Star Island and the International Affairs (IA) conference have often been described as a perfect summer vacation and one that keeps people coming back year after year, generation after generation. After a year without Star in 2020, we are ready to return! Please join us and make IA part of your summer tradition.
A Perfect Summer Vacation
… it is the opportunity to interact and share a diversity of ideas and experiences with a group of friendly, open-minded, and inquiring people. For others, it is the chance to be removed from the world, retiring for a week from daily routines to a small beautiful island to reconnect with family and friends, relax on the porch with a good book, and watch the sunrise or sunset.
Start your day…
… with a polar bear dip in the chilly Atlantic Ocean to get the blood flowing, join the morning stretch session on the Front Porch, or grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle into a porch rocker to watch the day begin to emerge. Later in the morning, make your way up the hill to the stone chapel for a thoughtful morning sermon delivered by our minister of the week.
Stimulating theme talks…
… with follow up discussions take place late morning. These are led by recognized experts and provoke conversations among conferees which spill over to the front porch, Happy Hour and the dinner table.
In the afternoon…
… there are several workshops from which to choose, such as chorus, yoga, art, and writing. Other afternoon activities include softball games, swimming, visits to the Marine Lab, kite-flying, rowboating the harbor, trips to the snack bar, and more relaxed time spent rocking in chairs on the porch. Evening activities include a bonfire, intergenerational dance, Island staff talent show, lay-led chapel services, and more.
… the Youth Program is a time to experience the freedom of island life and to gain a deep appreciation of the natural environment in the midst of caring, attentive adults. Activities related to the conference theme together with community building activities, games, crafts, and time to explore the island round out the week. The program offers children the experience of wonder and friendships of long duration, the kind that cause them to start counting down the days until the next year’s IA conference even as they depart on the boat at the end of the week.
The natural beauty…
… and spirit of the island, together with the intellectually stimulating theme talks, the spiritually uplifting sermons, the myriad of daily activities, the strong sense of community among the conferees, and the vibrant Youth Program make the International Affairs conference a truly unique and memorable vacation.
2021 IA Conference
Women in Leadership: Why it Matters
July 25-31, 2021
Having women in leadership is a relatively new and increasing global phenomenon. History records powerful queens and notable female warriors, but the entrance of women in large numbers into leadership began in the 20th century.
Jeanne Dietsch is a former state senator and three-time tech entrepreneur who led startup MobileRobots Inc to become the world’s leading manufacturer of intelligence research robots. After selling the company, she earned an MPA degree at Harvard Kennedy School. Since then her focus has been on advocating for a more hopeful picture of the future and to raise awareness that long-term economic benefit aligns with social and environmental goals. In 2018, Jeanne won a term in the NH senate, from a district gerrymandered against her, but lost when COVID cut off door-to-door canvassing. She is now combating extremism, misinformation, and apathy threatening our democracy.
Linda Leehman has been an IA conferee since 2017. She has focused 20 years of political energy on videotaping, producing and airing a weekly cable access program called “Down By The Riverside”. She was a member of Central Vermont Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). As a member of WILPF, she was part of the historic 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, China in 1995, where the “Beijing Plan for Action” on gender equality was developed. She is currently a committee assistant for the Vermont House and Senate Agriculture Committees when the Legislature is in session.
Gretchen Donehower is another speaker with history as an IA conferee, attending her first conference at age 6 and now serving on the IA Conference Committee. When not sitting on the porch watching IA softball, she is a demographer at UC Berkeley researching the role of age and gender in shaping how people produce, consume, share, and save resources. She leads two international research projects: National Transfer Accounts which studies the generational economy, and Counting Women’s Work which studies the gendered economy and the role of unpaid care work in supporting market economic activity. She has served as a consultant for the United Nations, the National Academy of Sciences, the Asia Development Bank, and other organizations.
Minister of the Week
Rev. Rali Weaver is back after a great job as Minister of the Week during the Virtual IA 2020 conference. She has been serving our UU faith as a minister since 2003 in congregations from Maine to California. She has been serving as the minister of the First Church and Parish in Dedham since July of 2007. Rali also currently serves as the Denominational Counselor for UU students at Harvard Divinity School and as Hospitality Coordinator for the Mass Bay District of the UUMA as well as various other community
Children and teens at IA are enthusiastically welcomed into the Youth Program by friendly faces and engaging children’s staff that help to fill each day with fun and new experiences. The program is filled with cool, age-appropriate activities and interesting topics related to the conference theme.
The International Affairs Conference Youth Program will be adhering to the Star Island Health and Safety guidelines for 2021.
- Barners: PreK-1st grade
- Brookies: 2nd – 4th grades
- Marshlandians: 5th – 8th grades
- Parkers/Seniors: 9th – 12th grades
This is a smaller number of groups than in the past due to the smaller conference sizes necessitated by Covid restrictions. We expect to return to more youth groups when the number of conferees returns to its usual level.