CHAI Executive Director Speaking at South Asian Awareness Network Conference This Week

Founded in 2002, the South Asian Awareness Network (SAAN) organizes the largest annual South Asian undergraduate conference in the nation. The event, which is entirely student organized, provides participants with the image_0opportunity to connect with prominent individuals. Past speakers have included, Rajmohan Gandhi, Sanjay Gupta and Kal Penn. The registration fee of $35 (undergrad) 45$ (regular) includes a formal, 3 meals, entertainment, and a weekend full of engaging workshops, inspirational keynote speeches, and panels. The conference for last year was titled Mosaic: Shattering Barriers to Piece Together Perspectives. This year’s conference is titled Ethos: Progressing from a mindset of stigma to solidarity

Click here to see a list of speakers at the event, including Razia Kosi, Executive Director of CHAI.

Information about topics being covered at this year’s conference

ETHOS: Progressing from a mindset of stigma to solidarity

Fear stemming from differences in social identities produces stigmas, deterring open conversation among individuals. This lack of dialogue reinforces misconceptions and discourages solidarity. Through the exploration of personal narratives, we can each design a unique lens to focus on the importance of respecting diverse outlooks. With this new direction, SAAN 2013 aspires to create allies of social justice who reach across the interface between privileged and marginalized identities. Fostering an environment of mutual understanding and forming lasting alliances will enable us to progress towards a more equitable
society.
TOPICS

WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT | Gender inequality is a problem that spans across the globe, and South Asia is no stranger to it problems. While populations in South Asia are growing, so is the rate of female infanticide. And as education becomes more widespread, women are stepping up to new opportunities despite a growing pay gap. How are activists breaking the gender divide and what are the implications that it has for South Asian and the U.S.?

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, & QUEER | The LGBTQ community has made strides around the world and South Asia has followed suit. In July 2009, the New Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexual intercourse and the LGBTQ movement is gaining great support in South Asia. Learn about the people who are working to propel this social revolution and how LGBTQ issues became a hot topic in a historically conservative region.

MEDIA & MUSIC | The media is our number one source to getting information around the world. Magazines, TV shows, fashion,and blogs are just the beginning of the exchange of South Asian ideas around the globe. The media plays a strong role in how people in the West perceive South Asia, but also how people in South Asia view the Western world. Additionally, music and other avenues of creativity are informing social justice conversations in South Asian communities. How can we use media and music to engage in deeper conversations on race, culture, and other issues in a diverse South Asian population?

POLITICS & CIVIC ENGAGEMENT | Not only is South Asia a vital player in the War on Terror and the globalized market, but South Asian people are making strides in American politics as well. Furthermore, South Asian voters are increasingly making their voices heard on issues that matter to them. Learn how politics in this region differ and how South Asians are negotiating change through civic engagement.

BUSINESS | Endless opportunities have allowed South Asians in the U.S. and abroad to prosper. Nonetheless, there are still great disparities in socioeconomic status that only seem to be growing. Explore the possibilities of social entrepre- neurship, microfinance, and business practices and the impact they have on bridging the gap between marginalized populations.

ENVIRONMENT | With South Asia nations on rapid tracks to development, there is an increasing strain on basic resources. Access to food and clean water are only a sample of the concerns facing quickly developing and developed nations. How can we work together to create a more sustainable, equitable future?

HEALTH | While grassroots health initiatives are increasing in number in South Asia and the U.S., fundamental barriers continue to remain in the way of these programs. Topics of mental health and sexual health are still taboo subjects in South Asian communities. What is being done to undo the misconceptions surrounding these issues?

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