Othering & Belonging conference aims at building a more inclusive world

As a response to the resurgence in nationalism and xenophobia, both in the United States and around the world, the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley is hosting its second Othering & Belonging Conference April 30 – May 2.

Designed as a public forum on civic engagement and grassroots advocacy, the conference is intended to inspire and drive action toward an inclusive society where all people share equal access to opportunity and resources.

“The conference is fundamentally a gathering of folks who are questioning how we can secure an open society in a time of unprecedented border-building and fully grasp the nature and many dimensions of exclusion and othering in our society,” says john a. powell, director of the Haas Institute. “It will be a multifaceted exploration of how our society systematically and often purposefully excludes certain groups from accessing the same resources and opportunities as others.”

Anticipating up to 1,200 attendees, the conference will bring together scholars, activists, policy makers, faith leaders and others to discuss topics including national borders, right-wing populism, the global struggle for democracy, mental and public health, mass incarceration and immigration.

Building off the institute’s first Othering & Belonging conference, which took place two years ago, this year’s will feature speeches and panel discussions as well as artistic interpretations and performances that touch on the larger themes of the conference. Some of the main speakers include:

Shakti Butler, founder and President of World Trust Educational Services (emcee)

john a. powell, Haas Institute director and faculty member of the UC Berkeley School of Law

LaToya Ruby Frazier, photographer and video artist

Jeff Chang, Author and executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford

Tarell Alvin McCraney, Oscar-winning playwright

Jeffrey Sachs, professor of economics at Columbia University and senior U.N. advisor

Doug McAdam, Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor of Sociology at Stanford University

Saskia Sassen, scholar and author

Kumi Naidoo, former Greenpeace executive director

Tarso Luís Ramos, executive director of Political Research Associates

Sarah Kendzior, writer, anthropologist and critic,

Masha Gessen, Journalist, author and advocate

Taeku Lee, Berkeley political scientist and Haas Institute associate director

Lisa García Bedolla, professor of education and political science at UC Berkeley

Marshall Ganz, senior lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government,

Rashad Robinso, executive director of ColorOfChange

Zephyr Teachout, legal scholar and political activist

Sabrina Smith, deputy director of California Calls

Alicia Garza, #BlackLivesMatter co-founder

Tara Houska, attorney, co-founder of Not Your Mascots

Zahra Billoo, executive director, Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations

Melissa Harris Perry, Writer, professor, television host and political commentator

A complete list of speakers as well as the agenda and a list of breakout sessions is available at the Othering & Belonging Conference website.