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WFI Symposia and Events

WFI Events

One of the ways that we enact the WFI’s mission — communication as central to the creation of positive social change — is through the annual sponsorship of symposia, lectures, workshops, conferences, and events. Although these events differ in specific theme, they all aim to create and strengthen a global network of Communication scholars and professionals, and to generate new conversations about communication, social change, and social justice.

Current WFI-Sponsored Events (More to come! Keep checking back!)

  • THANK YOU! We were delighted to celebrate the return of our Transit Talks lecture series, our collaboration with Temple University! We skipped 2020-21 because of the global pandemic, but in October 2021 we welcomed Prof. Herman Wasserman, University of Cape Town, for two lectures, one on Villanova's campus and one on Temple's campus. Herman Wasserman is Professor of Media Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He has published widely on media in Africa. His latest book is Media, Conflict and Democracy in Africa (Oxford University Press) and his forthcoming co-edited collection (with Dani Madrid-Morales), Disinformation in the Global South, will soon appear with Wiley-Blackwell. He is a Fellow of the International Communication Association and currently a Visiting Research Scholar at the University of Houston. Wasserman is Editor-in-Chief of the academic journals African Journalism Studies and the Annals of the International Communication Association. His Villanova Transit Talks lecture was titled Disinformation in the Global South: A research agenda. Despite being a widespread problem in countries in the Global South, the study of disinformation remains dominated by examples, case studies and models from the Global North. Knowledge about the various manifestations of disinformation, the range of responses and success rate of interventions to counter disinformation remains fragmented and partial. In order to gain a better understanding of the knowledge gaps and areas where further research is required, as well as to identify opportunities for inter- and intra-regional cooperation, more research into the types of disinformation, the social factors enabling its spread, and possible contextually relevant interventions is needed. This talk provided an overview of some of these research efforts.
  • COMING SOON! The WFI is sponsoring the opening session at the National Communication Association Conference in November 2021: "Honoring Past and Present: Communication, Culture, and Change in Native Seattle." This roundtable session will feature NCA members, government officials, and community activists highlighting the role that communication plays in Native communities in the Pacific Northwest, through language, art, culture, and ritual. The participants in this roundtable will be: 
    • Esther Lucero, Seattle Indian Health Board. Esther Lucero is of Dine’ and Latina decent. She is currently the President/Chief Executive Officer for Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB) where she is committed to serving the urban American Indian and Alaska Population in the best way. She has built a team-based environment and established an Executive team that led the charge in integrating a new care model, Indigenous Knowledge Informed Systems of Care, where Traditional Medicine is at the center of everything the organization does. Lucero’s passion and advocacy for Native health, transformative approaches to indigenous research and evaluation, and Federal Indian Law and policy has made her a leader in health in Seattle and nationally. 
    • La Royce Batchelor, founder and CEO at Clever Crow. She has spent 30 years in higher education delivering experiential education to more than 6,000 students at five institutions in four countries. She specializes in the deconstruction of the rhetoric of power particularly as it relates to policy and directs this expertise to the work of Truth and Reconciliation across Turtle Island (North America). A best-selling author, award winning educator, and serial entrepreneur, Batchelor delivers transformative education with a gentle but no-nonsense manner through her company Clever Crow. She speaks equity and inclusion to institutions and governments, while also guiding students and faculty of Manitoba's higher education through her discussion group, Manitoba Indigenous Student Caucus.  
    • Scott Pinkham, (Nez Perce) Assistant Director of Diversity & Access for the College of Engineering and American Indian Studies lecturer at the University of Washington. He teaches courses on contemporary Native issues, urban Native experience, and powwow guided in part by Gerald Vizenor’s term “Native Survivance.”  Pinkham serves on the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Working Group and Brotherhood Initiative steering committees, and as the American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES) UW Chapter advisor. He was the first Native American elected to the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors. 
    • Derrick Belgarde, Deputy Director at the Chief Seattle Club. Mr. Belgarde is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon, and also Chippewa-Cree from Rocky Boy Montana. He serves on the board of Capitol Hill Housing, Downtown Emergency Service Center, Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, and the Washington State Affordable Housing Advisory Board. 
    • Abriel Johnny, Board of Directors Chairperson for United Indians of All Tribes Foundation and also a Commissioner on the Seattle Women's Commission. Both Cowichan and Tlingit, Johnny is a cultural knowledge holder, a teacher, an artist, an athlete, an advocate, and decolonizer. In 2020, she was named one of the Gates Foundations 100 Local Changemakers Awardees. In 2021, she was awarded the Adaline Garcia Community Service Award as a Future Leader honoree. She currently works for HealthierHere as a Community and Tribal Engagement Manager with a primary focus on Tribal health. Her work focuses on equity within health care policy and implementation for all communities with a special focus on Urban Indian and Tribal Nation's health. 
    • Eean Grimshaw, Assistant Professor of Communication at North Carolina Wesleyan College. His scholarly interests include issues of language and social interaction, cultural discourse analysis, and intercultural communication. Currently, he studies communication of the Blackfeet (Amskapi Piikuni) within the Native America Speaks Program in Glacier National Park, the longest-running Indigenous Speaker Series in the National Park Service. Using and developing ethnographic studies of communication, Grimshaw specializes in the integration of communication and culture. His recent publications include “Two Different Kinds of Life”: A Cultural Analysis of Blackfeet Discourse (in Approaches to Discourse, 2021) and Blackfeet Discourses about Dwelling-in-Place: Our Homeland, A National Park (in Bridging Cultural Concepts of Nature: Indigenous Peoples and Protected Spaces of Nature, 2021) both with co-author Donal Carbaugh.
  • If you are attending the conference, please join us for this important event on Friday, 11/18, from 5-6:15pm in Ballroom 6B in the Washington State Convention Center. Mark your NCA schedules & join us!
  • The WFI proudly sponsored the Opening Session at the National Communication Association Annual Conference in November 2020! The NCA Opening Session "Mental Health at the Crossroads: Intersections in Health and Society," featured both NCA members and community members examining the factors that impact mental health and mental health treatment. Specifically, panelists examined ways in which mental health intersects with race, gender, sexual orientation, educational attainment, and income. 
  • Our 2nd "Transit Talks" Lecture, an exciting collaboration with Dr. Patrick Murphy and Temple University's Klein College of Media and Communication. Our second event welcomed renowned scholar Dr. Karma R. Chávez from the University of Texas at Austin! She spoke on Villanova's campus on Thursday, February 6th, followed by a "master class" on Temple's campus on Friday, February 7th. Dr. Chávez's Villanova lecture was entitled "Alienizing Nation: HIV/AIDS and the Rhetoric of Quarantine, Ban, and Resistance." Dr. Chávez is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas - Austin. She is author of Queer Migration Politics: Activist Rhetoric and Coalitional Possibilities (University of Illinois Press, 2013) and Palestine on the Air (University of Illinois Press, 2019).
  • The WFI proudly sponsored the Opening Session at the National Communication Association Annual Conference in November! This event was jammed with attendees, and was truly transformative: "Race Relations in Charm City: Communicating Social Justice"! Reflecting our ongoing partnership with NCA, this panel brought together Communication scholars and community activists for a conversation regarding the social justice issues tied to race in the conference host city, Baltimore--such as poverty, violence, health, and wealth attainment. The panelists for the program included the following: 

The moderator for this panel was: Kimberly Moffitt, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Missed it? Not a problem: here's the link to watch it online!

  • The WFI sponsored a spotlight event during the National Communication Association Annual Conference in November, 2018: "ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST"! Reflecting our ongoing partnership with NCA, the event (pictured above) brought together Communication scholars and community activists for a conversation regarding the pressing environmental issues facing indigenous nations in Utah. The panel included members of indigenous nations and allies of indigenous populations, for a rich and powerful conversation about the intersection of environmental justice and indigenous rights. Missed it? Check out the video!

In the meantime, more information? Please contact the WFI Director.

Past WFI Symposia

World Conflict Photography Exhibition

In 2017-18, the WFI sponsored two exciting events on Villanova's campus.

The first was The 2017-18 WFI Symposium: "World Conflict Photography." The WFI was proud to sponsor the North American premiere of the exhibition "World Conflict Photography," which brought to Villanova a collection of work by award-winning journalists covering conflicts worldwide. The exhibition ran through an entire week in February 2018, consisted of videos and still photography from journalists covering conflicts worldwide, and was punctuated by an opening and closing lecture by the freelance journalists whose bravery (and, far too often, sacrifice) makes possible the reporting on dangerous political events around the world that we see in American news outlets.

Second, we sponsored a campus visit from national and international award-winning slam poet, Ed Mabrey. Mr. Mabrey gave a performance in the Department’s black box studio in April 2018, and the following day held a workshop for students, helping them move their own art and voice to print and performance.

2016-17 WFI Symposium

Our most recent symposium was The 2016-17 WFI Symposium: The Just Transition Conference: Communicating Power in an Age of Climactic Change.

Rather than offering a traditional academic conference, in 2016-17, the WFI instead sponsored a series of events on April 7-8, 2017, all centered on on climate justice, the intersection of environnmentalism and racism, and just transition advocacy.

  • The symposium kicked off with an interdisciplinary panel, “Science, Expertise, and Environmental Justice,” on Friday, April 7th. This panel brought together a rich diversity of perspectives on climate justice by featuring rhetorical scholar Phaedra C. Pezzullo from the University of Colorado, Boulder, professor of environmental studies Giovanna Di Chiro from Swarthmore College, and environmental chemist Amanda Grannas from Villanova. A spirited Q&A followed the presentations, focusing on what it means to engage questions of environmental justice in a political climate discouraging or denying climate science, and negatively sanctioning advocacy efforts.
  • The next day, Saturday, April 8th, a group of students, faculty, activists, and Philadelphia residents embarked on a daylong Environmental Justice Tour of select Philadelphia sites. The Environmental Justice tour allowed us an opportunity to engage firsthand with Philadelphia groups engaged in the struggle for climate justice; we were able to both witness sites of environmental injustice and sites of amazing environmental activism.
  • Following the conclusion of the EJ Tour, the WFI Symposium wrapped up with our KEYNOTE EVENT, a public address by Aaron Mair, the President of the Sierra Club, and José T. Bravo of The Just Transition Alliance. These two vital, engaging figures talked through their advocacy efforts, the obstacles that just transition activists face, and engaged with the audience about the pressing issues of justice surrounding climate change, racism, and workers' rights.

These events truly enacted the WFI’s mission to create and strengthen a global network of Communication scholars and professionals, and to generate new conversations about communication, social change, and climate justice.


WFI 2015-16 Symposium
  • The 2015-16 WFI Symposium--Cross-Cultural Communication and Ethics: U.S. and Chinese Perspectives on Theory and Practice--was held on Villanova's campus on Saturday October 3rd, 2015. The WFI proudly hosted an interdisciplinary, international conversation regarding the complexity of ethics in intercultural engagement between the U.S. and China. Symposium sessions with scholars and professionals from the US and China addressed significant cultural, practical, and ethical dimensions of this complex issue. The events of the Symposium culminated with a scintillating lecture from renowned intercultural communication scholar, Dr. Stella Ting-Toomey. Her keynote was entitled: "Developing Intercultural Communication Competence: Ethical Issues to Ponder."
WFI 2015 Symposium
  • The 2014-15 WFI Symposium: Communication, Postcoloniality, and Social Justice: Decolonizing Imaginations. From March 26-29, 2015, the WFI proudly hosted an exciting and innovative four-day event, a conference bringing together scholars from across the globe to chart some possible pathways for the future of Communication and Media Studies. This was the first event of its kind in the US, focusing on communication through the lens of postcoloniality. Check out our list of keynote and plenary speakers by visiting the Conference website.
  • The 2013-14 Symposium: On July 16, 2014, the WFI presented the one-day event, “Diversity Through Dialogue: Living Diversity, Communicating Justice.” The daylong event was designed for faculty and staff interested in issues of diversity and inclusion, Diversity Directors/Officers, School Directors, Diversity Programmers at Independent and Religious Schools and Colleges. As K-12 schools, colleges and universities move past the first stage of diversity work—acquiring compositional diversity—it is important that we are ready to move on and think in holistic and meaningful ways about how we use the diversity we have to meet specific and current educational goals and outcomes. The WFI was proud to host an energetic and intellectually stimulating dialogue on these issues, headlined by a keynote from renowned Communication scholar, Dr. Brenda J. Allen.

The 2012-13 Symposium: On October 26-27, 2012, the WFI presented a two-day event, “Truth, Fact, & Communication in Complex Information Environments.” The conference began with an evening keynote address, "Deception and Distraction in the 2012 Presidential Election," delivered by renowned political communication scholar, Kathleen Hall Jamieson. The next day brought together a collection of leading Communication scholars and professionals from across the country, engaging the challenges of grappling with communication, advocacy, and social justice issues within the context of higher education institutions.

  • The 2011-12 Symposium: On October 22, 2011, the WFI hosted a one-day event, “The Challenge of Communicating Truth.” This event, inspired by the work of the late pioneering communication theorist Barnett Pearce, brought together scholars and practitioners from across the country to engage in conversation about the nature and complexity of truth.
  • The 2010-11 Symposium: our WFI Inaugural Symposium. On October 1st and 2nd, 2010, the WFI was officially launched! The program began at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and continued the next day on Villanova's campus, in a symposium connecting communication students, scholars, and professionals from around the country.

Transit Talks Lecture Series

Transit Talks Lecture Series

Please join us as we restart our Transit Talks lecture series in partnership with Temple University.

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