Note from the PJSA Board Co-Chair

By Laura Finley

I write this on my plane home from the conference in Winnipeg, full of joy from having seen so many old friends and made some new ones, invigorated academically and emotionally from the powerful plenaries and sessions I attended, and excited for new plans for PJSA that emerged during our days together. I want to extend the deepest gratitude to board member and Conference Chair Wendy Kroeker and her team of folks in Winnipeg and in PACS-CAN that helped pull off another fantastic conference. As always, heartfelt thanks are due to our amazing Executive Director Michael Loadenthal, perhaps the hardest-working person I know. I am also very appreciative of my fellow board members who engage so enthusiastically in our work and who offer such vibrant and thoughtful perspectives. Please know that those of you who were unable to attend due to work, family, or other obligations were missed.

Thanks to those board members who are departing—Michael Minch, Elham Atashi, Elavie Ndura, Jinelle Piereder—you will always remain important parts of the PJSA fabric. Thankfully, we have a great set of new board members, many of whom were able to jump right in at the conference despite no obligation to do so. Welcome to our new secretary, my dear friend Robin Cooper; our new Women and Gender Issues chair, Alison Castel; Diversity Chair Pushpa Iyer, Canadian Membership Chair Anna Hamling; Liaison to Activists Sarah Doerrer, and our new publications chair, another good friend, Matthew Johnson. I am especially excited to work with my new co-chair, Jennie Barron, who I think will be a spectacular partner in crime!

We were elated to have so many people attend the Membership Meeting, but are aware that many members could not, so I will recap some of the announcements we made. First, we want to remind everyone to check their membership status. You may have noticed we have a new and very lovely website, but kinks in the previous version made membership renewals tricky. The problem has been corrected on the new website, but if members would be so kind as to attempt to log in to see if their membership is active, we would greatly appreciate it. If you are unable to log in, that means your membership has lapsed, and we would LOVE IT if you could renew! We do hope you find membership in PJSA valuable, and now we offer a multi-year renewal option to make it even simpler. Similarly, we encourage everyone to consider an institutional membership, as this is even more cost effective and brings more engaged individuals into our fold. For more detail about that, please contact our board member for institutional membership, Jeremy Rinker, at

Further, if anyone wishes to request an amazing speaker for their university or community, please see the website for information about our Speaker’s Bureau. We feature many well-known and talented scholars and activists who have agreed that, should they be booked to speak, they will donate a portion of their honoraria to PJSA. Likewise, if anyone would like to be added as a member of the Speaker’s Bureau, the website includes an application form.

The board also made an important decision during its meeting about our affiliated journal, Peace and Change. While we recognize the importance of having an academic journal, bureaucratic issues with Wiley, the company that produces Peace and Change, have become cumbersome and financially draining. Therefore, we have voted to cease our relationship with that journal. We have formed a committee to look into other journal options, and would love members to join. Additionally, if anyone has suggestions for journals that would be a good fit for PJSA, please let us know. Relatedly, we applaud the efforts of Michael Loadenthal and the team of editors of the newly revamped Chronicle—Shatha Almutawa, Matthew Johnson, Wim Laven and Gabriel Erstsgaard. The first issue was a dramatic improvement, and we hope members agree and consider contributing to subsequent issues. Finally, we encourage members to consider proposing books for our book series with Cambridge Scholars Press. Additional information and proposals can be directed to Co-Editors Laura Finley ( and Michael Minch (

Another important item we discussed was a small amendment to PJSA’s Bylaws. Currently, the Bylaws specify that board co-chairs must be of the opposite gender. The board voted to make this aspirational, rather than required. Additionally, the board voted to include specific language about Canadian members of the board, specifying that at least one member should be Canadian and more than one is welcome. The specific proposal is below, and we conducted an electronic vote on it 45 days after the conference. With no opposition, those changes have been made.

Finally, we have very exciting updates about the next PJSA conference and about conference planning in future. We will be trying something a little different in 2020, collaborating with the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) to co-host our conferences in Orlando, Florida. The joint event will be held September 23–25, and will offer us an opportunity to engage with mediators and other practitioners. It will look a little different than a typical PJSA conference, as it will be hosted at a hotel, but we believe that it will afford us all new perspectives, ideas, and friends. Stay tuned for more information!

That being said, we do not intend for PJSA to permanently move to a hotel model for our conferences. We do, however, need everyone’s help in identifying colleges and universities that have the capacity to host a conference. If your campus might be interested in the future, please let us know! The board also had a vigorous discussion about the importance of reducing our environmental footprint so is considering additional ways to do that as well as to cut costs while still offering our members authentic and inspiring connections.