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Standards:IDEA Academic Conference

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IDEA believes in open discussion and debate as means of nurturing critical thinking skills in students, educating citizens in civic virtue, and promoting tolerance. Rather than taking these functions for granted, IDEA believes in subjecting them to active critical review.

To this end, IDEA-USA and IDEA-NL cosponsor the IDEA Academic Conference as a forum for the critical review of research into the various roles that argumentation and debate play in society. IDEA-NL is responsible for promotion of the event in Europe and for organizing the event when it is held in Europe.

Whenever possible, IDEA-USA should organize this conference so that it begins immediately after the annual IDEA-NL General Assembly meeting, with the aim of encouraging a fertile exchange of ideas between scholars and IDEA members. The hope is that General Assembly members will benefit from sharing ideas with the scholars, and that the scholars will benefit from learning how General Assembly members promote IDEA's mission in their localities.

The conference should take place over three days, beginning at 2:00 P.M. on a Friday and ending at 1:00 P.M. on Sunday. IDEA-USA will host one banquet during the conference, on either the Friday or the Saturday night.

All conference participants, with the exception of the Conference Director and the Conference Host, are required to pay a participation fee. Conference participants will be provided with conference information and will be expected to make their own accommodations. Accommodations are not included in the conference participation fee.

Academic Conference Personnel

IDEA-USA's Board of Directors should name a three-person Conference Committee to oversee the organization of the Academic Conference, with one member of the Committee to be named by the IDEA-NL Board of Directors.

If the event is held outside the United States, 2 of the members should be from IDEA-NL. If the event is held in the United States, 2 of the members should be from IDEA-USA. Through an open call, the committee should select a Conference Director and a Conference Host.

The Conference Director

  • The Conference Director manages all aspects of the conference program, and will be invited to attend the conference at IDEA-USA's expense. No other compensation will be provided to the Conference Director.
  • The Conference Director's duties include:
    • Circulating a call for papers at least six months before the Conference.
    • Recruiting a peer review committee, composed of at least three individuals, one-third of whom must be representatives of IDEA-NL member organizations.
    • Ensuring that all paper or panel proposals are subjected to peer review prior to acceptance.
    • Communicating to the selected presenters regarding their participation in the conference.
    • Preparing a conference schedule for submission

The Conference Host

  • The Conference Host handles local logistics for the conference. Whenever possible, the conference and General Assembly host should be the same.
  • The responsibilities of the Conference Host include:
    • Negotiating financial arrangements with IDEA-USA's Board of Directors.
    • Conducting local fund-raising to support the Conference.
    • Working with the Conference Committee and Conference Director to select an appropriate facility for the Conference.
    • Facilitating local transportation.
    • Working with participants to arrange for visas.
    • Providing adequate space for Conference events.

Papers and Panels

The Conference Director and Conference Committee should strive to solicit a diverse program for the conference. The conference should be open to papers, panels and participants on any relevant topic, and proposals for workshops, mini-courses, public debates, etc., should be encouraged.

All papers and proposals are subjected to peer review before being accepted for the conference.


While English should be the official language of the conference, IDEA-USA should work to accommodate the participation of non-English-speakers. Individuals who do not speak English may be invited to the conference, and panels may be held in languages other than English. Whenever possible, IDEA-USA should offer simultaneous translation.

The inability to provide translation does not preclude the Conference Director from accepting panels, papers, or discussions in languages other than English. However, the absence of translation services must be clearly indicated to non-English-speaking participants in advance of the conference.

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