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The year 2017 saw the rise of #MeToo and the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. National Football League players knelt on the field during the national anthem to note nationwide racial inequities.
White supremacists marched, too, and statues honoring Civil War Confederate officers were relocated from public parks. Opioids tightened their grip on Iowa and America.
And few knew the word “derecho” and rarely had need to use the term “pandemic.”
That year, 2017, also saw the launch of The Gazette’s Iowa Ideas initiative — the first edition of Iowa Ideas magazine was published in March, and the initial Iowa Ideas Conference was held in September. More than 260 speakers and panelists came together over several days for that initial mega-conference in downtown Cedar Rapids, to talk through key issues facing the state, and to offer thoughts, plans and inspirations for our collective future.
And now to 2021. This year — on Oct. 14 and 15 — The Gazette will host its fifth-annual Iowa Ideas Conference, and there surely will be no shortage of issues, concerns … and ideas … to be hashed out.
As in 2020, the conference will be entirely online. Coordinating such a large undertaking — this past year’s gathering boasted more than 1,200 attendees who tuned in — needed to begin almost immediately after last year’s concluded. Common sense planning then dictated an online-only strategy.
REGISTER NOW: Register for free for the 2021 Iowa Ideas conference
As in past years, the Conference will feature separate tracks — aka, subject matter areas — attendees can check out:
- Community development
- Energy and environment
- Health care
- Human and social services
Diversity, equity and inclusion will be examined throughout all the tracks.
This year’s two-day program again will include keynote speakers. David Gould, a visiting associate professor at the University of Iowa’s Public Policy Center, will be the opening speaker, on Thursday morning. Gould previously served as an administrator at the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the UI and was the UI’s first Obermann Center Public Scholar.
Thomas Abt, a senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice and director of the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice, will speak Friday morning.
Closing keynote speaker on Friday will be astronaut Peggy Whitson. America’s first female space-station commander, Whitson spent 665 days in space, all told, while with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. That’s more than any other U.S. astronaut.
Whitson now consults with Houston-based Axiom Space for what is planned to be the first commercial space flight to the International Space Station in 2022.
Sessions will be recorded and available for replay on The Gazette’s website soon after the conference. Closed captioning, through the use of Zoom and Whova videoconferencing platforms, will be offered throughout the Conference.
All those interested in Iowa’s future, and the many ideas needed to fuel it, should plan to attend. Join us, won’t you?
Michael Chevy Castranova is editor of Iowa Ideas magazine and business editor for The Gazette; (319) 398-8307, firstname.lastname@example.org.