Diversity and community are essential threads of our national fabric. In the wake of the horrific events in Quebec and their aftermath, these two parts of our shared identity can be shaken and less than secure. Many of us have been motivated more than ever to reach out to family, friends, colleagues and strangers to reinforce our belief in their essential nature and affirm our unity. It is easy to say, ‘what can we do?’ but most of us react otherwise.
As academics, we have a vast array of opportunities to foster diversity and community on our own campuses, in our research networks, and in our community. Many of us are involved in our home towns or cities, whether it be sitting on a neighbourhood committee, working with a charity, or coaching a sports team. We all have opened our doors to assist international students and faculty from around the globe to settle and find their bearings in their new home. We help out in any number of small and seemingly insignificant ways that demonstrate our commitment to creating a welcoming community.
At the CAAA, we are also a community with diversity in terms of membership, research and teaching interests, our time and talents. As your current president, I have had the opportunity to meet many of you over the last several months. These chats have left me frequently humbled when I learn of the activities and contributions of our members on so many fronts – most of them done with little fanfare or expectation of recognition. We all know these colleagues who always seem to be too busy yet willing to take on another task, another committee, another manuscript review – colleagues who make us simply tired just by listening to their agenda.
I will be the first to admit that ‘saying no’ is not my strong suit. While not recommending or urging this attitude, as we look to this year’s CAAA conference in Montreal, I would ask that you take advantage of opportunities within the CAAA to be part of your academic community. Accept to sit on one of our committees, represent us as your campus liaison, act as a chair or discussant at one of the conference sessions. We all don’t have time all of the time, but perhaps we can have time some of the time!
We have made great strides this year in fostering our networks and establishing new collaborations to enrich our programmes and activities. Our upcoming conference and its theme of ‘Fearless Disruption’ will showcase some of them. Do be in touch with me or our president-elect Khalid Nainar to provide your input on how we can make the CAAA a vital part of your academic community. You also can keep up to date and contact the CAAA here on our website, and engage with us via Twitter
Cheryl S. McWatters