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Isobel P

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In terms of advice from the EA Global team we don’t have a strict policy on covid and you can use your best judgement. You may wish to test/mask. 

I (Iz) would personally ask that you inform your 1:1 meeting partners and that you aren't unmasked inside whilst still testing positive.

Thanks, 
Iz

Hi Brian, 

Izzy here (I project manage EA Globals at CEA), Joseph has covered most of it but I just wanted to give my quick take!

Our admissions bar is pretty high so if you've been accepted then we think you should attend! You will be on the younger side of attendees but we typically have a healthy dose of undergrads attending so you certainly won't be alone. On the that note, one of the best things about EA Globals (in my humble opinion) is the pool of more experienced EAs who are not just willing but excited to give you advice and help you test ideas about your career and improving the world, so I would try not to worry about being on the less experienced side. In fact this is the reason we run the event, to facilitate new connections and to allow people to share their wisdom and help each other.

We'll be running an online workshop pre-event for first timers so you can meet some fellow attendees and get help planning your conference so you can get the most out of it. (You should receive an email about this when you register but feel free to DM me if not). Throughout the weekend we'll also be running lots of speed meeting sessions (as well as meetups) so hopefully this should provide another avenue for making connections. One final suggestion for meeting people is volunteering as that way you'll meet the other 45 or so volunteers and can hang out in the volunteer room etc when you need down time. You can read more about volunteering on the FAQ page or email hello@eaglobal.org for more information. 

Please let me know if you have other questions. 

Hope to see you there :)




 

Isobel here, I work at CEA programming content for EA Globals (but not EAGx’s whose content is planned by the local organising team). Thanks for this suggestion, I think it’s an interesting idea and possibly worth trialling at a lower stakes event (if there’s a low-ish effort version of this) to see if it works.

My comment got quite long (sorry!) so here’s the TL;DR: 
We already have the content suggestion form as a way of openly soliciting EAG content but in general find the best content comes from speakers we proactively reach out to. Therefore, I’m sceptical that having blind open applications would meaningfully improve content quality, but think it could be worth trialling at a lower stakes event.

Before I jump in I thought it might be useful to explain the current process for selecting speakers at EAGs. (Posting this has been on my to-do-list for a while now so thank you for this push to finally write something up!)
 

How we select content:

In vague order of how much I use each mechanism to generate and select content for talks/workshops etc at EA Globals:

  • Calls with trusted advisors
    • These are people I’ve reached out to who I expect to have a good overview of specific cause areas because of their role (e.g. grant making within a certain field). They help me orientate to the current debates, problems and questions within their domain and sometimes provide suggestions or topics that we should try and cover at EA Global.
  • Content advisory board
    • This is a group of 30 trusted advisers covering all major EA cause areas, this typically involves adding speaker recommendations to a spreadsheet
    • This was used more frequently from 2019–2021 and although I have sent solicitations to the board in 2023 most are too busy to add names and I find having an in-depth conversation about the domain area helps me much more to evaluate which speakers to select.
  • Perusing the EA forum, recent grants, relevant institutions, news articles, the internet, academia, etc for interesting and useful content.
  • Content suggestion form
    • This is a form where anyone can propose suggested speakers (including themselves) for EAGs and EAGx’s. We monitor this regularly, although due to time constraints we can only respond if we’re interested in exploring the suggestion further.
    • I would strongly encourage you/anyone reading this post to submit suggestions through this form.

 

Other things I do:

  • I try not to place much weight on people reaching out to me since I think someone being likely to reach out and actively promote their work is uncorrelated with the importance or quality of their work and I don’t want to end up platforming those who shout the loudest.
  • I also try to avoid consulting my CEA colleagues and other EA friends too frequently as although they have plenty of domain expertise over a variety of topics, I don't want to accidentally enforce a norm of nepotism/”who you know over what you know”. This is why I weigh the content suggestions received from the trusted advisors most heavily as they are people who I have intentionally reached out to for their expertise. (Of course they could be nepotistic/groupthinky in their suggestions too, and this is a good nudge to me that I should consider seeking out some trusted advisors less submerged in the EA ecosystem in order to avoid this). I do however listen to acquaintances' suggestions on types of content, possible topics, and new things to try as this feels ~fine?
  • Once I have a topic/question in mind, I try to solicit speakers from underrepresented groups who have expertise in that domain first. We have a bar for the level of competence and expertise needed to go on stage at an EA Global, and consider anyone who is above that bar, first prioritising underrepresented groups.
  • I track who has spoken at previous conferences, favouring new speakers over those who have spoken at previous EAGs. (I do consider the quality of the speaker's previous talks here also e.g. if they give really good talks then we might be happy to have repeat speakers). I also look at EAGx speakers to see if there’s individuals who have given really great/informative talks I might want to book.
     

Response to the suggestion in the post.

1.) I want to push back a little about speakers being selected for being “‘senior EAs' and 'EA leaders' with high social status in the community”. We try to book speakers with expertise in areas that would be of interest/use to EAG attendees. That often correlates with being a senior/"respected" EA but not always, and I am currently trying to book more speakers with less EA experience and more extensive experience outside of the community. In these cases their credentials/past experience is particularly important, especially as they have less EA context so will find it harder to frame their pitch in “EA language”.

2.) I worry a bit that this leads to content where the pushiest wins. Lots of our best content comes from people we have proactively sought out and they're probably not the kind of people who would submit applications to speak at EAG either because a.) gaining EA credibility/status by speaking at EAG isn’t that important to them or b.) they don't realise how useful their expertise might be or c.) they’re very busy doing good work and not submitting blind talk proposals. Whilst speaking at an EAG does have the benefit of some sort of visible endorsement from a central EA org (CEA to be precise), I worry that making speaking opportunities into a competition further pushes this dynamic. I would prefer the benefits of speaking at an EAG to be viewed primarily as transmitting useful/important information and questions to EAG attendees and those watching online after. 

3.) I agree with Jeff’s comment that whether a talk would be worth hosting depends on who would be giving it.

4.) I would be surprised if it increased the diversity of speakers in the traditional sense, from my experience people from underrepresented groups seem less likely to nominate themselves to speak. I would also expect those with diversity of thought to be less likely to nominate themselves as they are likely to be less well-plugged into the EA network. I think both types of diversity are very important when programming content for EAGs and would welcome other suggestions to improve this.

Overall I think this is an interesting idea, and will suggest it to EAGx organisers, but am somewhat sceptical it would be useful for EAGs.

1. This is a  good point, I hope that we weighted heavily enough on delivery but it's not certain.  I imagine that sometime next year when we review the progress and impact of grantees this will be something we consider more thoroughly, and will adjust accordingly. 

2. Yep - I should have been more specific, the I and N were applied to the problem area as a whole and the T was applied to the proposed intervention. In hindsight, maybe we could have weighted this more heavily in favour of the actual intervention being assessed.  This was in part exacerbated by us taking a sort of worldview diversification approach and not having a specific cause area focus. I imagine more tailored funders avoid this problem as they pick a cause area they deem to be important ahead of time and then are only evaluating on the merit of the intervention, whereas we had to incorporate assessments of both the problem area and  the proposed project. 

3. Hmm - unfortunately not really in the global health space. The Effective Thesis database here has some sources of funds I hadn't heard of, and the funding opportunities tag might be useful, but they tend to be more longtermist focused. If you message me with details of your project then I'd be happy to think about people I could connect you with.