ARIE National Conference 2024

ARIE National Conference 2024

Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall Fairfax, Virginia

“There’s so much research happening today—and this is the beauty of this conference,” said keynote speaker Gail Christopher, executive director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity and a senior scholar in Mason’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. “We can do the research to change the narrative to drive new stories, to amplify those new stories, to demystify and refute the fallacies. Research is an important part of getting rid of antiquated beliefs.”

More than 400 people attended the Monday conference either at Mason Square or virtually. Sharnnia Artis, Mason’s vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion, marked the event as a milestone for one of Mason President Gregory Washington’s signature objectives. Artis, who facilitated the Mason groups that planned the conference, also served as emcee.

This short video recaps the 2022 ARIE Conference.

Washington launched ARIE within weeks of arriving at Mason in July 2020 to root out any biases in Mason practices and policies with the ambition that Mason would become a national exemplar for inclusive excellence. Mason is the seventh most diverse public university in the country—and the most diverse public university in Virginia— according to U.S. News & World Report. 

There is a generation coming behind us—68 million people of the most diverse group of individuals that this country has ever had,” Washington said in opening the afternoon session of the conference. “They’re going to inherit the country, and they’re going to have to know how to deal with an environment that’s diverse. They need to be prepared to deal with one another.”

Washington later welcomed Northern Virginia Community College President Anne M. Kress and Virginia State University President Makola Abdullah for a presidential panel on advancing anti-racism and inclusive excellence in higher education.

The morning panel focused on conducting research through that lens. It featured three Mason professors and panelists from Harvard and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Charles Chavis, director of Mason’s John Mitchell Jr. Program for History, Justice and Race, noted that he had returned the previous day from a research trip with students to the Maryland Eastern Shore to work with descendants of racial violence. He talked about treating research subjects as collaborators and partners and empowering them to tell their own stories.

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