Saludos! Welcome to San Diego, California’s second largest city, where blue skies keep watch over 70 miles of beaches and a gentle Mediterranean climate greets visitors most each and every day. Bordered by Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, the Anza-Borrego Desert and the Laguna Mountains, San Diego offers the perfect setting for this year’s annual conference. The city is home to numerous ethnic communities, including members from the Kumeyaay/Diegueño, Luiseño, Cupeño, and Cahuilla native tribes, whose ancestors inhabited the San Diego region as far back as 7,500 B.C., and Latina/os, who currently make up more than a quarter of the overall population. Similarly, the Asian Pacific Thematic Historic District recalls San Diego’s early Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, and Japanese settlements, and Baja California is accessible just minutes from downtown.
San Diego’s diversity also extends to its landscape, where visitors can explore rural mountain or desert trails, run with the tide or swim against it, scuba dive the depths of kelp forests or cycle pine forests. For the less adventurous but equally curious, the lush 1,200-acre Balboa Park is one of the nation’s most extensive cultural centers, with the greatest concentration of museums west of the Mississippi. Browse the spectacular array of fine art, science and natural history, aerospace, photography, model railroads, automobiles and performing arts. Plan a picnic near one of the Park’s many botanical gardens or arboretums. Tour the “world-famous” San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park or head over to the nearby SeaWorld and LEGOLAND theme attractions.
Two unique sites not to be missed are the Casa del Rey Moro Museum and Chicano Park. Located in Old Town, the Casa del Rey Moro Museum houses a multimedia exhibit that highlights 6,000 years of African world history with a special focus on African-Spanish, African-Mexican and African-American heritage. Chicano Park is situated beneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in Logan Heights (Barrio Logan), a predominantly Mexican American and Mexican-immigrant community in central San Diego, California. The historical site is home to the world’s largest conglomeration of outdoor murals (67 in total), as well as various sculptures, earthworks, and an architectural piece dedicated to the cultural heritage of the community.
In addition, downtown San Diego is an exciting urban center full of specialty shops, hotels, galleries and theaters. Dance to the rhythm of blues, jazz, reggae and rock at one of the many clubs, festivals and outdoor concerts. When it’s time to eat, you will find a delicious array of rich and savory choices. Food representing almost every world cuisine can be found somewhere in the city, including Mexican, Moroccan, Ethiopian, Thai, Vietnamese, Afghan, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, British, Italian and Cuban cuisine.
Not to be outdone by our surroundings, the NAES conference promises an equally exciting venue. As in the past, you can expect to hear national and international scholars discussing cutting edge work from a variety of academic perspectives. In addition, we will feature several panels and special sessions addressing local community issues facing San Diego residents. Finally, we will be presenting a number of awards to both young and established scholars as well as community leaders.
San Diego represents a great opportunity to blend intellectual stimulation with relaxing fun. Please join us!
DR. MAYTHEE ROJAS, NAES 2009 CONFERENCE CHAIR