Houston: An International Destination

Just as American perspectives have turned from a Euro-centric bent to the Pacific Rim, so too has much of our cultural focus. Museums are no exception. As China emerges as a world power politically, militarily and economically, so has China begun to assume cultural prominence worthy of one of the planet’s oldest civilizations.

 The Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo™ in Houston will mark the second year AAM has made a concerted outreach effort to museum colleagues in China. The objective is to open lines of communication with museum professionals in China, sharing knowledge, learning from our respective experiences and forging ties across the Pacific.

 “Cultural exchanges have long been a staple of U.S. ties with other nations,” said AAM president Ford W. Bell. “Understanding other cultures is where wisdom comes from, and such understanding is essential to building friendship and inspiring cooperation. Museums play a big part in building that trust.”

           In Houston, AAM expects a contingent of over 100 Chinese museum professionals, who will participate in a special Global Views Track of 10 sessions, simultaneously translated into Chinese, Spanish and Arabic, as well as a series of roundtable discussions with colleagues from around the world.  At the 2010 AAM Los Angeles meeting, the roundtables were the forum for genuine pan-Pacific connections, offering frank, open and constructive dialogue.

 The Chinese participants ─ along with meeting attendees from the 40+ other countries expected to be represented in Houston ─ will also come together at an International Reception on Sunday, May 22 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. We urge everyone to register for the reception on the AAM website and join us that evening in welcoming our international colleagues to Houston.

We need to put Houston’s best foot forward for our international visitors. AAM Meeting organizers would particularly welcome any multi-lingual volunteers to help us give our guests a true Texas welcome. Click here to volunteer and be sure to specify which languages you speak.

 See y’all in Houston.

  The Arabic facet of the Global Views Track is sponsored by The King Abdulaziz Center, an initiative of Saudi Aramco, and Aramco Services Company. Fellowship support for international attendees is provided by The Getty Foundation, Fundación Jumex, Agustin Coppel and the US Embassy, Mexico City.

 –Dewey Blanton, American Association of Museums

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