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IMI Annual Conference Tracks


IMI’s Annual Conference provides a unique opportunity to convene a diverse group of professionals, academics and scholars from different sectors for networking and exchange of best practices in intercultural relations. This year’s conference will feature five tracks including international education, exchanges and training; diversity and inclusion; diplomacy; business; and cross-cutting topics in intercultural relations. With five concurrent sessions for each breakout block, conference participants may choose to focus on sessions related to their sector of interest or attend a broader range of sessions from different tracks or cross-cutting themes. IMI’s emphasis on experiential learning equips conference participants with a toolkit of resources to apply to their own work.

Keynote Speaker

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lori George Billingsley


Vice President

Community Relations

Coca-Cola Refreshments

Lori George Billingsley, SOC/MA '91, has 28 years of public relations experience in developing and implementing breakthrough programs that meet organizational goals, target audience needs and produce results. Currently, she is the Vice President of Community Relations for Coca-Cola Refreshments. In this role, she oversees community giving and engagement for North America.

She has been in the Public Affairs and Communications (PAC) department of The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) for the past nine years in a variety of positions, including Director of Community and Multicultural Communications and Executive Assistant to the Senior Vice President of Coca-Cola North America PAC, Director of Regional Communications, Director of Issues Communications and Director of Shareowner Affairs.

Prior to joining TCCC, Lori had her own public relations consultancy, LG Communications. The consultancy provided communications solutions for corporations, nonprofit organizations, associations, foundations and public relations firms. She was a vice president at Porter/Novelli, a leading public relations firm, where she managed a number of nationally acclaimed public education campaigns for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Cancer Institute. She co-founded the firms alliance building and multicultural communications practices and serviced clients, including federal agencies, Fortune 500 corporations, associations and nonprofit organizations.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in public relations at Howard University and her Master of Arts in public communications at American University, both in Washington, D.C.

Keynote Speaker

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hisham Aidi

Hisham Aidi

Lecturer in Discipline of International and Public Affairs

Columbia University

Hisham Aidi's research interests include cultural globalization and the political economy of race and social movements. He received his PhD in political science from Columbia University, and has taught at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, and at the Driskell Center for the Study of the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park.

He is the author of Redeploying the State (Palgrave 2008) a comparative study of privatization and labor movements in Latin America and the Arab world. From 2002-2003, Aidi was a consultant for UNDP's Human Development Report. As a journalist, he has written for various outlets. From 1999-2003, he worked as a cultural reporter, covering Harlem and the Bronx, forAfricana.com, The New African, ColorLines, and Socialism and Democracy. More recently, his work has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Al Jazeera and Salon. Since 2007, he has been a contributing editor of Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Culture, Politics and Society. In 2008, Aidi was named a Carnegie Scholar. In 2010, he was a Global Fellow at the Open Society Foundation.

Aidi is the author most recently of Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture (Pantheon 2014), a study of American cultural diplomacy.

International Education, Exchanges and Training

International education and exchange professionals as well as intercultural trainers will have an opportunity to share and experience innovative training methodologies as part of this conference track. In addition, sessions will be offered on developing and managing international education and exchange programs

Current sessions include:


As businesses and organizations continue to expand their global presence and partnerships, and the workforce becomes more diverse, the possibility of conflict or dissatisfaction due to cultural misunderstandings increase greatly. Sessions in this track will expose participants to best practices in cross-cultural business negotiations, international recruiting, relocation, human resources, cross-cultural team building, and leadership and diversity.

Current sessions include:


Ideal for U.S. and international diplomats as well as representatives of bilateral and multilateral organizations, this track will include sessions that provide an overview of Washington diplomatic tradecraft, examine best practices in public diplomacy, and equip participants with bi- and multilateral negotiation skills.

Current sessions include:


Diversity and Inclusion

Considering more and more leaders are starting to add D&I to their strategic agenda as a way to promote innovation and collaboration, a selection of relevant sessions on diversity and inclusion in government and private sector will also be offered.

Current sessions include:

  • Using D&I to Build Global Partnership
  • Communication: Using Human Centered Design to Accelerate D&I Strategic Plan and Adoption
  • At the Table: Closing the D&I Deal Utilizing D&I Metrics
  • Becoming a Model Employer of Persons with Disabilities
  • How to Be a More Effective D&I Competent Leader (SHRM)
  • Change Management: From D&I Resistance to Collaboration
  • Utilizing D&I to Rebuild Your Agency's Brand
  • Accelerating the D&I Agenda Using the Science of the Game-Changer