Nearly 200 college students from the United States and Mexico gathered recently at the University of San Diego for the 16th annual Encuentro Conference, sponsored by the Bi-National Association for Schools of Communication (Binacom). The conference featured undergraduate, graduate and faculty research surrounding the theme, â€œCommunication in Action: Building Communities Across Borders.â€
The conference, held April 17-18 at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, specifically aimed to create opportunities for communications students to get together to learn from each other, said Kristin Moran, conference organizer and USD associate professor of communication studies. It was an opportunity for students working in communication studies to showcase their projects and learn more about the discipline. Panelists discussed issues in the fields of photography, journalism, communication research, radio, multimedia opportunities and video during the conference.
â€œThe mission of Binacom is to facilitate ethical communication and demystify the stereotypes associated with the border,â€ Moran said. â€œBy allowing students to interact with each other face-to-face, we hope to challenge the perceptions they may have of each other. While we do this through activities throughout the year, the conference is biggest event that we host.â€
Students also heard from experts in the field, including local film director and writer Gregory Nava, best known for the films “El Norte,” “Selena” and “Bordertown.” Author Federico Campbell, who has written several books and short stories called Tijuanenses, also participated.
Binacom was founded in 1990 and has brought faculty together from area universities to encourage communication between students and faculty. Because it is a binational organization, the simple act of meeting provides lessons into intercultural communication and community building, organizers said.
The conference was made possible through support from the Trans-Border Institute at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.
â€” Denise T. Ward