Over the weekend, Binghamton University co-hosted the Let Us Dream conference, an international event focused on international cooperation and creating a diverse environment.

Held virtually from Nov. 20 to Nov. 22, each session began with a general opening from a different keynote speaker before breaking out into three separate panels. On the first day, panels were held on various educational topics, followed by health and social panels on the second and third days, respectively. The moderators and members of the panels were professors from multiple universities, including BU.

BU President Harvey Stenger delivered an opening address on the second day of the conference welcoming participants.

“Over the course of this conference, the participants — as many as 25,000 worldwide — will be exploring ways to develop networks and partnerships of individuals working toward sustainable improvements, from the community to global levels,” Stenger said. “This is an outstanding opportunity for our local leaders and educators to develop ways to strengthen networks and explore new community improvement ideas in our region, and we are already seeing the impact of last year’s conference on the way organizations interact for the public good in our area.”

After registering for the conference, attendees were able to access the event via YouTube Live. It was held throughout the course of the three days from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST. In addition to adjusting the conference to account for COVID-19, the conference itself discussed the effects of COVID-19 relating to educational issues. One panel focused on the impact of the pandemic on community response services.

Laura Bronstein, dean of the College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA) and director of the Institute for Justice and Well-Being, helped lead BU’s role in planning the conference, specifically facilitating communication among academics and practitioners.

“This conference focuses on the integration of practitioner and scholar knowledge and is the perfect example of the work CCPA values and engages in,” Bronstein said. “In bringing together practitioners and researchers from around the world to address current challenges, there is a vast opportunity to learn and to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.”

This year’s event was co-hosted by BU, Louisiana Tech University, Grambling State University, Christ (Deemed to be University) and Catholic University of Applied Sciences of North Rhine-Westphalia. In 2019, BU hosted the annual Let Us Dream Conference on campus, but this was the first triennial international conference.

Myra Sabir, associate professor of human development, explained why she chose to participate and moderate a panel discussion on holistic education and psychosocial development.

“I have often thought that if the warm-hearted [people] had as strong a drive to step forward in leadership as the more fearful, then perhaps the power of gentleness and care would grow increasingly evident and help shape our way of living on the Earth,” Sabir wrote in an email.

The event was free and open to BU students and staff, along with those from contributing universities.

Benjamin So, an undeclared freshman, appreciated BU’s effort to run and participate in the conference.

“I view the conference as a beneficial and informational event that ideally would lead to the creation of more impactful and beneficial ideas and protocols that would benefit everyone around the globe,” So said. “This conference demonstrates a step toward global collaboration in the long-lasting fight against [COVID-19] and other important issues.”