Call for Proposals to host the 2026 SHAFR Annual Conference

Call for Proposals to host the 2026 SHAFR Annual Conference


Every other year, SHAFR holds its annual meeting in a location other than the Washington, D.C., area. The SHAFR Council would like to hear from members interested in hosting the conference in late June 2026 and is especially interested in hearing proposals from people who would like to host the conference on their campus or at their institution with affordable meeting and housing facilities.  

In an effort to provide as much lead time as possible for negotiating with hotels and other facilities, the deadline for submission of applications is 15 February 2023, which will allow Council to consider them at its June 2023 meeting. Please send proposals that address the items listed below to SHAFR executive director Amy Sayward ([email protected]).


General Information about the Potential Host City

Please provide a general description of the local area in your proposal.  Why is it attractive as a potential site for a SHAFR conference?   Has it ever hosted a SHAFR conference in the past?  If so, when?  Is it home to long-time SHAFR members or important programs in the field?    Does it possess research facilities that might be appealing to SHAFR members?  Are there local attractions (historic and otherwise) that would appeal to our members?  Is it a family-friendly venue with attractions of particular interest to children?

What sorts of venues are available for the usual evening social event (normally held on Friday), either within the potential host city or nearby?  Are they accessible to persons with disabilities?  And what sort of local transportation companies are available for transportation to and from the social event site?  Is disability-accessible public transportation an option?  What about on-site parking for attendees who might wish to drive?


Specific Information about Local Arrangements Committee

Please provide information about who specifically will be responsible for local arrangements in the host city.  Because hosting the annual conference is a significant responsibility, most recent non-D.C. conferences have relied on a coalition of local and regional hosts from different institutions and organizations (colleges and universities, museums, university presses, other historically based organizations, etc.).  Potential hosts are encouraged to think broadly about local and regional partners.

Please provide as well information about potential contributions (financial or otherwise) from partnering institutions/organizations.  While there is no standard for these sorts of contributions, in the past they have included funds to provide general support for the conference and subsidies to offset the cost of speakers, facility rental/AV costs, refreshment breaks, and the conference social event.  Council also welcomes information about potential in-kind support.



Conference Lodging

Feedback from members following the 2022 conference in New Orleans indicated a desire for both hotel lodging that is walkable to the conference site as well as affordable housing (such as dormitory housing).  SHAFR works with a professional broker to negotiate hotel contracts for its annual meetings.  Therefore potential hosts are not expected to handle arrangements themselves, but Council does want them to provide information about the availability of suitable hotel facilities.  In keeping with the recent work of SHAFR’s Conference Committee, potential hotels and all other facilities for the conference must be fully accessible for persons with disabilities.  Pre-pandemic, non-D.C. SHAFR hotel contracts provided for a block of 150 rooms (half singles, half doubles, and a couple of suites) for Wednesday and Saturday nights and 180 rooms for Thursday and Friday nights.   Potential hosts can use those numbers as a guide when formulating their proposals.


Conference Session Rooms

Although the format of each SHAFR conference is a little different, past conference schedules suggest that potential host sites should contain sufficient rooms to allow for at least 10 concurrent panels during any given time slot, with some conferences including up to 12 sessions at any given time.  Potential host sites should therefore have sufficient, suitable session rooms for the full run of the conference (usually Thursday mid-day through the end of the day on Saturday). 


Plenary Session Room/Reception Space

We usually need a room to accommodate an opening plenary session, which is sometimes held in the late afternoon but more often in the evening of the opening day of the conference.  Past conferences have often utilized a hotel ballroom or similar space for this event.

Space is also needed for the evening welcome reception, also normally held on Thursday.  If this event is to be held immediately following the plenary session, a separate space will be required.  If sufficient time is available for staff to turn around the plenary session space for the reception, then it could be held in the same place.  If not, then a second location must be secured.


Exhibit and Registration Space

A large, easily accessible, common space—such as a large foyer or hallway--is needed to house the conference registration as well as 8-12 exhibitors—preferably in the same shared space--for the duration of the conference.  This space is also generally used for the afternoon breaks.


Breakfast and Luncheon Rooms

Space is needed each morning for continental breakfast, and for catered luncheons on Friday and Saturday.  The SHAFR Presidential Address is delivered at one of the luncheons; the SHAFR president arranges for a keynote speaker for the other.  Information about catering costs and arrangements is appreciated but not required at this point.


Business Meeting Rooms

The Society usually utilizes at least one business meeting room that can accommodate 15-18 people for the Diplomatic History editorial board meeting Friday morning and other committee meetings during the conference.   



In an effort to make travel to the annual conference as convenient as possible, the SHAFR Council prefers host locations that are easily accessible via air.  Potential hosts should therefore provide information about airport facilities, including distance from potential conference hotels and event sites, number and specific airlines providing service (including international service), local transportation options between the airport and hotel/event sites (taxi, bus, metro/subway), etc.  If potential conference hotels provide complimentary shuttle service, please note that in the proposal as well.

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