2009 JETAA USA National Conference – Chicago

Greetings! This year’s 2009 JETAA USA National Conference was held in the Windy City of Chicago from August 21-23, 2009. Dori (Events Coordinator) and I made the trek over the Pacific Ocean and arrived at O’Hare on Thursday, August 20 after a total of 10-11 hours flying on a red eye. Needless to say, we were a bit tired. After we checked in to the Dana Hotel (Conference venue), we were able to grab a bite and do some sightseeing before calling it a night. We were impressed with Chicago’s skyscrapers, diversity, delicious food, clean streets, and beautiful architecture!

On Friday, August 21, we were greeted by JETAA Chicago President Emi Fukuda and the other Chicago Chapter officers in the Conference Opening, followed by Consul General George Hisaeda, the JETAA USA Country Representatives, Dr. Chris Stout (Keynote Address), and Matthew Gillam from the Clair New York office. In the afternoon we attended Breakout Sessions where we were able to discuss pertinent issues with other Chapter Delegates.

Saturday included more breakout sessions, regional chapter discussions, and National Governance Issue voting. Our evenings were packed with a Reception hosted by Consul General and Mrs. Hisaeda at their Residence, a dinner at Gino’s East where we tried Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza and wrote JETAA Hawaii’s name on the wall (check our Flickr site for pictures!), and a show at Chicago’s famous The Second City Theatre. On Sunday we wrapped up the Conference with a discussion debriefing, goals for next year, and an announcement from the JETAA NY Chapter that they will be hosting the 2010 JETAA USA National Conference. Thank you JETAA NY! So many chapter representatives asked Dori and I when Hawaii will be hosting the National Conference. Who knows…maybe in a few years?!

Dori and I learned so much in these three days and took a lot of notes to share and discuss with the JETAA Hawaii Executive Board at our next meeting. We both loved Chicago and all its splendor! It was great meeting the other chapter representatives and seeing how the JET Alumni Association is run all over the U.S. Stay tuned for more JETAA Hawaii updates as we continue to improve the Association and provide opportunities for networking and community involvement. We welcome any suggestions as well, so feel free to email us anytime at jetaahawaii@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to seeing you at our events!

Kelsey Soma


JETAA Hawaii

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