FAMILY REUNION INSTITUTE CONFERENCE

The Family Reunion Institute Conference was held from 1988 to 2007. It was geared to family members who plan their own reunions. Attendees may come from all walks of life and professions, but when they attend the conference they come as family members wanting to know more about planning reunions—or how to hand over the reigns. The increasing number of hospitality professionals attending our conferences as partners, sponsors and/or vendors reflected the importance of the reunion market to that industry.

 

VARIETY OF TOPICS

Our last conference included twenty-two different workshops:

 - Tracing your Roots: Basic ideas for families to start researching their history, including oral histories and using a variety of records.
-
Does It Run in the Family? Health Genealogy: A new tool to get medical histories so family members are not embarrassed to talk, and, in have fun sharing the information.
- Spirituality and the Family Reunion.
- Family Empowerment: Establishing economic development and investing programs in the family.
- Establishing by-laws and structure.
- Pros and cons of a Family Investment Club, and a family non-profit 501(c) 3organization.
- Measuring Return on Your Family Event.
-
How to advance negotiating power with hotels, etc.
- Preserving Memories:  A Stitch In Time. Making your family quilt.
- Preserving Memories:  Traditional and electronic Scrapbooking from which CDs, etc. can be made.
- Preserving Memories:  Saving family stories
- Family. Internet. Web. - Computers, software and websites. Making your own website, and Podcasting (using the ipod).
- DNA and your Roots: How to find ancestors through DNA.
- Organizing and Funding Your Reunion: Basic how-to’s. (Our most popular workshop)
- Involving Young People: How to involve younger people in planning.
- Telling the Story: Different ways of telling family history. Panelists describe how to develop family crests and family newsletters.
-
Finding the Rest of Me: Genealogical research
- Guess Who’s Coming to the Reunion? Embracing diversity in the family, including discussion about differences in religious traditions, sexual orientation, and disabilities.
- The Multicultural Family: Raising “ISM” Proof Children.  
- Preserving our individual cultural heritage: Respecting and appreciating the cultures of others, and seeking opportunities for positive relationships to build cultural and family strength.
- From and Back to China.
- Latino Family Reunions.


EXHIBITORS
Our last conference included approximately 30 exhibitors and vendors. Many represented convention and visitor bureaus, hotels, and other destination venues. Several vendors promoted a variety of reunion items, such as tee shirts, mugs, pens, etc.

SPEAKERS
Featured speakers at our last conference were Kenneth Gamble, who was celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Philly Sound and spoke about his Urban Plan, and Angel Ortiz, a former Philadelphia City Councilperson. Our roster of presenters has been outstanding—not only in terms of what they do for a living, but their focus on family roots.

Speakers at previous conferences have included poet Sonia Sanchez; Chris Haley, nephew of Alex Haley; Dr. Robert Hill who researched and wrote the book entitled Strengths of Black Families; and Dr. Raymond Dobard, a professor of art at Howard University known for his book, Hidden From Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad (1999). 

Speakers have included politicians and scholars, including Dr. Mark Auslander, then a professor at Brandeis University, who helped collate the African Voices Art exhibit at the African Museum in Washington, DC.
 
A list of the workshops and presenters from 1988 to 2007 is available upon request.