Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Conference on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Education

2019 Theme: LGBTQ+ Borderlands: Migration, Race, and Refuge

Please read this request for proposals and then use this form to submit a proposal.


Who and Why: The Somewhere Over the Rainbow (SOTR) conference is a day of professional development primarily addressing the needs of international education administrators to understand sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) diversity, and to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and beyond (LGBTQ+) inclusion in the field of international education. The primary audience are administrators in education abroad, international exchange, and international student and scholar services, particularly those working in higher education. The conference welcomes all those with an interest in SOGI diversity and LGBTQ+ inclusion, especially higher education LGBTQ center professionals, international exchange administrators in government and NGOs, and students and scholars studying international education. This year we wish to expand the SOTR community even further by encouraging the participation of researchers, theorists, activists, and organizers whose work relates to our principal themes around international education and LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Where and When: Saturday, June 1, 2019 -- Hosted at the University of Maryland, College Park, located inside the Capital Beltway and accessible on the Washington, D.C. metro system via the Green line, as well as by the MARC commuter rail (Camden Line).

How: Registration is now open. Please see our registration page to learn about rates and dates. Presenters will be requested to register. Need-based registration discounts may be made available on a case-by-case basis, but funds will not be available for travel, lodging, etc. There is a special rate for students, and a special rate for University of Maryland, College Park constituents.


What: The theme of the 2019 Somewhere Over the Rainbow International Education Conference is LGBTQ+ Borderlands: Migration, Race, and Refuge. LGBTQ+ identities and the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions vary widely across cultural and national contexts, manifesting as we traverse intersecting systems of race, language, religion, ability, and class. As the dynamics around globalization, mobility, empire, and migration evolve, many LGBTQ+ folks are constantly in the process of crossing multiple borders in multiple ways: sometimes forced, sometimes of our own will; sometimes physically, sometimes digitally; sometimes internal, sometimes external. It is often at these crossings -- whether metaphorical or physical -- that we are most able to notice and understand the diversity of our community: our identities, our experiences, and our struggles.

For students we work with and programs we administer in international education, the variety of ethical issues and power dynamics that we must navigate in order to promote learning, development, and positive social change is increasingly complex. This is further complicated by a shifting political climate at institutional, national, and global levels and the increasing corporatization and inaccessibility of higher education worldwide. This year’s themes of LGBTQ+ borderlands: migration, race, and refuge are meant to engage us in conversations at the edges and intersections of these phenomena. How does putting a critical lens towards LGBTQ+ inclusion in international education allow us to both analyze the implications of our daily practices, while also making sense of the larger power dynamics impacting how we as a community support each other? What does it mean for us to be inclusive or liberating, and how do we get there? To better answer these questions, we are inviting folks to submit proposals that respond to three core areas:

Theory and Research -- Submissions and proposals under this category seek to share how theory and research can amplify our understanding of the experiences and challenges facing LGBTQ+ identities and communities as they navigate shifts in the structures of power governing the movement of people across global borders and educational spaces.

Current Events and Social Movements -- The advancement towards equity for folks of minoritized sexual and gender identities is deeply tied to the political and cultural dynamics of spaces at local, national, and global levels. Submissions and proposals under this category are meant to give space for activists, researchers, and organizers who wish to share their work with a larger community, and foster conversations around how our work connected.

Practice, Skills, and Storytelling -- Submissions and proposals under this category are meant to give space for practitioners and individuals or groups to share thoughtful practices, perspectives, lived experiences, and skill-building to support LGBTQ+ student populations.

Proposal Guidelines: Each SOTR session will be 65-minutes long and proposals should aim to provide content to fill that timespan. Sessions may take the form of special topic workshops, presentations (projects, papers, initiatives), discussion groups, panels, learning labs, or other formats. Proposals can be submitted by individual presenters or as a collaborative effort. Please make sure to specify the format of your session in your proposal form. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, but are looking for someone to collaborate with (e.g., you have a paper to submit, but would like to find more people to form a panel), please reach out to us at For examples of sessions from our past conferences and webinars, please visit the SOTR website.

To propose a session, please fill out this form. Workshop presenters selected through this RFP will also need to register for the conference as any other attendee. Proposals may be considered on a rolling basis, but all proposals should be submitted by April 7, 2019 (DEADLINE EXTENDED!).