Star Island and the International Affairs (IA) conference has often been described as a perfect summer vacation and one that keeps people coming back year after year, generation after generation. Please join us and make IA part of your summer tradition. Click through the images below for a short description of what you might expect.
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.
2017 IA Conference
The World’s Oceans: Protecting an International Resource
Oceans are the lifeblood of planet Earth and humankind. They flow over nearly three-quarters of our planet, and hold 97% of the planet’s water. They produce more than half of the oxygen in the atmosphere, and absorb the most carbon from it. Unfortunately, our oceans are seriously threatened.
Our morning theme talks will explore these threats, including pollution, overfishing, acidification, and rising temperatures. We’ll also learn about the government, non-government, and international organizations working to protect the oceans. Recognizing that resources are finite, we’ll consider various protection alternatives, including marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, and other scientific and legal initiatives.
In additional to the theme talks, several workshops are available from which to choose, such as chorus, yoga, and art. 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.
July 22 – 29, 2017
Rashid Sumaila, PhD, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia
CAPT (ret) Andrew Norris, US Coast Guard Trial Attorney
Heidi Weiskel, PhD, Staff Scientist, Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW)
Matt Rigney, Author, Educator, Fisherman
Andrew Sharpless, CEO Oceana, International ocean conservation organization
Reverend Robin Bartlett is Minister of the Week
Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky
Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them by Ted Danson and Mike D’Orso
Managing Ocean Environments in a Changing Climate: Sustainability and Economic Perspectives by Kevin Noone, Rashid Sumaila, Robert Diaz
*Written by a speaker
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 youth are divided into six groups:
- Toddlers: 18 mos–3 years
- Barners: 4–6 years
- Larries: grades 2–3
- Brookies: grades 4–5
- Marshmans: grades 6–9
- Seniors: grades 10–12
Note that groups won’t be finalized until close to the conference to accommodate shifts in registration. Groups are developed based on the number of children registered overall and in any given age group, with an eye toward keeping groups a fun, manageable size while meeting the needs of the youth in age-appropriate ways.