The ninth edition of the Community Movements Conference (CMC) is taking place on February 5-7. Organized by the Student Association for International Development (SAID), this year’s conference focus will be on issues surrounding migration in their political, economic, social, and environmental contexts.

This is extremely timely, as the world struggles to understand the nuances of migration and human mobility as shown by the rising racist and discriminatory views surrounding migrants that are based on a politics of ignorance and fear.

As it is now tradition for the CMCs, the critical discussions, panels, workshops, and table conversations will be engaging and challenging to all members of the community. The CMC organizing committee strives to provide an open and safe space for all to join in on the conversation.

This year’s two keynote speakers are Harsha Walia, co-founder of the Vancouver chapter of No One Is illegal, and Gloria Nafziger, from Amnesty Canada. The conference is proud to be able to bring speakers of such caliber, and it goes to show the high level of professionalism of the CMC organizing committee.

One of the highlights of this year’s edition will be the introduction of a “Challenge for Change”. Participants, divided in teams, will be able to hear and discuss on two panels, one on movement building, and another on policy development. A professor and community organization in both areas will present, and then the Peterborough Partnership Council on Immigrant Integration (PPCII) will introduce a challenge for the participants to look at and address.

The idea behind this exercise will be to ground the issues discussed in the workshops and panels, and to allow participants to look at real life situations and the application of the issues discussed. Following a feedback session by the PPCII and the panels, raffle prizes will be handed out.

Another highlight of this annual conference is the delightful food brought by Food Not Bombs.

There has been an enormous amount of hard work and planning put in by the organizing committee since early September. The committee is sub-divided into the Speakers, Marketing, Budgeting, Logistics, and the Challenge for Change sub- committees. Arthur talked to one of the most recent members of the committee.

Teanna Allen-Lisk, a first year student, talked to Arthur about the exciting and rewarding experience of being a part of the committee.

She joined after the SAID Meet and Greet at the beginning of the year and expressed that it was a way of being involved in the community in an exciting manner. Allen-Lisk explained how the conference organizing committee has allowed her to meet other first year students, upper year students, and faculty within the program, which brings friendly faces around campus and has really helped with the transition into university.

“Being involved in the conference gives students something to focus on other then just academics through the year and allows students to be part of something bigger and community based”, Allen-Lisk added.

Moreover, she specifically pointed out at how being a member has helped her practice and develop skills such as public speaking. Allen-Lisk said, “The conference has really allowed [me] to come out of my shell and get myself out there into the community. It has truly been one of the highlights of my first year, allowing me to build skills, make new friends, and gain new experiences as well as being able to be a part of something that allows the community to come together.”

As in previous editions, this year’s Community Movements Conference is a must and will be one of the highlights of the year in the Peterborough community.