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Past Events

We invite you to explore some of the previous trips, hosted conferences, and guest speakers who have presented for SPIA students and associates.

Spring 2017 SPIA Events and Forum

In Spring 2017 SPIA and CDIA organized five (5) different forums and events that reached far beyond our students’ audience into the local community and beyond.

  1. The center organized two (2) invited talks through the Center for Democracy and International Affairs (CDIA)
    1.  On February 14, 2017 the Hungarian Journalist and writer Tvrtko Vujity made a presentation “Beyond All Borders” discussing his multiple journeys and experiences from around the world
    2. On April 10, 2017, Astrid Ruiz, the CEO of Afrikalabelle discussed her development work in Africa in the last decade and concentrated in particular on the case of Senegal.
  2. On March 11, 2017 SPIA and SALT for a second year in a row hosted the Richmond Legislative Wrap-Up and brought together 12 Virginia Senators and Representatives and a large audience of more than 80 attendees. The event was covered in two of the local newspapers.

  3. On Friday, March 17th, SPIA hosted its first Journalistic Forum “Evaluating Trump’s First 50 Days in Office: Institutions, Domestics and Economic Policy.” The journalist that presented were: John Hughes, a 28-year journalist and 2015 National Press Club President; Shannon Firth who writes on health and health policy as a Washington correspondent for Med Page Today and Mahir Zelyanov, whose work is focused on Turkey and the US foreign policy.  SPIA students, VIU faculty and guest attended the events.
  4. The 2017 CDIA Conference on Rethinking Regions: Africa, Middle East and Central Asia” was held on April 27-28, 2017. Twenty-eight participants including six keynotes speakers took part in the two-day forum.  The Conference Proceedings will be published in an electronic format by June, 2017.
  5. In April, SPIA students also wrote and published the forth issues of the SPIA student magazine Global Insights . Five studentspublished their original op-eds as did two SPIA faculty.  The students will countinue with the publication in the Summer and Fall.
  6. SPIA also contacted and attracted two Washington, DC non-profit organizations working with young people - Generation Hope and Third dimension  to have their events held at in exchange for a short marketing session on VIU conducted by Deborah Brendt.

2016 SALT Training Conference hosted by SPIA-VIU

2016 SALT Training Conference hosted by SPIA-VIU

Fairfax, Virginia, USA – October 24, 2016 – Virginia International University’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) graciously hosted the Advocacy Training Conference for Social Action Linking Together (SALT) on Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 9:00am to 12:00pm. 

The free training was designed for educators, students, professionals and retirees, seeking to increase their understanding and support of services for the Commonwealth of Virginia’s most vulnerable children and families. The keynote speaker, Mark Kennedy Shriver (of the Kennedy political family and former member of the Maryland House of Delegates), was a tremendous inspiration for participants to do more as all continue in their advocacy. Shriver recounted moments with his father, Sargent “Sarge” Shriver founder of the Peace Corps and architect of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, that now take on new value.

Among the fellow presenters were:

Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition for Human Needs discussing, “Making TANF Work for Poor Families
Senator Barbara Favola, 31st Senate District, Arlington, "Report on the Commission on Youth, TANF Subcommittee"
Delegate Alfonso Lopez, 49th House of Delegates District, Arlington “Tools for Effective Advocacy in the State Legislature”
Michelle Krocker, Executive Director, Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance, "Addressing the Commonwealth's Unmet Housing Needs for Low-Income Households"
Kimberly Adams, President of the Fairfax County Council of PTAs, “Fairfax County's excellence is at risk”

A special highlight from the presenters included Delegate Lopez’s elevator pitch in which participants paired up, one serving as the lobbyist the other as the senator.

The organizers were excited to see strong attendance of at least 70 members of the local community and students from VIU’s Master of Public Administration program. Subsequent feedback as submitted to John Horejsi included: “Best SALT conference ever! Strong program and keynote!” VIU & SPIA welcomes and continued relationship with SALT and looks forward to hosting further events in the next upcoming year.

Below are the links to all the video clips of the SALT Fall Advocacy Conference.  
Fr. Gerry Creedon with opening prayer.

Fr. Gerry Creedon introducing Mark Shriver, the keynote speaker.

Mark Shriver, Keynote Speaker

Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition for Human Needs --  “Making TANF  Work for Poor Families 

Virginia Senator Barbara Favola --  “Report on the Commission on Youth, TANF Subcommittee”

Virginia Delegate Lopez—“Tools for Effective Advocacy in the State Legislature”  

Michelle Krocker, Executive Director, Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance --  “Addressing the Commonwealth’s Unmet Housing Needs for Low-Income Households”

Kimberly Adams, President of Fairfax County Council of PTA’s  --  Fairfax County’s Excellence is at Risk”

Thanks to Bob Stewart for recording.