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“AEA at 35 : Meeting the Moment”


Our theme for 2021 is “AEA at 35: Meeting the Moment”.  It is a time for celebration and also a time for reflection on our practice of evaluation. It is a time for us to share our stories about what we have learned over the past 35 years. 

“Meeting the Moment” begs the questions: What is our history? What is today’s context? and How will we move forward? It invites an examination of the trajectory of what was, what is, and what will be.

“AEA at 35: Meeting the Moment,” suggests that this is a time for us to look into the mirror and reflect on ourselves as individual professionals and as a field of evaluation.   This is our opportunity to recognize the realities of today’s uncertain times, to share what we have learned, to talk about opportunities and missed opportunities and to examine how we are transforming evaluation practice to meet the complex challenges of the moment.  Some of those challenges regard diversity and inclusion; social justice; equity; global systems change; multicultural, local, national and international connections and partnerships and globalization, etcetera. 

Evaluation is not one story with one evaluation narrator. It’s a collection of stories from different voices and different times and different places and different people who have very different evaluation experiences and something unique to share. For AEA, 2021 is not only a time for us to celebrate our 35th anniversary, but also a time for us to share what we have learned, what we are doing now that shapes our evaluation life, and what we are doing and planning to better our society and our planet.

As you prepare to submit proposals for AEA’s 2021 conference, please consider how our  practice of evaluation has been shaped by the past and how we are adapting to meet today’s challenges. You may want to explore the following existential- and practice-oriented questions, which are not meant to be all inclusive:

  1. Where does the evaluation profession stand in today's society?
  2. What have we learned from the past practice of evaluation, in term of both used opportunities and missed opportunities, that could help us to address such challenges as globalization, social change, social justice, equity and sustainability?
  3. How can evaluations contribute to uncovering social structures that no longer serve the common good, and to insuring social justice and equity?
  4. What are our responsibilities as individual professionals to reflect on how our profession and our practice may perpetuate injustice?
  5. With whom and how you have connected in developing local, national or/and international partnerships and alliances?
  6. Looking ahead toward strengthening AEA’s future, in what ways have you been supporting young and emerging evaluators? 
  7. In what ways have you been adjusting and evolving your evaluation practice to harness today’s innovative technologies?

2021 Presidential Program Planning Team

Wanda Casillas 
Wanda is an AEA Board Member at Large. 

Hanife Cakici 
Hanife is an AEA Board Member at Large. 

Alexey Kuzmin 
Alexey is a Moscow-based, international consultant who has provided AEA leadership over many years. 

Rhonda Williams
Rhonda is the Program Chair of the AEA Evaluation Policy TIG.