Past Seneca Falls Dialogues

The First Seneca Falls Dialogues

In October of 2008, the Seneca Falls Heritage Group, the Friends of the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Greater Rochester Branch of the American Association of University Women, together with an alliance of western New York colleges and universities, collaborated to form the First Biennial Seneca Falls Dialogues (SFD) to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the first women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York, and the 60th anniversary of Eleanor Roosevelt’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The two-day event brought together generations of women to discuss women’s rights, current trends in feminist scholarship and activism, and emerging leadership in today’s national and international human rights arena.

One of the highlights of the 2008 event was the reading of a letter from then Senator Barack Obama in response to a question posed to presidential candidates, “How would your administration support women’s rights such as the ERA, CEDAW, and pay equity?”

Other highlights of the 2008 Dialogues were a video greeting from Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and former President of Ireland; Carolyn Hannon, Director, UN Division for the Advancement of Women; and Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney speaking on “The US Congress and the Women’s Rights Agenda.”

Previous Seneca Falls Dialogues Themes and Keynotes

Chronicled below are past Seneca Falls Dialogues themes and keynote speakers. Reflective of our reach, in October 2015, we have published the inaugural The Seneca Falls Dialogues Journal, a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed, online journal that grows out of the Biennial Seneca Falls Dialogues. More information about the Seneca Falls Dialogues Journal can be found at:


Leadership, Learning & Celebrating Women’s Human Rights, featuring Congresswomen Carolyn B. Maloney

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Call and Response: Crossing Feminist Borders, featuring distinguished author, activist, professor, and then president of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall

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Politics of Leadership and Civil Rights, featuring distinguished author and scholar Dr. Nancy Hewett and a brunch keynote address by Judy Richardson, Dorothy Zellner, and Betty Robinson from Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Account by Women in the SNCC.

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EcoFeminism: Cultivating Place and Identity, featuring keynote BLK ProjeK Founder and Eco-Warrior Tanya Fields

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Lean Out: Gender, Economics, and Enterprise, featuring award-winning documentarian and photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally

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Race and Intersecting Feminist Futures, with direct-action organizer KaeLyn Rich

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Disrupting the Past, Questioning the Present, and Imagining the Future, featuring keynote speaker Michelle Schenandoah, JD, LL.M, MS

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The Seneca Falls Dialogues Journal: Beyond the Events

The Seneca Falls Dialogues Journal is a new, multidisciplinary, peer reviewed, online journal that grows out of the Biennial Seneca Falls Dialogues.

The goal of The Seneca Falls Dialogues Journal is to extend the dialogues beyond the conference weekend and to invite more voices into the conversation. We recognize the importance of creatively engaging diverse tools for feminist activism, particularly those that support dialogues across difference.

Our hope for this publication is to build a collaborative, open-access forum for students, faculty, and the community on topics relating to the themes of the Seneca Falls Dialogues.

Building on the important work of the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention, The Seneca Falls Dialogues Journal publishes insights from the grassroots coming together of activists, artists, students, and academics, with the intention of fostering collaborative learning and intersectional feminist action.

Submissions will contribute to the Dialogues’ commitment to promote leadership development, human rights activism, and equity for all individuals. Envisioned by Women’s and Gender Studies scholars, the journal seeks to honor the work of those who came before us as we build an accessible and inclusive publication in the continued pursuit of equality.