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Special Events Blog

Designing for Belonging

How to create event environments where every individual feels valued, accepted, and connected

“As psychologists, we understand the importance of belonging: a deep sense of connection with people or place. When we belong, we feel seen, heard, valued, understood, and appreciated, and research shows it has positive mental and physical health benefits,” wrote the American Psychological Association’s president, Thema S. Bryant, PhD, in a message to members about the theme of APA 2023, the association’s annual meeting.

“As one who studies and has survived interpersonal trauma and the collective trauma of oppression, I am aware of the significance of belonging. With that in mind, I have made enhancing the sense of belonging at APA a priority. APA 2023’s theme is ‘You belong here.’”

Bryant’s theme reflects the direction where many think meetings are headed. While conference teams often have diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in their sights, belonging is the next step forward. It means something beyond making a meeting accessible to all types of people to attend. With belonging, attendees feel comfortable and connected as a result of being accepted and supported.

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