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GSAPP Cultural Conference October 8th, 2010
Addressing Culture, Race and Ethnicity In Different Contexts

On Friday, October 8th, 2010, professionals, a diverse cadre of social workers, educators, counselors and psychologists met at the Livingston Student Center to attend the 7th annual Culture Conference. Co-sponsored by the School of Social Work-Institute for Families, and the Graduate School of Education, the Cultural Conference encouraged vibrant dialogue and emerging innovation in the criss-crossing field of cultural diversity across clinical, educational, and community contexts.

The Conference began with some opening remarks by Nancy Boyd-Franklin and Shalonda Kelly, who provided a historical overview of the conference as a student-initiated project which blossomed into a larger inter-disciplinary venue on themes of cultural competency and social justice. Stanley Messer, Dean of the Graduate School of Applied & Professional Psychology, continued the discussion of student-led initiatives by announcing the development of the Multicultural Concentration at GSAPP, and reiterated the commitment of the School of Social Work, the Graduate School of Education, and GSAPP, to developing a diverse body
of professionals ready to engage active work in the community.
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Dr. Maurice Elias of the Department of Psychology was the keynote speaker for this year's conference. His talk "Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development Interventions in Schools: Addressing Key Variations Across Groups," addressed the need to effectively coordinate the various systems of intervention operating in schools in order to increase efficacy and reduce service redundancy. Seeing social-emotional learning and character development as intertwined and foundational aspects of academic achievement and mental health, Dr. Elias argued that it is necessary to nurture a sense of citizenry and community among youth in order to promote a more democratic society.
Urging clinicians, social workers, and educators, Dr. Elias stressed that "developing an empowering and sustaining relationship with communities and within communities is more important than having the most empirically-supported intervention."

After the keynote the conference participants broke out into morning and then afternoon sessions.