Three women standing in front of a huge rainbow banner that says "Belonging" in graffiti writing.

Travel blog: CYPT at the International Othering & Belonging Conference

The Children and Youth Planning Table of Waterloo Region went international in April!


In April 2024, I travelled with CYPT members to Oakland, California for the Othering and Belonging Conference 2024 (O&B 2024). The event was hosted by john a. powell’s Othering and Belonging Institute at University of California Berkeley – an institution that may sound familiar if you attended Ashley Gallegos’ 2023 CYPT Annual Forum keynote!


As a PhD Candidate & Vanier Scholar at the University of Waterloo, I attend a few conferences every year. They’re a great chance to meet others doing similar work, to share ideas and collaborate on challenges, and hear about the latest advances in a field. At O&B 2024, I met with scientists, academics and practitioners who are at the cutting edge of work to understand and foster belonging. For example:



I also had the pleasure of sharing some of the amazing belonging work happening in Waterloo Region. I presented a research poster sharing findings from the Waterloo Region Belonging Survey, and highlighted the unique model and mission of the Children and Youth Planning Table. I heard from many attendees how appreciative they are for our focus on children and youth, as we seem to be one of the only groups centering young people in work on belonging!


The conference was great inspiration and motivation to keep amplifying young voices, fostering inclusion, and building bridges within our community.


Serena McDiarmid
Serena McDiarmid (she/her)
Development & Dissemination Coordinator, Measurement for Change | Children & Youth Planning Table
Instructor, Wicked Problem of Precarity Course, Teaching Innovation Incubator | University of Waterloo
PhD Candidate & Vanier Scholar, Social Development Lab | University of Waterloo


A group of people standing outside of a house on a street. They are smiling. A research poster about Children and Youth Planning Table of Waterloo Region. The poster shows statistics, diagrams, and information about belonging in children and youth. A group of about seven people in a street in California. They are smiling and in the background there are palm trees.

A photo taken from a plane of the plane's wing and the clouds and sky. A powerpoint slide with three diagrams. The first is "exclusion" where theres a circle with colourful circles pushed to the outside. The second is "Inclusion" where the circle has allowed some of the coloured circles inside. The third is "belonging" where it's a big group of multicoloured circles, all mixed together evenly.