Missouri State University’s 20th annual Public Affairs Conference will reflect on tradition, celebrate innovation and explore a variety of ways to both embrace change and to exercise strength in the face of struggle.
“Navigating the Now: tradition, innovation and wisdom in a world of change” is the theme for the 2023 conference. It will be a mix of in-person and live-streamed sessions Sept. 26-28.
“Discussion of this year’s theme started because we were interested in popular concepts, like resilience and grit, and the way they encourage us to be strong and flexible in a world of transition,” said Dr. Shannon Wooden, Missouri State provost fellow for public affairs.
“Public affairs gives us the opportunity to dig deeply into questions and showcase for our students that educated people approach difficult questions in specific and interesting ways.”
The conference includes:
- Three plenary speakers.
- A special plenary performance.
- A total of 18 virtual panel sessions.
- A keynote speech from Joe Montana on Nov. 2.
All events are free and open to the public. No registration is required.
Tradition and innovation take center stage
A special plenary performance will mark the 20th annual event with international crew of differently abled dancers, Ill-Abilities.
The crew gets its name from the standard in hip-hop culture of using a negative term to refer to something positive. Rather than seeing the negative limitations of disability, this crew focuses on their positive, or “ill” abilities.
More than a single presentation, the crew will perform at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Plaster Student Union Theater. There will also be a Q&A and special reception to follow. In addition, while in Missouri, the crew will also spend time with sponsor Springfield Little Theater.
Other plenary speakers at this year’s conference are:
- Diego Senior, audio/video producer, broadcast journalist and media executive, will discuss the real implications of artificial intelligence chatbots on mental health. Senior will speak at 12:15 p.m., Sept. 27 via Zoom.
- Shay-Akil McLean, educator, organizer, writer and public intellectual, will speak about race/ism as a human ecological system. McLean will speak at 7 p.m., Sept. 27 in the PSU Theater.
- Yuki Noguchi, science desk correspondent with NPR, will speak at 12:30 p.m., Sept. 28 in the PSU Theater.
Schedule, parking and information
For in-person sessions, guests may park in BearPark North or BearPark South without a permit.
Live virtual sessions are presented via Zoom webinar. Zoom links are available on the conference schedule page.
The free Bear Line shuttle provides transportation to PSU from BearPark North.