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Ohio State to host national diversity conference

Ohio State will bring in educators from all over the country to take a close look at race and diversity during a national conference scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

The National Conference on Diversity, Race and Learning will be in its 21st year, and it will feature many workshops and training sessions aimed at educators of all levels to help them understand and work with racial and cultural diversity in educational settings.

“The (conference) has become an invaluable source to help keep Ohio State at the forefront of inclusive excellence, providing students and professionals in all walks of life a way to learn best practices, address relevant topics, and understand differing perspectives on diversity,” said Valerie Lee, vice provost and chief diversity officer at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

The event was planned by the ODI in coordination with corporations including Huntington Bancshares, Inc., Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Cardinal Health, which assisted in bringing in expert speakers, said Colby Taylor, program manager of administration and special programs at the ODI.

“We try to offer our attendees a number of different sessions … things that are very pertinent to today’s world as far as what’s affecting us and where are we going in regards to diversity, race and learning,” Taylor said.

Monday will be a preconference day full of training sessions, and this will be the third year it has been with the conference.

One of these sessions will be hosted by Debby Irving, the author of “Waking Up White,” and she will be the featured speaker of her sessions. According to the book’s website, the book looks critically at racism in the country and how to properly talk about it.

Tuesday will be the conference day and will feature 20 sessions that will be announced at the event, Taylor said.

A majority of attendees will be from Big Ten states, Taylor said, adding that in the past, there have been attendees from states as far California and Texas.

“In a university of this size, it is not only a microcosm of the United States but is a microcosm of the globe. Because of that scope, that breadth, it is important to not only engage, understand, but also show respect for people of other cultures,” Taylor said.

Nancy Cantor, the chancellor for Rutgers University-Newark will be featured as the keynote speaker for the event.

The first conference was in 1994, and only 60 people attended at the time, said Rose Wilson-Hill, the director of administration and special programs at the ODI.

“We’ve done a lot of things at the forefront over the years, and this would be a wonderful opportunity for us to just be very forceful in bringing the dialogue so that anyone who wants to come and talk about the issues can do so,” Wilson-Hill said.

Monday’s preconference seminars will be held at Hale Hall from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday’s conference will be at the Fawcett Conference Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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