US Servas National Conference 2018: Building Bridges — June 22-24, 2018

Over the years, US Servas National Conference has brought people together from all over the country to advance efforts to creating a more just and peaceful world. Within the last few years, the need for Servas has become greater than ever before in the United States, and it has become increasingly important for people across different cultures and backgrounds to come together and take a stand for world peace. With this in mind, we are pleased to unveil this year’s theme, “Building Bridges”.

This theme arises from the idea of many iconic bridges in Chicago, as well as a quote by Bob Luitweiler, “The original purpose of Servas was to build bridges of understanding between diverse ethnic groups, especially where conflicts were more serious.” When people come together to collaborate, it creates people power; one of the strongest forces in combating violence and injustice (including capitalism), and ultimately helping to create a just and equitable community filled with peace, love, and understanding. By facilitating discussions, workshops, and keynotes, the main goal is to provide participants with skills and knowledge that they can apply beyond this conference in building bridges and promoting world peace. 




The conference will be held at the Cenacle Retreat & Conference Center in Chicago, IL. You can find more information about the venue on their website. In order to minimize the carbon footprint of this conference, attendees are highly encouraged to carpool or take public transportation. The Cenacle Retreat & Conference Center has 30 parking spaces onsite for free of chage. Additional parking is available three blocks away for a discounted fee of $6 for each 24 hours. Guests should come to the reception desk for directions and to purchase discounted tickets. Directions to the Cenacle Retreat & Conference Center can be found HERE. If you plan on driving or flying to the conference, we encourage you to explore different options to offset your carbon footprint


Click on “Presentations & Workshops” below to see some of the programs and organizations that will be presenting in Chicago. 


All activities in the West Conference room unless otherwise noted.


3:00                 Check-in for attendees staying at the Cenacle


6:00 — 7:00       Dinner 

7:00 — 8:00       Activity — The Peace Puzzle: Ben Goldberg

8:00 — 9:30       Reception with beverages & snacks



7:30 — 9:00       Breakfast

8:00 — 9:00       CONFERENCE REGISTRATION for Saturday-only attendees

9:00 — 10:00     Keynote- World Chicago: Peggy Parfenoff

10:00 — 11:00   MacArthur Foundation: Tara Magner

11:00 — 11:30   Coffee Break  

11:30 — 12:30   Track 1: Friendship Force: Dave and Pat Meyer

11:30 — 12:30   Track 2: Key Persons training in Room C


12:30 — 1:30     Lunch


1:30 — 2:30       Youth for Understanding: Erin Helland

2:30 — 3:00       Servas Youth Language Experience (SYLE): Earlene Cruz

3:00- 3:45        Track 1: On the Table: Civic Engagement and Partnerships: Jean Westrick   

3:00 — 3:30       Track 2: Travel Testimonials

3:30 — 4:00       Coffee Break

4:00 — 5:00       US SERVAS Annual Meeting

5:30 — 6:30       Dinner (half hour early to accommodate concert-goers)


Optional Cultural Activities

7:30                 Grant Park Orchestra at Millennium Park: FREE

7:30                 Kingston Mines Blues and Jazz club. 2548 N. Halsted. Live music. $15.00 cover


SUNDAY, JUNE 24th (check out 11:00 a. m. for guests staying at the Cenacle)

8:00 — 9:00       Breakfast

9:00 — 9:45       Relations between Christians and Jews: Max Heppner

9:45 — 10:30     Sanctuary Cities and Immigration: Ere Rendon

10:30 — 10:45   Break

10:45 — 11:30   My Block, My Hood, My City: Jahmal Cole

11:30 — 12:00   Closing panel with Max Heppner, Ere Rendon, and Jahmal Cole

12:00               Adjourn


12:30-1:30       Lunch


Optional Activities

2:00                 Walking Tours: Chicago Loop: Tom Mullaney, meet at Cenacle entrance.

                                                Lincoln Park: Roland Kulla, meet at Cenacle entrance.



Registration for those seeking meals and accomodation is now closed. You can still attend the full conference WITHOUT accomodation and meals! Just show up on June 22 and register onsite during registration hours 5 pm — 7pm. Payment can be made via check or exact cash. Please contact ASAP regarding any special needs.



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