Together Again: Reflections from the 2022 Education Forum
After almost three years apart, the 2022 Education Forum was more than a conference – it was a respite for PA educators across the country who have eagerly waited for the opportunity to see one another face-to-face. PAEA members have dealt with so much over the last two and half years, and they’ve had to do it without being in the presence of their friends and colleagues. It felt great to finally return to an in-person event.
When staff planned the 2022 Forum, we intentionally built in time and space, like the two-hour lunches, to give members lots of time to reconnect. It was fun seeing old friends reunite and watching new bonds form. Throughout the week, the joy of coming together once again was palpable. Hugs were plentiful and in between sessions, the hallways were full of conversations. Faculty, staff, and students from across the globe filled the education sessions to the brim to gain new knowledge and skills, and to hear their colleagues impart the wisdom they’ve learned since being together in person in 2019.
The icing on the cake was gathering together to celebrate PAEA’s 50th anniversary. Seeing members finally have the opportunity let their hair down and enjoy each other’s presence was heartwarming. Attendees were full of smiles and laughter, and several danced the night away. The celebration was about much more than the anniversary – it was about persevering through the challenges of the pandemic and the delayed gratification of seeing colleagues face-to face. That finally became a reality this year.
As we look ahead to the 2023 Forum, which will take place in New Orleans in October 2023, we hope to continue gathering in person. The Association is committed to doing all it can to bring members together to experience the Forum as it should be experienced – in person.