Dear Members, Colleagues, and Supporters,
Born in Trinidad in 1932, the Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul struggled while trying to write his autobiography. After multiple drafts, the threads he found to weave his story did not lead to his birthplace, but to a moment in time when he faced tremendous challenges. He described the process as finding center.*
We are all working to find center as we face, embrace, and grow beyond challenges and changes in our lives and our institutions. Many of you know that my husband and I have a ceramic studio in our home and that I work with clay as an avocation. I have learned that I can’t create until I am as centered as the material in my hands.
With historic commemorations on the horizon –the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Erie Canal, the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the 200th anniversary of the abolition of legal slavery in New York State– we have chosen Finding Center: Access, Inclusion, Participation, and Engagement as the theme for our 2023 conference. The call for proposals opens on Monday, October 3; soon after you will see calls for scholarship and award nominations.
From April 15-18, 2023, we will gather in the city of Syracuse, in the Central Region of our state, home of the Onondaga Nation, the Central Fire of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Our conference hotel will be the four-star Marriott Syracuse Downtown, recently restored to its original 1924 glory, with affordable accommodations and state-of-the-art meeting rooms. Syracuse is a walking city filled with marvelous architecture, theaters, boutiques, and great places to eat. From the hotel’s tenth-floor ballroom, you can see rolling hills and rooflines of historic buildings. People from all over the world have come to call Syracuse their home. The arts, culture, and food of the city reflects that diversity.
A local host committee is helping us plan exciting conference events in downtown museums and we are creating a map of the dozens of amazing museums conference attendees can visit in Central New York. Syracuse is easily accessible from anywhere in New York State: it is a two-and half hour drive from both Albany and Buffalo, flights from New York City airports can be found for under $250, and the Amtrak station makes train travel a great option.
As plans for the conference come together, our excitement is growing for all that can happen when we come together and find center. I hope you will join us.
With thanks for your support,
*Naipaul, V.S. (1984) Finding the Centre, The Chaucer Press, Penguin Books, Ltd. Great Britain