Announcing CFP Extension for the 40th Annual Meeting

2015 SSA Deadline Extension.003-001

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to extend the deadline for submitting abstracts to the 40th Annual Meeting of the Semiotic Society of America to Monday, June 22, 2015. We anticipate a significant number of submissions. We encourage you to submit your proposal as soon as possible.

All the best,
Farouk Seif
Executive Director, Semiotic Society of America

CFP: Semiotic Society of America 40th Annual Meeting

 October 1-4, 2015  |  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Submission Deadline: June 22, 2015

Evolutionary Love:
Relations and Identities in a Virtual World

Charles Sanders Peirce’s concept of evolutionary love is behind the theme of this year’s conference, which prompts an exploration into the digital age of virtual relationships and identities. How have these relationships grown, or changed, in our new worlds of digital communication, multimedial art, and virtual realities? Who are we now, in this new environment, and how are we to know ourselves? How have we changed in our new modes of connectedness, of friendship, of love? Where is our center, and where is that Other with whom we have dialogue? Have we discovered, or slipped into, a newly digitalized, more extensively virtual, postmodern, and intertextual web of subjectivity? What are the consequences for authentic encounter in this world? What is preserved, what is lost, what is transformed into something radically new? And where are we heading, as individuals, families, societies, communities?

As always, we welcome abstracts on any subject with a connection to semiotics (both theoretical and applied), not solely those inspired by this year’s theme. We encourage you to reach out to your semiotically-inclined colleagues by organizing thematic sessions or panels, as well as submitting individual papers and posters. Our Society is interdisciplinary and international, and we welcome voices from all communities.

Please visit EasyChair to submit your abstract or proposal for poster presentation. (If you have any problems accessing the website, please contact us). The extended deadline for submission is June 22, 2015. Please include the following information in your submission:

1. Author’s name(s)
2. Institutional affiliation
3. Email address
4. Title of abstract
5. 150 to 200-word abstract
6. Keywords (maximum 6 words)

Abstracts for individual papers or panels and organized sessions (3-4 papers) as well as poster presentations must include all of the above information. Papers are for a 20-minute presentation. Early submission of abstracts and proposals is highly recommended. An acknowledgement of receipt of your abstract will be sent to you within two weeks from the date of receipt. Electronic letters of acceptance will be sent to the selected participants by June 30, 2015.

Papers presented at the meeting will also be considered for publication in Semiotics 2015, the Yearbook of the Semiotic Society of America. The SSA Yearbook is an annual peer-reviewed publication series sponsored by the Semiotic Society of America, providing both a timely overview of current developments in semiotic research and a regular outlet for members of the Society to publish papers on their current work. Further details and deadlines will be specified in the Annual Meeting Program.

Student submissions are eligible for the Roberta Kevelson Award, which will honor the best student paper presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting. Students who wish to be considered for the Kevelson Award should indicate their interest in their abstract submissions, and submit their full papers to Prof. Deborah Eicher-Catt at by September 1, 2015.

Special Events
In addition to a distinguished keynote, plenary speakers, and the Presidential Address by Marcel Danesi, SSA 2015 will include:

Pre-Conference Marketplace of Semiotics (Thursday morning, Oct. 1) – Stimulating seminars and workshops led by well-known semiotic scholars in various disciplines. Students and more experienced scholars will have the opportunity to select one or two from among eight distinctive seminars. More information and further details will be provided in the Program.
Poster Presentations (displayed during the entire conference) – Poster presentations of current research should highlight best practices and methodology. All posters will be peer reviewed. Poster sizes should not exceed 3×3 feet in dimension and should be done on matte finish or coated paper. Submission of poster proposals should include 150–200 words of brief description and a PDF of the actual poster. Presenters should make sure their final printed posters are received by the SSA Registration Desk at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh no later than 12:00 noon on September 30, 2015. All posters will be on display in a gallery throughout the duration of the annual meeting.

Pittsburgh is the host city for the 40th SSA Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting will take place at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, 530 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, in the heart of downtown. The Omni Hotel has exceptional amenities. Enjoy the stunning views overlooking the entire city of Pittsburgh from Mount Washington and the Duquesne incline. Visit the Andy Warhol Museum, the Phipps Conservatory, and the shops in the Strip District (open 24 hours).

To make your room reservations, please go to the customized Group Web Link or call the Reservations Department 1-800-THE-OMNI 1-412-281-7100. We encourage you to make your reservation by August 21, 2015. After this date, it will be at the Omni Hotel’s discretion whether to accept reservations, which will be subject to prevailing rates and availability. Please follow the link to Semiotic Society of America when making your registration to receive the special rate of $165.00 per night (single or double room), including complimentary guest-room wireless Internet access.

Membership and Registration Fees
Please note that in accordance with Article 4, Section 4 of the SSA Constitution: “Only Individual, Student, and Honorary members in good standing may offer papers to the Program Committee for presentation at the meeting of the Society.” Membership must be in good standing at or before the time of abstract submission.

Membership Fees:
• SSA Membership Dues (Regular) – $50.00
• SSA Membership Dues (Student) – $30.00

Conference Registration Fees:
• Conference Registration (Regular) – $170.00 (late registration $200.00 after August 21, 2015)
• Conference Registration (Student) – $75.00 (late registration $90.00 after August 21, 2015)
• Pre-Conference Seminars Fee – $50.00 (access to all seminars)

Meals Fee – $125.00 (includes the following):
• Breakfast (3 days)
• Lunch (3 days)
• Beverage Service (3 days)
• Dinner Banquet (1 night)
• Welcome Reception with hors d’oeuvres and cash bar

To join the Society and register for the conference, please visit or call: +01-434-220-3300, Toll Free: 1-800-444-2419 (US & Canada).

We look forward to welcoming you in Pittsburgh!

2015 Program Committee

Robert S. Hatten, Chair
The University of Texas at Austin

Mariana Bockarova
University of Toronto

Isaac E. Catt
Duquesne University

Javier Clavere
Berea College

Deborah Eicher-Catt
Pennsylvania State University, York

Gilad Elbom
Oregon State University


SSA Executive Director

Farouk Y. Seif
Antioch University Seattle


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Happy 2015 and 40th Celebration!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Happy New Year…! 2015 marks the 40th anniversary celebration, a significant event in the history of the Semiotic Society of America. As most of you know, the Annual Meeting will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 1–4, 2015. Appropriately, the theme of our 40th Annual Meeting is:

“Evolutionary Love: Relations and Identities in a Virtual World”

The “Call for Papers”, venues, deadlines, and other pertinent information will be available in February.

We look forward to seeing you in Pittsburgh,

Farouk Y. Seif, Ph.D., AIA
Executive Director, Semiotic Society of America

Professor Emeritus, Antioch University Seattle

2014 Kevelson Award Winner is No “Ordinary” Student

Each year, the Semiotic Society of America (SSA) features the Roberta Kevelson Award for best student paper presented at its annual meeting (if, in the award committee’s judgment, a paper has been submitted that is worthy of this award).

John Tredinnick RoweThis year’s Kevelson Award recipient is John Tredinnick Rowe, a third-year Ph.D. student in medical studies at the University of Exeter Medical School’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health. Tredinnick Rowe delivered an outstanding presentation entitled “The Paradox of Giving: Insights into the Gift Economy”. A published version of his paper will become available in the forthcoming 2014 SSA Yearbook.

We asked Tredinnick Rowe a few questions and learned that, in addition to his being a bright, interdisciplinary thinker with great promise, his is no “ordinary” student story…

Please tell us a little about your background and what you currently do.
In addition to studying for my Ph.D., I live and work on my family farm in the west of Cornwall, UK, a region as far west and south as you can go in the British Isles. My family are mainly either involved in farming or in a medical profession – e.g. nurses, occupational therapists, a neuroscientist, etc. – so this has led me to having an interest in both medicine/biomedical issues and the natural environment and agriculture.

John Treddinick RoweThis may explain the rather circuitous route my education has taken. I started off in a bachelor’s in chemical engineering program as an undergraduate and then switched to a bachelor’s of science in environmental management, after which I started my Ph.D. in medical service innovation. Beyond academia and the farm, I enjoy trying to learn new languages and I am active in minority rights politics in Europe as well.

How did you come up with the idea for your SSA Annual Meeting paper and why does this topic interest you?
I came up with the idea in part by attending an International Semiotics Institute conference in Lithuania, which had the theme of Numanities (i.e., new humanities), which represents a drive to find new ways to use and integrate humanities into other contexts. This made me think about the integration of linguistics and socio-economics that I was working on in regard to some of my Ph.D. data. I then realised that I could extend my application of linguistics into semiotics within an socio-economic context.

Put simply, I wanted to illustrate how reviewing my observational data (ethnographic, in my case) with linguistic and semiotic analysis could deeply enrich my work on economics and innovation. This topic interests me as I was struck, when I started to study innovation science, by how much of a void there was in terms of historical authorship. Many of the problems and methods I encountered in the papers and textbooks on innovation I had read could have easily been explained through key sociological or classical scholars’ work, and yet these were absent. I found it stimulating to try to change this, albeit in a very small way.

How did you learn about semiotics?
My very first contact with semiotics was reading a book of my dad’s about Roland Barthes. My main exposure, however, came towards the end of my Ph.D. (I am very much a novice in this matter). I was searching for a framework to explain how to communicate the meaning and signification of natural environment use when I encountered eco-semiotics and, more broadly, the work of the Tartu-Moscow school. To discover the the works of Kalevi Kull, the von Uexkülls and Jesper Hoffmeyer was a moment of expansive clarity for me as it solved most of phenomena I had observed in my data that traditional social science had no meaningful way of explaining (to my limited knowledge).

…and the SSA conference? What was your experience there?
The SSA conference was wonderful. As a newcomer, it was an excellent to put faces to the papers that I had read. I feel that I made some great contacts there that can hopefully help me to continue in this line of work. It was also a joy to meet some of the people I made acquaintance with at the ISI conference in Lithuania earlier this year.

I also have a deepened respect for Farouk Seif, with regard to how much effort the conference must have taken to organise. I am eager to keep coming to the SSA conferences and hope to continue the contact with the people I met in the U.S. and also those from Europe.

John Treddinick RoweDo you see yourself continuing to pursue work in semiotics?
I sure hope so! I have an interview soon for a post-doc that will try to explain visual imagination from both an artistic and a neuroscience perspective. I submitted an application to integrate the two themes using neuro-semiotics.

Of all the academic disciplines I have undertaken, semiotics fires my brain like nothing else; it makes working a pleasure. After the SSA conference, I felt a missionary zeal to try and find a way to reintegrate semiotics back in medical studies.

Can you tell us about your other interests and hobbies?
My spare time is usually spent doing farm work (depending on the season), reading, or target shooting.

What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
I have the highly pretentious and grandiose aspiration to have a career that improves people’s lives. It would be wonderful to get to that point as, prior to the Ph.D., I was working in supermarkets and frying fish for a living – which does have its merits but is not always overly stimulating. Regarding my plans for the next 5-10 years, my wife tells me that we are going to have children. So my plan is largely to try and hold onto my remaining sanity and hair.


Congratulations, John!


The 2014 Kevelson Award Committee members are Gary Shank (Chair), Deborah Eicher-Catt, and Gilad Elbom.

It’s Our Anniversary. Will You Join Us?

Announcing 40th Annual Meeting

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It’s my pleasure to announce the location of our next SSA Annual Meeting. The 40th Anniversary Annual Meeting will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 1-4, 2015. Duquesne University will host this significant event. More information and details will be provided in the weeks ahead.

Onward and upward SSA,

Farouk Seif
SSA Executive Director

39th Annual Meeting Wrap-Up

Plenary Session

After four days of memorable talks, networking, and musical and visual arts performances, topped by a breathtaking cruise to Blake Island, we adjourned our 39th Annual Meeting last Sunday.

Celebrating this year’s outcomes, Executive Director and 2014 Program Chair Farouk Seif recalled his words pronounced at last year’s Dayton annual meeting: “Success is not an option; it is a destination”. In reflecting on the Seattle experience, he concludes, “Indeed, success was not an option. It was a destination for us all.” With those words in mind, we would like to thank each and every participant for helping to make this event an extraordinary success!

This year’s conference welcomed an unprecedented number of first-time attendees and numerous international participants who traveled far to join us from over 20 countries across the globe. Among them, we would like to extend a particularly warm thank you to our distinguished plenary speakers who traveled from Europe – Søren Brier (Denmark), Paul Cobley (UK), Dario Martinelli (Lithuania), and Susan Petrilli (Italy) – as well as those who joined us from North America – Marcel Danesi, Elliot Gaines, Alexander Laszlo, Michael Shapiro, and Brooke Williams Deely.

Shana Hormann (Antioch University Seattle) gave us a gracious local welcome and Mark Hower (Antioch University Seattle) led a pre-conference Marketplace of Semiotics open space session that opened up new avenues for exchange among participants.

No less memorable were stunning visual arts performances by invited artist Silvia Barbotto, who demonstrated her “visual synchronic translation” technique during conference events; piano performances by Marcel Danesi and Robert Hatten; and tango with local dance artists Maureen Muñoz, Greg Thomsen, Michelle Badion and Richard Baxter.

Silvia Barbotto

Special Awards
This year’s SSA meeting featured two special awards:

  • Paul Cobley was officially presented with the Sebeok Fellow Award, the highest honor given by the SSA. The award was created in 1991 to honor substantial career or lifetime contributions to semiotics and service to the semiotic community. “Professor Cobley has continued Professor Sebeok’s heritage of promoting the international publication of seminal works,” says John Deely, SSA founding member who presented the award, adding that Cobley has advanced “the realization in intellectual culture of how and why ‘the doctrine of signs’ or semiotics alone provides the only inherently interdisciplinary perspective on human knowledge.”

Paul CobleyCobley, who was recently elected to the position of president of the International Association for Semiotic Studies (IASS-AIS), is professor of language and media at Middlesex University. He has edited and authored numerous publications in communication theory, semiotics and other disciplines, and holds roles as co-editor of Social Semiotics and Handbooks of Communication Sciences; co-series editor of Semiotics, Communication and Cognition; and associate editor of Cybernetics and Human Knowing, in addition to secretary of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies. Cobley joins the ranks of other distinguished Sebeok Fellows David Savan, John Deely, Paul Bouissac, Jesper Hoffmeyer, Kalevi Kull, and Floyd Merrell, Susan Petrilli, and Irmengard Rauch. Congratulations, Paul!

  • In keeping with the SSA’s tradition of supporting young scholars, the conference also featured the annual Roberta Kevelson Award for best student paper presented. This year’s deserving recipient is John Treddinick-Rowe, a student at the University of Exeter Medical School, who delivered an outstanding presentation entitled “The Paradox of Giving: Insights into the Gift Economy”. The paper is eligible for publication in the 2014 SSA Yearbook.

According to Kevelson Award Committee member Deborah Eicher-Catt, “Treddinick-Rowe is attempting to bring semiotics into socio-economic theory” through “a well documented, sophisticated, historically-situated reading that articulates the paradox of giving within health service organizations”. Committee Chair Gary Shank explains that “Treddinick-Rowe neatly explores the paradox of how gift giving is the foundation of much economic activity, relying on semiotics as the means for bridging this paradoxical condition”, adding that his contribution is “Well done on its own terms, and well done within the theme of the conference as well.” Congratulations, John!

SSA Leadership News
Our Annual Meeting made official a number of transitions and new roles. We would like to extend our gratitude to our outgoing officers for their service, as well as warmly welcome and congratulate our new leaders!


  • Marcel Danesi inherits the helm as President from Elliot Gaines, who now holds the role of Immediate Past President
  • Terry Prewitt takes office as Vice President and 2015 Program Chair for the SSA’s 40th Anniversary Annual Meeting. A new, 2015 Program Committee responsible for next year’s conference will be nominated in the coming months.
  • Farouk Y. Seif and Stéphanie Walsh-Matthews complete their terms as members of the executive board and are succeeded by Deborah Eicher-Catt and Richard L. Lanigan. Farouk Y. Seif continues to hold his position as Executive Director.
  • You can learn more about the SSA leadership team here.

Rising Scholars Mentorship Program
Our new initiative, the Rising Scholars Mentorship Program, aims to support young scholars by pairing interested graduate student and junior faculty attendees with a volunteer expert semiotician for one year. We’ve received requests from eight junior scholars and we would like to thank John Coletta, Elliot Gaines, Robert Hatten, Dario Martinelli, and Gary Shank for their generous support of this initiative. Mentors and mentees can expect to receive follow-up information within the coming weeks.

2015 Annual MeetingNext Year’s 40th Anniversary Annual Meeting
Please mark your calendars for next year’s 40th anniversary annual meeting, which will take place October 1-4, 2015. Stay tuned for details by following our website’s blog and our Facebook and Twitter pages.


SSA Yearbook Publication for 39th Annual Meeting Presenters
39th Annual Meeting participants are eligible to submit their conference papers for consideration for the peer-reviewed 2014 SSA Yearbook. The deadline for submission of final papers is November 30, 2014. Please review our detailed instructions before submitting your work.

…And More Thank Yous!
Our 39th Annual Meeting was made possible through the hard work and generous support of a number of people and organizations. We would like to extend a special thank you to the following:

  • The 2014 Program Committee – Farouk Y. Seif (Chair), Mariana Bockarova, Gilad Elbom, Robert Hatten, Karen Haworth, and Linda Nurra – who worked for the greater part of ten months to bring new energy, participation, and vision to this event.
  • The Marketplace of Semiotics invited facilitators – John Coletta, Marcel Danesi, Elliot Gaines, Richard Lanigan, Frank Macke, Gila Safran Naveh, Steven Skaggs, and Stephanie Walsh-Matthews – as well as all those who stepped into last-minute “emerging” facilitator roles.
  • The Kevelson Award Committee – Gary Shank (Chair), Deborah Eicher-Catt, and Gilad Elbom – for their excellent and thorough work in vetting award candidates.
  • Pam Swope of Philosophy Documentation Center, for ensuring a smooth and seamless conference and special event registration process.
  • The local Hosting Team – Michele Streich (Lead), Fariba Fuller, Melissa Kelii, Pauline McCharles, Leanna Mix, and Linda Nurra – for their crucial support with set up and logistical issues and welcoming participants.
  • Bill Ratcliffe of Antioch University Seattle, for generously sharing his time and audio-visual technology expertise.
  • Rubén Israel Gatica Gómez, for creating and sharing a video slideshow of our conference highlights.
  • And last but not least, we would like to thank our sponsors and supporters, who made many things possible by donating financial and other resources: ISIS Institute, Antioch University Seattle, DigiCopy N Print, TGB Architects, and OSR | Organization Systems Renewal.

Some Feedback from Participants

“Thanks so much for your work in designing and putting on such a fabulous Semiotics conference!”

“The conference was magnificent.”

“This was so different from all the other academic conferences I’ve attended. It’s not always easy to connect with new people at these events – but this felt like one big family reunion.”

“It was an amazing conference, and a turning point for the Society.”

“As I am digesting new concepts and stories from the SSA meeting, I am very grateful for the opportunity to get exposure and learn semiotics. I think it is your desire and intention to broaden the reach of SSA/semiotics that manifested the opportunity for me to attend. … I thank you for your vision and for your perseverance to see it through. I look forward to continue learning and connecting.”

“At all levels, it was a success.”

“I am very grateful for this opportunity to discover semiotics. Thank you!”

“What a wonderful meeting you and your team have designed! It’s a gracious thing you did by weaving art and design into the conference. The high attendance rate is testament to your collective skill.”

“This is an amazing meeting. I got so much important experience and [would like to] establish an academic relationship between both Chinese and American semiotic societies. Hopefully, my effort will greatly promote our deep collaboration in the future. Thanks a lot again for your hard work.”

“It was a great experience. … Thank you!”

2014 SSA Yearbook

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Many thanks to those who participated in and made the 39th SSA Annual Meeting in Seattle a very successful event.

In order to be considered for publication in the SSA Yearbook, please submit your final paper by November 30, 2014. The submission guidelines and SSA Style Sheet will assist you in finalizing your submissions.

All inquiries and submissions should be directed to the Editor, Jamin Pelkey, at

I wish you all the best.

Farouk Seif
SSA Executive Director

Preparing for Your Trip to Seattle

Dear 39th Annual Meeting Participants,

We hope that you are as excited as we are about what’s in store for us next week. We even have a few surprises that we know you’ll enjoy!

In the meantime, please take note of some important information and reminders:

Media Information for Presenters

  • The SSA will provide projectors for those using a PowerPoint or other slide presentation. Please bring a USB device (and, if possible, a laptop) with your presentation saved on it. A number of SSA members have volunteered the use of their laptops, but it would be helpful if some presenters brought their own.
  • The Westin Hotel offers free wifi access throughout the premises.

The Weather in Seattle

  • The current weather in Seattle is around 61 degrees F (16 C) and few showers. The ten-day forecast is between 63 and 68 degrees F (17-20 C), with mostly sunny days. Bring an umbrella just in case!
  • The Westin Hotel conference rooms default temperature is set between 68 and 70 degrees F (20-21 C).

Fitness Facilities

  • The Westin Hotel offers free use of its fitness facilities to hotel guests. If you would like to work out during your stay, you may even pack light and leave your sneakers behind! The Westin will provide New Balance shoes and workout clothing for a nominal fee of $5 for the entire duration of your stay.

Post-Conference Tour and Local Attractions

  • Those of you who have not signed up yet will still have the opportunity to join us for a wonderful tour of Tillicum Village on Blake Island on Sunday, right after the conference closing ceremonies. You may sign up at the registration desk when you arrive.
  • Many of Seattle’s most famous attractions are within walking distance of the Westin, including the Space Needle, the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Symphony (Benaroya Hall), the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum, Pike Place Market, and the beautiful waterfront. Here is an easy-to-use map and listing.

Transportation Options from SeaTac Airport to the Westin Seattle Hotel

  • Sound Transit Light Rail – The cost of the ticket is $2.75 one way and train travel time is approx. 40 minutes. You can buy the ticket at the vending machine at the station. Be sure to purchase your ticket before boarding the Light Rail to avoid the $124 fine. Directions: From Baggage Claim (Lower Level), take the escalator up to Skybridge No. 6 to the Sound Transit Light Rail Station (approximately 10 minutes). Take the train and exit at Westlake Station. At the station, either (1) take the elevator and exit to the right to find the Westin in front of you, or (2) take the escalator, exit right towards 5th Avenue, and walk one block down 5th Avenue.
  • Shuttle Express – The cost is $18 one way and travel time is approximately 30 minutes. Shuttle Express will take you directly to the Westin Seattle Hotel. To make reservations, visit or call +1-425-881-7000. Directions: Take Skybridge No. 4 from the Terminal Building to Level 4 and use the elevator or escalator to Level 3. Shuttle Express is located on Level 3.
  • For driving directions from the airport to the Westin Seattle Hotel, visit the hotel’s driving directions page.
  • A listing of additional transportation options between the airport and the Westin Seattle Hotel can be found here.

For our latest program information, please visit this page.

We are looking forward to seeing you soon!

Farouk Seif
SSA Executive Director
2014 Program Chair

Semiotics Book Exhibit at 39th Annual Meeting

Book Exhibit 1

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The countdown continues for the 39th SSA Annual Meeting in Seattle!

The Program Committee would like to extend an invitation for you to bring sample copies of your published books for display at the Book Exhibit and Gallery in the Westin Hotel.  If you have any questions about our book exhibit, please direct them to Gilad Elbom at

Farouk Seif
SSA Executive Director
Chair, Program Committee


Book Exhibit 2

Pictured above: Some of the latest publications in semiotics (2013-forthcoming in 2015), including works by SSA members and 39th Annual Meeting presenters.

Opportunity Knocks Again…!

Based on several requests, we are very pleased to announce that we have secured an extension for reduced-rate bookings at the Westin Seattle Hotel, for those of you who have not yet made your reservations. Please take note of the new – but absolutely final – deadline: Tuesday, September 9. Shall we take advantage of this opportunity?

To reserve your room at this discounted rate, visit Westin Hotel Seattle Reservations or call +01-888-627-8513.

We look forward to enjoying this wonderful venue with you!

Farouk Y. Seif
SSA Executive Director
Chair, Program Committee