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. This year the IA Conference will begin on Sunday, July 24 and end on Sunday, July 31.
Summer Vacation on Star Island
… 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.
2022 IA Conference
Systemic Racism and What We Can Do About It
Sunday, July 24th to Sunday, July 31st.
The pandemic, climate change, and political unrest have laid bare the effects of structural racism around the world. We’ll look at racism globally with a focus on the U.S., and our history of slavery carried into policy inequities. We’ll discover paths forward through environmental, healthcare, and economic solutions, and consider how we can make a difference, individually and collectively, including within our Star Island community. .
We’d like to introduce some guidelines for our discussions and week together. They include:
- Listen and speak from the heart.
- Assume good intent. We’re all learning & will make mistakes.
- Value courage.
- Meet people where they are, not where we hope they might be.
- Honor the incomplete, imperfect, inarticulate. Trust inner wisdom.
- Be aware of the difference between intention and impact.
- Be kind.
- Share time.
- Honor confidentiality.
This year’s registration will start January 15, 2022 and run through March 1, 2022. There will be more information provided by the Star Island Corporation to come. Please plan accordingly.
Robert Trent Vinson
Robert Trent Vinson is Director & Chair of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American & African Studies at the University of Virginia and a Research Associate at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He is a scholar and teacher of 19th and 20th century African & African Diaspora history, specializing in the transnational connections between southern Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean.
Lecture: The History of Structural Racism and What Freedom Struggles Look Like
Director and Chair, Carter Woodson Institute 1619 project
Advisor at the Metropolitan Group conservancy
Maria has years of experience as a community leader and change maker, a strategic planner and implementer of JEDI initiatives, and an academic and trainer of trainers to advance equity work in education and the environment.
Her focus has been in designing tools and processes to center equity and inclusion and achieve more equitable outcomes within organizations. Maria is a highly skilled and trusted facilitator recognized for facilitating difficult dialogues across multiple differences and the complex power dynamics that emerge when our social identities enter into dynamic interaction.
Maria’s most recent post was as the Deputy and Interim Director of Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion at The Nature Conservancy. She led the group that built Equity by Design—an interactive tool for conservation practitioners to plan and implement equitable strategies.
Lecture & Workshop: Transforming our relationships by Surfacing Bias
Bias is the shape of our collective imagination. If we want to get to a radically new place in our relationships across race and other differences, we must get better at knowing what bias is, how it infects our relationships and how to mitigate its impact. Maria’s lecture aims at explaining the why and the what of bias. Additionally, Maria will lead an interactive workshop looking at specific case studies and moving from the theory to the practice: how reading our world critically can help us surface bias and practice lessening its impact.
President & CEO at Meyer Memorial Trust
Former Assistant Administrator, Office of International and Tribal Affairs, Us Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Michelle DePass began her career as a community organizer in New York and went onto leadership positions in philanthropy, government, academia, and the nonprofit sector. Over three decades, she has distinguished herself as a thought leader at the intersections of social and economic justice, community organizing and political strategy, and progressive philanthropy and academia. She is known as a leader who brings people together, encourages problem solving and makes a meaningful difference for underserved communities and beyond. She is particularly passionate about social, economic, and environmental justice for people of color, women, indigenous peoples and low-income communities.
Lecture: Environmental Justice: The Key to Racial Equity
Breaking down systems to create new ones. Accountability at the organization, governmental and individual level.
Al Race was Deputy Director and Chief Knowledge Officer at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University for 15 years, until his retirement in 2021. The Center is widely acknowledged as the global leader in translating the science of early childhood development into policy and practice change that improves outcomes for children and families facing adversity. During 2021, Al led the Center’s effort to communicate the science underlying how racism affects child development and lifelong health outcomes. While he continues to consult with the Center and other social change organizations, Al’s retirement involves living in (and writing about) ten different countries over the next ten years, most recently in Ecuador. www.developingchild.harvard.edu
Moving Upstream: Maximizing Children’s Potential by Confronting Systemic Racism
Did you know that Black Americans show higher levels of stress hormones at every age than white Americans, a disparity that increases across the lifespan? Racism can be overt or deeply embedded—and often invisible to those who are not affected by it directly—within a complex web of economic policies, zoning regulations, social misperceptions, and historical legacies. Decades of research have documented how racism can negatively influence the healthy development of children in multiple ways. This presentation will explain the biology of how racism gets under the skin and into the body and brain—and how science can point the way to solutions.
Minister of the Week
Ellen is currently Minister Emerita of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Colorado Springs. She has been engaged in anti-racism trainings with the Unitarian Universalist Association since the 1970s, became a trained facilitator for Anti-Racism and Jubilee World workshops, and was a member of the Hymnbook Commission that published the Singing the Living Tradition Hymnbook in 1993 and is still in use. She has practiced Mindfulness with Thich Nhat Hanh for 25 years and she and her husband Barry were ordained into the Order of Interbeing in 2013 and are committed practitioners of Engaged Buddhism. Ellen and Barry also facilitate workshops in compassionate communication. Ellen is a member of the Pikes Peak Region Human Relations Commission, and is passionate about supporting regenerative urban agriculture and localizing our food system with wholesome, humane and sustainable practices. She has been attending IA week at Star since 1972 with her children David, Deb and Lisa Nelson. Ellen and Barry enjoy hiking the trails and open spaces of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region and visits with 6 grown children, their spouses and 9 grandchildren.
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.