MARQUETTE — Diversity is the unifying theme of a number of discussions being held as part of an annual conference on the campus of Northern Michigan University this week.

The Uniting Neighbors in the Experience of Diversity (UNITED) Conference, is once again underway. In its ninth year, the conference continues to provide a variety of panels focusing on topics that range from women in leadership positions to the challenges faced by international University students.

“We understand diversity from a very broad perspective, so we think about ethnic diversity, gender diversity, sexual diversity, as well as ideological diversity and disciplinary diversity,” said Conference Chair Amy Hamilton. “So we try to cover a lot of different disciplines, a lot of different areas within life experience.”

The numerous free public panels provide a variety of opportunities for students, faculty, and staff, as well as the community at large, to experience the wide range of topics.

“Diversity issues are issues that affect all of us, whether we are here in the small community of Marquette or whether we travel out of this community into other areas of the country and to the world, and so being better versed in these topics and better understanding them, feeling more rooted in the diverse world that we live in, is extremely important,” Hamilton added.

The conference kicked off Sunday morning with a discussion of the DeVos Art Museum’s Rabbit Island Art Exhibit. It continues through Wednesday evening. For more information on the event, including a schedule of panels, visit