Feature Friday: SAAN Conference – Brown in Detroit

If you are interested in writing a Feature Friday post, don’t hesitate to email zuni@thephdream.com or just fill out this form!


Hi everyone,

Zuni here speaking on behalf of Brown in Detroit! I wanted to take this Feature Friday to showcase an organization that is close to my heart and about a conference that helped me grow mentally, socially, and intellectually: the South Asian Awareness Network. I want to invite you to join me in attending this conference, it only takes 5 minutes to register: tinyurl.com/saanconference and it is open to anyone, of any age, from any background. Let them know you found out about it from Brown in Detroit — our team will be holding an interactive booth at the conference!! Here is why you should attend:

SAAN is a social justice organization that works to bring about awareness for social justice issues that are salient to South Asian and South Asian-American communities. This year’s conference theme is “Out of Turn” and is from January 19-20, 2018. [There is a more detailed schedule and list of speakers at the end!]

Vision statement for Out of Turn

By encouraging the active exchange of diverse life experiences, we aspire to facilitate the cultivation of each person’s own understanding of social justice. Through engaging in this process, we aim to encourage others to confidently interact with those of all backgrounds and pursue activism on their own terms. Additionally, we seek to be inclusive of underrepresented identities not only in the South Asian community, but also in all communities. In doing so, we hope to better our roles as allies and ebolden people to approach and empathize with those of all opinions, experiences, and identities.

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So why should you register?? Here is what some people have to say about their experience with SAAN and why they are excited:

“I joined SAAN because I wanted a space to talk about my South Asian identity, and learn from other individuals. I am so excited to hear from all of the speakers, especially our Keynote! – Srinidhi Subramanian

“I went to the SAAN conference last year not really knowing what to expect. I loved it so much that I signed up to be a facilitator this year! The amazing speakers on social justice topics and the resulting dialogue is just too cool pass up. Anyone from any background will benefit and learn from SAAN! (trust me I’m Egyptian lol)” – Yara El-Tawil


“SAAN. Do it. Also, here is an awk pic of Yara and I from last years SAAN formal. We were awkward… not the formal.” – Sumrah Jilani

“I’m excited to hear from our speakers that can share their experiences about what they’ve dealt with regarding their social justice work” – Subhan Chaudry

“One of my favorite things about SAAN Conference is the potential to hear from people who you would’ve liked to learn from in your childhood” – Rishika Ramireddy

“This is my first SAAN Conference in which I know the inner workings of the organization! When I went to SAAN Conference last year, I realized that it was a space in which people actually wanted to talk about the things I wanted to talk about. All of the speakers are extremely talented and have inspired me before I have even met them!” – Anurima Kumar


“I always feel that there is a certain magic that surrounds the weekend of the SAAN Conference. Individuals of all different identities and backgrounds come together to engage in multifaceted dialogues, and allow themselves to be vulnerable. They allow their perspectives of social justice to be inspired by our incredible speakers and impassioned fellow participants, and will hopefully walk away feeling inspired to develop their own practices of activism” – Sahr Yazdani

“It has been amazing to find a community of people that are passionate about the same things that I am and to find a space to talk about them” – Ayesha Karim

“When people think of South Asians they often just think about India and Pakistan. As someone who is both Indian American and Sri-Lankan American, I want to play my part in making sure that perceptions of South Asians are as inclusive and representative as possible. I hope that one day, people who come from all countries in this region can comfortably claim that label and feel validated by it.” – Sivanthy Vasanthan

“Often times, social justice feels inaccessible to many of us. As a term, it can make people shy away from engaging. Sometimes we don’t know what to do or how to get involved, or even if we want to. What I do know is that we all want to have those conversations in our homes and in our communities. We want to be able to talk to each other and we want to know how to do it. I think the SAAN Conference lends itself to be a conversation starter. It gives people the space to just talk, and start those conversations that we know we want to have. It also gives you the chance to meet new people who are similar to you, who you may never have engaged with before. We all want that community; we just have to go out there and get it. Personally, SAAN has given me life-long friends and fun experiences. I want that for all of us!” – Tahmid Chowdhury

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So what are you waiting for?? Register: tinyurl.com/saanconference if you need more convincing, check out the awesome speakers and activities the conference has lined up!

Conference Schedule: the conference is held from January 19-20, 2018

Participants will attend a keynote, two workshops hosted by influential figures in the South Asian community, participate in dialogues, and attend a formal. Breakfast, lunch, and a light dinner are provided!

Here are the Conference Speakers:


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More information can be found at saanatum.com, and registration closes at 11:59PM on January 14 at tinyurl.com/SAANConference

As a U of M and SAAN alum, I can’t wait to attend their conference next week and hope to see you all there and be sure to stop by the Brown in Detroit booth to say hi!


Brown in Detroit Team

Posted by

Hi, I'm the founder of The PhDream. I'm a second year doctoral student who wasn't satisfied with just sitting behind a desk and writing papers. While my research may have an indirect impact, I wanted to engage more directly with the community and provide a platform to discuss neglected and sensitive issues. Along with that, I try to stay sane in my program by stress baking, glamming up even when I'm down, and sharing my dad-joke captions on the gram -- if only that creativity could translate into my research... Anyways, I'm always looking for contributors, collaborations, and people to eat my zelicious creations, so don't hesitate to reach out or follow me @ZuniJilani :)

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