Being a short-sighted college student who was recently slapped with a rather large dose of senioritis, my biggest concern in regards to the Geographies of Power conference, the one the office has been working on meticulously since before I became an intern, was “Oh no, I have to wake up at 6:30am. What does the world even look like at that hour?” Yeah, so everyone who is not a college student hates me for that but this is my last year of life where that is acceptable, so let me be. For the record, the sun is out at 6:30am. Who knew?
Look! We’re alive at 7:30am!
On a more serious note, being involved with Geographies of Power was an awesome way to end my experience at CGS. I could have never imagined the amount of work that goes into putting a conference together – from knowing every participant’s itinerary, ordering food for all of the meals, packing folders and bags, and more.
One of the best parts of working at the conference was that we got to sit in on many of the presentations. One of my favorites was by Dr. Anna Gabe who gave a presentation on Islam and environmentalism in Indonesia. I was mostly impressed by her presence as a public speaker (because having a PhD and being brilliant just isn’t enough). If she’s not already a slam poet on the side, someone needs to tell her to become one. (See Sarah Kay: Slam Poet Queen: http://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_kay_if_i_should_have_a_daughter.html)
I also loved Dr. Moustafa Bayoumi’s speech and I imagine most of the participants did as well. While everyone’s presentation was brilliant and thought-provoking, Bayoumi’s was relatable. It was awesome to walk away from his presentation, which made references to the show 24 and Zero Dark Thirty in relation to the CIA’s role in Hollywood, and realize that I actually understood everything that he said.
This brings me to my next point. Every time a presenter gave their speech I was amazed at their expertise on the most specific topics. Which is why my absolute favorite moment of the conference was when I heard a speaker say to her panel chair, “I need to present last. I have no idea what I’m doing” (this is not to say that the speaker was not prepared). I always imagined that by senior year I would have my life together. With graduation three days away, and no life plan set, it was awesome to hear that an academic with a PhD degree doesn’t have it all together either.
Reward for all of our hard work: Unlimited naan at the post-conference dinner. YUM!