International Affairs Family Conference 2024

July 21 - July 28

Global Population Aging

Around the world, people are living longer and having fewer children. This causes global population aging: populations with more older people and fewer younger people over time. The United Nations has identified these changes as one of the megatrends that will shape our world in the coming decades. Join us to learn about these patterns and what they mean for economics, politics, and social organization, and how countries are adapting to the opportunities and challenges of older populations.

Conference Admission

In the event the conference is oversubscribed, registrations received by March 10 will be entered into a lottery. Registrations received after March 10 will be accepted on a space-available basis. For more information, contact the Conference Registrar.

Youth Programming

Our youth program runs from toddlers though high school students, broken down into different age groups. They meet mornings from 9:50am-12pm and afternoons from 1:20pm-3pm, except for the seniors who meet afternoons and evenings. Children’s groups do art projects, explore the island, play games and sing. 

Theme Speakers

Jennifer D. Sciubba, Ph.D., is one of the foremost experts in the field of political demography. Her work argues that a deeper understanding of fertility, mortality, and migration trends points us toward the investments we need to make today to shape the future we want tomorrow, the central theme of her latest book, 8 Billion and Counting: How Sex, Death, and Migration Shape Our World (W.W. Norton 2022). She works to educate the broader public about the importance of population trends by translating research for readers of The Atlantic, Harvard Business Review, The Washington Post, and on the TED stage, among other places, in addition to publishing policy-relevant research in numerous scholarly articles and edited books.

Dr. Marlene Lee is an associate vice president in International Programs at the Population Reference Bureau (PRB). At PRB, her focus is on economic development, education, and women’s empowerment. She is currently technical director of PRB’s research translation collaboration with NORC for the USAID Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) and PRB’s collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley on Counting Women’s Work. She has worked with academics, policymakers, and members of civil society from every region of the world, including extensive experience in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.


Dr. Julie Sweetland is a sociolinguist and a senior advisor at the FrameWorks Institute, a nonprofit that equips change-makers to lead productive public conversations on scientific and social issues. FrameWorks’ unique approach to culture and communications research shapes public discourse across the nation and around the world. Their impact was recognized in 2015 with the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, otherwise known as the “organizational genius grant.”

Minister of the Week

Rev. Shayna Appel (she/them) is an old Shoaler and a fairly new retiree from 23 years of parish ministry in both the UUA and the UCC. She has co-led youth conferences on Star Island for Star Gathering I & II, LOAS, and IA and was honored as well to serve as Minister of the Week for Star Gathering I. Out of her love for Star Island and maybe a momentary lapse of sanity, she signed up last summer to be an End of Season Pelican and survived!

Program Fees

$200/adult (18+)

$150/child (0-17) 

Room & Board

The rates below are per person for the full length of the conference.

Adults (18+) 

Standard Shared: $1,222 | Standard Single: $1,662

Motel Shared: $1,504 | Motel Single: $2,207 


Under 6: Free | 6-11 years: $565 | 12-17 years: $809 

Financial Aid

We offer financial assistance. Please see the website for more details. 

Boat Schedule

Departure from Portsmouth July 21st 2:20 PM  

Departure from Star Island July 28th 8:50 AM  


Contact conference registrar, Kristin Laverty, at or conference chair, Gretchen Donehower, at