Citizens of developing countries are often priced out of *CL conferences because of the high rates relative to wages in their country. This contributes to why many of these countries are underrepresented in our conferences. Folks from various affinity groups such as Masakhane, Queer in AI, LatinX in AI, Black in AI, and others have often cited lack of funding to attend *CL conferences. NAACL 2021 is committed to lowering these financial barriers, which is enabled by the virtual format of the conference and support from our sponsors. This year, we have lowered the early registration student fee to 25 USD and additionally have plenty of DEI grants and volunteer positions available. Our plans for this initiative are:
Waivers for authors with accepted papers from underrepresented developing countries and affinity groups: Authors who reside in an underrepresented developing country or region‡ or are members of an affinity groups (like Black in AI, Queer in AI, LXAI, Masakhane, AmericasNLP etc.) with a paper at NAACL (main and/or workshop) qualify for a D&I grant to cover registration & membership fees if they submit the D&I application form by May 6.
Waivers are not automatically processed; instead, authors must apply for the grants by filling in this form by May 6. After submitting the D&I application form, authors can immediately register for the conference without waiting for notification; during registration, select the option “I am a D&I Award Recipient” and ‘I am already a member of ACL’.
‡ people whose normal place of employment or study is not one of the following countries and regions: Australia, Brunei, Canada, China, E.U. (except Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria), European microstates, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, U.A.E., U.K., U.S..
Waivers for authors with accepted papers who are not from underrepresented developing countries and affinity groups: We encourage authors who do not meet the above criteria (being from underrepresented developing countries and affinity groups) but are facing financial hardship to also apply for the grants by the deadline (May 6). Please state the reason that you are applying for the financial aid in this form. Please wait for notification from D&I chairs before proceeding with your NAACL registration. You will be notified by May 13.
Waivers for authors without accepted papers: We also expect to be able to provide free registration and ACL membership to attendees who do not have a paper, though the number of these waivers are limited. We will prioritize non-student volunteers, folks from underrepresented developing countries, members of affinity groups, presenters/speakers at D&I events, and people who are facing financial hardship. Please state the reason that you are applying for the financial aid in this form by the deadline (May 6). Please wait for notification from D&I chairs before proceeding with your NAACL registration. You will be notified by May 13.
Plenty of volunteer positions: We also encourage folks to apply for conference volunteer positions. Virtual conferences need a lot of volunteers to make the conference successful. In exchange for volunteering, we will provide free registration and, additionally for student volunteers, free ACL membership. Non-student volunteers are encouraged to apply for a D&I grant to cover the membership fee. Note that everyone (students or non-students, authors or non-authors) is eligible for volunteer positions. We do have plenty of volunteer positions, and it is very likely that your volunteer application will be accepted. Please apply here by May 6 by filling in this form. You will be notified by May 13. We want to stress that applying for a volunteership position should be (as the name says) a voluntary decision motivated by wanting to help us to organise a great conference, to work with and be a part of a team of your peers and future colleagues. If your motivation for applying is that you wouldn’t be able to afford attending otherwise, applying for a D&I grant is a better choice!
This pilot initiative is just a start for stronger DEI efforts in NAACL meetings. We hope to launch more inclusive initiatives in the future NAACL meetings and learn from our experiences from this pilot experiment. The D&I team is happy to listen to your suggestions at this email: firstname.lastname@example.org