I am thankful. In the midst of all of the busyness and challenges of the world around us, I can honestly say that I am grateful. I hope the same for you. While across AAEA, we have different life experiences and social locations. We share a certain level of privilege and voice as members of an academic association. From our student members to full professors to government or business leaders, we have access to resources, skills, and platforms to enact good in our communities and world. Our training is a great resource to employ for the common welfare. In my address this summer, I asked for the membership to find their way toward justice. Climate change, equity (regardless of the dimension), communities in economic difficulty, optimal policy setting, or other areas of your work, I hope that you will work for the good.
I am grateful to see many of you working on big questions and old problems for your stakeholders. We all have a hand in expanding our understanding and moving toward welfare-enhancing outcomes. However, we can get bogged down and lose sight of the goal. We can get tired and frustrated. When this happens, please remember that we are a community. We can build each other up. One of the ways that we can support each other is by listening to each other’s stories. Please consider participating in the Listening to Diverse Voices of AAEA webinar on December 5 from 11-12 am (Central Time). AAEA colleagues have listened to and supported me, and for this, I am thankful. Hopefully, you, too, have colleagues, professors, mentors, and friends whom you appreciate having in your life and work.
I am grateful for USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) and its new partnership with AAEA. ERS has awarded AAEA funding “to grow diversity in the field of agricultural economics.” Through this initiative, we hope to expand the participation of underserved groups in agricultural and applied economics. I appreciate Spiro Stefanou, ERS Administrator, for his and his staff’s leadership in offering AAEA this mentoring initiative. As we begin this new work, I will seek out AAEA members to help support this effort in formal and informal ways. Several of you have reached out to provide support and pointed me to the great work you or your colleagues are doing in this space. I am excited to see these efforts move forward.
Earlier this month, I had a call with the section leaders. We will make additional calls to support these leaders in their effort to guide the AAEA and the Executive Board. On the call, we discussed making the track session submissions more efficient, section budget reporting, and upcoming deadlines for AAEA. We also discussed possible ways to engage members during and beyond the meetings. For example, we discussed the possibility of sections hosting papers under the auspices of the AAEA meeting, but outside the confines of the summer meeting. I am appreciative of this group of thoughtful leaders; they are vital to the function of our association and continue doing a great job of creating an environment for our scholarship and professional growth.
The Executive Committee of the Board and the full AAEA Board have met recently. Our conversations were a prelude to our deliberations at the New Orleans Allied Social Science Association meetings in January. We will have a packed agenda shaping the parameters of our summer meetings. In addition to this Board Meeting, we will have six paper sessions and the T.W. Schultz Lecture. Our award winner this year is Dr. Maureen Cropper, distinguished University Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Maryland. Her presentation is titled “Estimating the Social Cost of Carbon: Progress and Challenges.” Without question, she will offer an intriguing discussion that will yield rich conversations. After her lecture, we will host the Schultz reception, and I look forward to meeting you there.
We have work to do. Thank you for your partnership in these endeavors.