I want to start my Tuesday post with a shout out to all of the first-timers I met yesterday at the first-timers speed networking event and in the various knowledge community receptions (weren’t those great?). I expect to see all of you again this morning at today’s orientation and the Get Networked in NAFSA Fair. I can still remember my first conference in New Orleans. I hope all of you have as memorable and life-changing experience as I did, and I look forward to seeing you for many years to come at future NAFSA conferences.

Today is the day I’ve been waiting on, for two-and-a-half years, since I first took on the Annual Conference Committee (ACC) chair role. Along with NAFSA President Fanta Aw, I’ll be opening the Expo Hall this morning. From there, it is on to a preparation meeting for session presenters. The ACC has done a great job developing a robust line-up of sessions and poster fairs this year. If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to check out the guest speakers. We’ve got some great speakers who will be presenting on social justice issues. The first two will be speaking in the first session slot today at 2:30 p.m. I will be introducing Pia Orrenius, an old friend and the assistant vice president and senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, who will discuss immigration policy in the context of economic growth.

For our international attendees looking to partner with U.S. institutions, be sure you drop by the U.S. Higher Education Partnership Fair this afternoon from 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. in the poster fair area of the Expo Hall.

I’m extremely excited to hear Kofi Annan speak at the opening plenary. One of the best perks of being the ACC chair: photos with the plenary speakers. After the plenary, it’s off to experience one of St. Louis’s proudest moments (1904 World’s Fair) at the opening celebration in the Edward Jones stadium (home to the St. Louis Rams for those who don’t keep up with football—American football, that is).

Question of the day: What was your key takeaway that you picked up from one of your conversations yesterday? I saw lots of great networking taking place at the knowledge community networking receptions. Come chat with me and let me know!