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2023 Diversity Summit

The Power of Belonging

The Belonging, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (BEDI) Advisory Council hosted its inaugural Diversity Summit, "The Power of Belonging: Connect, Collaborate, and Thrive," over two days from March 15-16, 2023. 

The event was a success, with a large turnout of participants in attendance at NSU's Fort Lauderdale Campus and virtually on Zoom. The wide range of participants included two esteemed keynote speakers, NSU's senior leadership, BEDI Council members serving as hosts and moderators, and faculty, staff, and alumni delivering presentations from across all NSU campuses. 

More than 60 presentations provided rich content on many critical contemporary themes highlighting the various diversity initiatives and actionable direction from the grassroots to the leadership level across the university. 

Find here Day 1 and Day 2 of the recordings of the speaker's presentations uploaded into NSUWorks.

The sessions showcased the diverse groups at NSU from different racial, cultural, ethnic, religious, gender, age, sexual orientation, and philosophical backgrounds. The presentations focused on NSU's commitment to building a campus climate that reflects greater belonging, safety, and inclusion for all stakeholders while expanding the existing infrastructure to achieve diversity's full benefits to enrich the community. 

NSU's President George Hanbury welcomed the Summit participants with his video below. He reiterated his firm commitment to NSU's Core Value of Diversity and making NSU an even better place to study, work, and thrive. 


Presentation: Are These the Interesting Times of Chinese Proverbs? with Robert Kesten, Executive Director of Stonewall National Museum, Archives, and Library 

Robert KestenRobert Kesten is the Stonewall National Museum Archives (SNMA) Executive Director in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The SNMA houses one of the most extensive gay archives and libraries in the United States, with a rich history of over 50+ years. Through his position at SNMA, he brings full circle his active engagement in the LGBTQ+ community and his commitment to using history as a tool to make sense of and fashion a response to today and tomorrow.

Presentation: Committing to DE&I: Moving from Pledges to Outcomes, with Jason Thompson, Vice President for DEI at Western Governors University

Jason ThompsonJason Thompson is a thought leader in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I), having spent the past twenty-five years building DEI programs in sports, health care, technology, and education. Jason is Vice President for DE&I at Western Governors University. Jason is also the co-founder and senior advisor to CAPE Inclusion, an innovative DEI platform. Thompson developed the initial diversity and inclusion (D&I) program for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and created the D&I scorecards to measure diversity within the US Olympic movement. The D&I Scorecard developed by Thompson received the top honor in the 2016 International Innovations in Diversity Awards program from the Profiles in Diversity Journal. Jason was also recognized as a 2017 and 2018 Diversity Leader by the Profiles in Diversity Journal. His book, Diversity and Inclusion Matters, is a handbook for DE&I professionals, CEOs, and HR executives that provides a clear blueprint and tools for a successful DE&I program.

NSU History 

NSU students, faculty, and staff have collaborated on and led multiple diversity initiatives in previous years. In particular, the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement, under the direction and leadership of Terry Morrow Nelson, was instrumental in hosting the earliest annual Diversity Summits at NSU from 2006 through 2012.

2020 - present

The Diversity Summit initiative is part of the BEDI Advisory Council's strategy to guide NSU toward inclusive excellence by cultivating and supporting the ongoing development and implementation of processes, procedures, and programs that promote greater belonging, equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout all aspects of the university and our communities.

The goal is to implement a strategic vision that speaks to the importance of diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging across all campuses at NSU. In addition, the BEDI Advisory Council's vision is to continue providing experiential learning summits focusing on NSU Core Values of DEI as an annual tradition at NSU across all campuses.

Inaugural Diversity Summit 2023

The BEDI Advisory Council relaunched the NSU Diversity Summit in 2023. The dedicated efforts of the Council's Learning & Development Subcommittee members made this event an inclusive experience for the NSU community. A special thanks go to the 2023 Ad-hoc planning committee: Sherrica Talyor, Elizabeth Swann, Arnetta Pierce, Jennifer Berne, Yashiva Edwards, Gabriela Mendez, Jessica Valenzuela, Robyn Kaiyal, Terry Morrow Nelson, Jennifer Vigille, Arkene Levy, Laura Ramirez, Jane Cross, Timeka Franklin, Gena Meroth, Wendy Meyers, Madisyn Pedersen, and Eileen Petzold-Bradley.

The 2023 Diversity Summit was dedicated to Dr. Robin Cooper, Professor and Assistant Dean at the NSU Halmos College of Arts and Sciences, recognizing her foundational work and continued dedication to advancing diversity and understanding at NSU.

Dean Trantalis, the Mayor of the City of Fort Lauderdale, proclaimed March 15, 2023, as NSU Diversity Summit Day in the City of Fort Lauderdale, urging all citizens to celebrate and support diversity, equity, inclusivity, and belonging.

Future Summits 

The BEDI Advisory Council looks forward to fostering new BEDI initiatives and building upon the NSU tradition of having annual Diversity Summits. 

If you have questions about the Summit, please contact the organizers at

Stay tuned for the new dates for the next upcoming Summit!

Here are a few lasting impressions and testimonials shared at the Diversity Summit. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity session I attended and the speakers. I think that it is important for us as future clinicians to open our minds to these societal changes, regardless of our personal beliefs, these societal changes are occurring, and we must become comfortable with having these conversations. Thank you, Diversity Summit!
- Amara Leak, Psychology Trainee NSU

The 2023 NSU Diversity Summit was an informative and insightful event that shared various aspects of diversity with innovative perspectives on global solutions to improve the morality of humanity and cultivate a healthy culture for generations moving forward. The greatest resource on earth are human beings, so we need to work interdependently to nurture and serve each other’s best interests in love and benevolence for our greater global good.
- Roger Harriot, NSU Community

NSU is a beacon of light for diversity issues in South Florida.
- Dr. Bryan L. Champion, Professor, Public Sector Leadership at American University

An excellent thought-provoking session provided many practical tips about DEI leadership. So grateful for Mr. Thompson's keynote address.
- Anonymous

I believe that NSU has brought an amazing summit on a topic that is needed.
- Anonymous

It is crucially imperative it is to have safe spaces for difficult conversations. The significant importance of understanding America's legacy is to grasp the need to continue diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.
- Anonymous

The most useful items I learned were about gender equity and hearing the stories of young girls. I have a greater appreciation for my education and want to get more involved in the girl rising project.
- Anonymous

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