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2015 Conference Recap

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The 44th Annual ARNOVA Conference in Chicago, Illinois was the largest in our history. Over 800 participants from 15 countries engaged in a wide variety of presentation sessions, plenary forums, events, and pre-Conference workshops. More than 450 papers, 26 panels, and 49 colloquia were presented, covering a diverse array of topics representative of the multifaceted interests of members from around the world. ARNOVA was proud to welcome 289 first-time attendees, including a delegation from Saudi Arabia as well as founding members of AROCSA (Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa) from West Africa.

This year’s theme, The Dynamic Landscape of Nonprofit Organizations & Voluntary Action: Innovation, Inspiration, & Creativity Across Boundaries, guided the spirit of our events and reminded us of the great potential that exists in our fields for growth, expansion, and breaking down boundaries. These ideas were present in the opening plenary, where Burt Weisbrod reflected on the current state of the nonprofit field and challenges we face, and the closing plenary, where Alnoor Ebrahim moderated a panel that examined the future of research and practice with a focus on high performance and accountability. Inspiration also filled many hearts and speeches at a special reception held in memory of Woods Bowman, Peter Dobkin Hall, Estelle James, and Rick Cohen, where members celebrated the legacies of these departed members and colleagues.

As always, one highlight of the conference was the Awards Luncheon, where ARNOVA honored the best published work our field by presenting awards for the best recent books, for articles in NVSQ, and for the best recent dissertation.


ARNOVA Distinguished Achievement and Leadership in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research Award
Jeffrey L. Brudney, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Outstanding Book in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research Award
Christopher Bail, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, "Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Become Mainstream"

Virginia A. Hodgkinson Research Book Prize
Monika Krause, University of London, "The Good Project: Humanitarian Relief of NGOs and the Fragmentation of Reason"

RGK-ARNOVA President's Award
Reza Hasmath, University of Alberta

NVSQ Best Reviewer Award
ichael Shier, University of Toronto

Gabriel G. Rudney Memorial Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research
Sheila Cannon, Trinity College Dublin,“Surviving the peace: Processes of Organisational Identity Work in Response to Deinstitutionalisation of Irish Peacebuilding”

Outstanding Article in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (NVSQ)
Kelly LeRoux, University of Illinois at Chicago and Kelly Krawczyk, Auburn University, "Can Nonprofit Organizations Increase Voter Turnout? Findings From an Agency-Based Voter Mobilization Experiment"

Best Paper Award from 2014 ARNOVA Conference
Ming Hu, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Jiangang Zhu, Sun Yat-Sen University, "Community Reconstruction after the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake: Reflections on Participatory Development Theories"



Also, outgoing NVSQ editors were thanked for their service. The climax of the Award Luncheon every years is the presentation of the Distinguished Achievement and Leadership Award, which this year went to Jeffrey L. Brudney of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. This luncheon, as well as the many receptions and sessions throughout the conference, were made possible by a number of generous sponsors. 

Considering this year’s thematic focus on innovation, inspiration, and creativity, it was fitting that our conference was hosted in the historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel in downtown Chicago, where frescos, French Imperialist artwork, chandeliers and works by Louis Comfort Tiffany lent a majestic ambiance. Attendees mingled in rooms and hallways previously used by Al Capone and Charles Dickens, reconnecting with friends and forging new relationships in the lobby where Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Ella Fitzgerald once performed. Only steps away from famous Chicago eateries and cultural sites, members were invited to take themselves on a walking tour created by Woods Bowman to highlight local architecture or follow his advice for unique dining experiences. Conference evaluations continue to arrive, and we are pleased by positive feedback regarding this year’s program, presentations, and overall content. We appreciate your remarks and strive to address your suggestions for continued improvement overall.

Next November 17-19, ARNOVA will host its 45th Annual Conference in Washington D.C. in the Hyatt Regency Washington. The Conference Planning Committee is now actively engaged in its work, and members with suggestions for the program are invited to send those to next year’s co-chairs. We expect a great turnout in 2016 and look forward to another exciting gathering filled with opportunities for meaningful discussion and collaboration.

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