For NAACL 2022, the D&I committee has taken several steps to strengthen the presence and bolster visibility of affinity groups in NLP. We intend this guide to be a primer for those who have not heard about them or are interested in better supporting their efforts. For the first time in *CL conferences, we are organizing affinity group workshops!

What are affinity groups?

An affinity group is a collective of researchers formed around a shared interest or common goal.

For example, they might be comprised of individuals from specific protected categories or are from traditionally underrepresented geographic regions. In our community, affinity groups promote and support ideas and voices of underrepresented groups and raise awareness of issues that affect their members.

What Kind of Events do Affinity Group Offer at Conferences?

Affinity groups organize social events for their members at conferences, which the D&I committee provides support for. NAACL 2022 will additionally feature several D&I panels where affinity groups members will participate towards the shared goal for supporting diversity, equality and inclusion for all.

What Can NAACL Attendees do to Support Affinity Groups?

Participate! Actively attending and participating in panels and sessions for discussions about issues that are relevant to the affinity groups goes a long way in helping promote their cause. We request all members of our community to participate actively!

Sponsor, Volunteer or Recruit: Affinity groups are always looking for help with sponsorship, volunteering and recruitment. Help with sponsorship, volunteer your time, and help recruitment efforts to keep the momentum going!

Joint Affinity Group Workshop (9 AM - 11 AM PDT, July 10, Virtual)

All members of affinity group will be coming together at our GatherTown (accessible to everyone, even to non-registrants) and presenting their work. The poster session will be only virtual which you can access here.

Queer in AI workshop

Queer in AI was established by queer scientists in AI with the mission to make the AI community a safe and inclusive place that welcomes, supports, and values queer people. Queer in AI works towards this by building a visible community of queer AI scientists through conference workshops, social meetups, conference poster sessions, mentoring programs, financial aid programs, and many other initiatives. Another crucial part of Queer in AI’s mission is to raise awareness of queer issues in the general AI community and to encourage and highlight research on these problems.

You can volunteer by joining Queer in AI’s Slack workspace. Queer in AI has many different roles like helping with conference socials, mentoring people during grad school application season, and managing our social media. Queer in AI is especially looking for people to help with finance and sponsorship, and to help organize Queer in AI’s presence at future NLP conferences.

Queer in AI program will include:

  1. Virtual social at 14:00 UTC, July 9
  2. Hybrid workshop from 11 am PDT, July 10 at 506 Samish
  3. In-person social at 6 pm PDT at The Pine Box

For more details, visit their conference website.

LatinX in AI workshop

The LatinX in AI (LXAI) network serves many researchers around the globe. This time, LXAI organized the first NLP workshop aimed at LatinX to promote and increase the representation of the LatinX community in the NLP field. The LXNLP workshop includes paper presentations, a diverse set of keynotes (speakers come from academia, government, and industry), a panel discussion, and a social. For more information, please visit the LXNLP website.

The in-person workshop for LatinX in AI will be on July 10, 11.30 am PDT at 507 Sauk.

Widening NLP workshop

WiNLP started as a general cohort building, to form networks of like-minded people. They want to find the right vectors of support for more and different groups within CL. One size does not fit all when it comes to diversity and support. They wanted to create a space that would be welcoming and supportive for all groups, particularly those that typically don’t get to see themselves represented as often or well in the larger CL community.

If you would like to help WiNLP, then volunteer and sponsor! Reach out to an organizer to say you want to be on the organizing committee next year; volunteer to help run things on the day of as an extra pair of hands; share the calls for papers and other WiNLP events; encourage your students and labs to submit and attend our workshops; sign up as a mentor. Follow WiNLP goals outside the workshop itself — better representation of underrepresented minorities in panel discussions, for invited talks, ACL fellowships, etc.

They will be holding a FREE online satellite event in conjunction with NAACL 2022 on July 10th, 2022. Their event will include a keynote speaker, a panel research discussion, and a mentorship roundtable. Their event is a free D&I event as opposed to a regular ACL workshop. Everyone is welcome to attend for free.

The current schedule of the workshop is:

  • Intro and Keynote (8-9 am PDT)
  • Mentorship Lunch (12-1 pm PDT)
  • Panel and goodbye (5-6 pm PDT)

More details are available here and please register here to attend.

North Africans in NLP workshop

The goal of this group is to create a sense of community among North African researchers in NLP and AI, to increase the visibility of North Africans within the NLProc community, to highlight their accomplishments, and to acknowledge and discuss the hardships faced by NLP researchers based in North Africa.

This workshop is postponed, please check their website for further details.