55th Anniversary and Chicago Delights

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Tereza Braga (PLD Administrator)

Engines are warming up for our biggest event of the year.

This will be the 55th annual conference of our association. Think about that for a minute, dear members: ATA is now fifty five years old. Older than many of us (maybe most of us). I remember the 50th anniversary cake at the New York conference five years ago. Let’s celebrate the 55th with a renewed commitment to keep growing.

Everyone seems to be forecasting record attendance this year. I am not surprised. Chicago is not only the economic powerhouse of the mid-west. In my view, it’s the most beautiful urban landscape in the U.S. I haven’t seen that much public art in any other city. The New York skyline may be more famous, but the oceanic views of Michigan Lake, the river right in the heart of downtown and the incredibly rich architecture are a feast for the eyes. Millenium Park is a blast. If you haven’t yet booked your trip, I urge you to consider staying a few days longer. The museums, aquarium, symphony and universities are all celebrated worldwide. I am praying for walkable weather but please pack some winter gear, especially you friends coming from the southern hemisphere.

Angela Levy, from São Paulo, will be our Division Distinguished Speaker. I already know of at least five of her former students who can’t wait to hear and celebrate her. She will offer two regular sessions (but no pre-conference seminar).

We are making steady progress in the transition from newsletter to blog. It is a slow process for me because I edited the older-fashioned newsletter (PLDATA) for many years, but Mirna Soares is helping us with patience, professionalism and a sure hand.

We will have six sessions in the Portuguese track of the conference. It was painful for many of us to have our proposals rejected. I know that this is a contentious issue and that ATA works differently from many other associations worldwide in terms of selection criteria. Just remember, though, that our global membership exceeds 11,000. Many of you are not aware that the proposals arrive in the several hundred and that Portuguese is just one of 24 conference tracks! As enormous as the selected hotels are, we seem to need more space every year. The number of conference rooms is limited – right along with our stamina to run up and down hallways and escalators between sessions.

When you check the sessions in your favorite tracks, don’t forget to look for PLD members presenting in more than one track. Every year we have Portuguese linguists presenting in Law, Interpreting, Literary and other topics. Here is a list prepared by our Assistant Administrator, Bianca Bold, based on informal data from our colleagues and information from the ATA directory and preliminary program: Cristina Silva, Danielle Maxson, Elizabeth McCoy, Georganne Weller, Giovana Boselli, João Roque Dias, Marian Greenfield, Rafa Lombardino, Renato Beninatto and Thais Lipps.

And be sure not to miss the Division Open House right after the Welcome Reception, on Wednesday night. It’s the best way to get the conference started on the right foot and help us welcome newcomers. All the 18 divisions of ATA will be there and ours is sure to be the noisiest, as usual. I’m hoping to top last year’s showing with an even stronger PLD presence in the world-famous Windy City!

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