference 2021

July 27, 2021
Photo: Unsplash / Cytonn Photography

This post was first published as part of the EADI/ISS Blog Series.

“Let us be honest to you from the beginning: we have never organized an online conference before. We feel like we are inventing the wheel in many ways, because many things are absolutely new to us. We’ve never had to do this. But now that we have organized the EADI-ISS Conference 2021 #Solidarity2021, which is to start in just a few days, we know one thing for sure: we will never organize a conference again without providing substantial online participation facilities.”

In March 2020, nobody had any experience in online conferencing

Of course, we did not realize this over a year ago when the pandemic emerged and the conference was postponed by one year. In March 2020, nobody had any experience in online conferencing. We believed that the pandemic would be over in a few months and that the conference could still be held in The Hague.

“How naïve we were! By October 2020, it was clear to everyone involved that the pandemic would last much longer than a few months, and for many people worldwide probably more than over a year. So we decided to cancel our preparations for a face-to-face conference which would have taken place in five different venues, all closely together and located in The Hague’s city centre, with the ISS hosting the conference. This also meant no visits to peace and justice organizations in The Hague, no massive information market with our international Master’s students, and no gala ‘beach party’ to show off The Hague’s in all its splendour. Everything was going to happen online. And we had to make peace with it and work with it.”

Read about the key takeaways and lessons learned in the full article.

This post is written by Kees Biekart, Basile Boulay, Susanne von Itter and Sushrutha Vemuri for the EADI/ISS Blog Series.