The special focus of the conference this year was learning to make a social difference. Learning is defined in its broadest sense as it relates to the acquisition of knowledge or skills through formal or informal educational practices of teaching, study, and experiential engagement. The critical concern here is that those practices are concerned with changing and improving social lives; harnessing the power of education to address inequality, discrimination, and disadvantage to promote social justice.
A small number of Emerging Scholar Awards are given to outstanding graduate students and emerging scholars who have an active research interest in the conference themes. The Award provides a strong professional development opportunity for early career academics—meeting experts in the field, interacting with colleagues from other parts of the world, and creating networks and lasting connections. Awardees are invited to attend the conference to present their work and play a critical organizational role in the conference by leading discussions, chairing parallel sessions, and aiding in session rooms.