AU hosts the 21st Conference of the Americas


Students and faculty gathered in the JSAC ballroom to attend the 21st Conference of the Americas. (photo by Skyler Mitchell)

By Skyler Mitchell |
Staff writer

Augusta University hosted the Annual Conference of the Americas for the very first time.

The main goal of the Conference of the Americas is to spread knowledge about the Americas, where the faculty of several universities within the University System of Georgia can show their expertise on the USA, Latin American, and Canadian history.

The Conference of the Americas was held on Feb. 9 and hosted by the Augusta University Department of History, Anthropology, & Philosophy in conjunction with Department of English & Foreign Languages.  This conference was sponsored by The Americas Council, Augusta University, Armstrong Atlantic/ Georgia Southern University, Georgia State University, and the University of North Georgia.

The first event of this conference was opened by Dr. Heather J. Chiero, who talked about the history of this event and expressing gratitude that the council decided AU should host for this year.

“I hope that (this event) will continue to grow as big as it was in the past,” remarked Dr. Chiero happily, speaking about how the continued hosting of this event will hopefully go.

The day started with a presentation by Dr. Alvis Dunn, who gave a presentation on the life of Pierce Manning Butler Young. Dr. Dunn talked about Young’s career as a Major General in the Confederate Army, along with how he served as US minister to Guatemala and Honduras.

Dr. Dunn went on to mention the many cases Young worked on that dealt with incidents between Guatemala and the United States, along with the relationship between Young and Guatemalan President José María Raina Barrios. Dr. Dunn explained the character of Young and how it related to the time period in which he lived, whether it was his prejudiced actions to his professional ones.

The next event consisted of panels focusing on several different subjects, from Hispanic farmworkers to issues of communication in aviation.

One such panel focused on the latter, moderated by Dr. Chris Botero of the English and Foreign Languages department. Dr. Botero helped present the information of Rachelle Udell and Genggeng Zhang, both MA candidates from Georgia State University.

The subjects were focused on how miscommunication between pilots and air traffic controllers has led to major tragedies within the aviation community. They also talked about the problem of a looming pilot shortage within 20 years, which is also when the need for pilots will double.

The third event held by the conference consisted of more panels, focusing on language learning and literature. Dr. Kristi Hislope of the University of North Georgia, Dr. Giada Biasetti of Augusta University, and Dr. Karen Guffey of Georgia State College hosted these events.

Dr. Hislope focused on the subject of birthmarks and the common beliefs of them in different cultures of the Americas. Dr. Biasetti talked about her study on how cognitive workload can determine how well a person can learn a second language. Dr. Guffey also talked about how studying abroad could help people step out of their comfort zone and learn new things about themselves they wouldn’t have learned at home if they willing to participate.

The events of the night concluded with a musical performance by Dr. Martin Jones and Dr. Clara Park. Dr. Jones and Dr. Park are both Doctors of Musical Arts and did a piano duet of Astor Piazzolla’s music, ending the conference beautifully.

Overall, the first day of the conference was an overall success and there is hope this event will become bigger in the next few years by Dr. Heather Chiero.


Contact Skyler Mitchell at


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