The importance, and challenges, of fostering diversity in associations will be a keynote topic at the American Society of Association Executives annual meeting, coming up August 16 to 19 at the San Diego Convention Center.

ASAE’s opening general session will focus on diversity, with an expert panel discussing why and how associations need to embrace diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, age, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, disabilities, and other groups—and the challenges involved. The session will be moderated by ABC journalist Cokie Roberts and her husband Steve, an editor with U.S. News and World Report. Both are also contributors on National Public Radio.

A social media lab will be new this year, with sessions on how to use wikis, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media. There will also be an innovative Pecha Kucha session, where speakers encapsulate their experience at the annual meeting in six minutes and then open the floor to attendees for discussion. Also new to the agenda will be book club discussions and social responsibility sessions that pick up from where the ASAE Social Responsibility Summit left off in May. Other innovations at this year’s meeting include roundtable discussions, where attendees share knowledge and swap ideas on a particular subject, and learning sessions held outdoors.

Also, an invitation-only send-off event is planned for Susan Sarfati, president and CEO of the Center for Association Leadership and executive vice president at ASAE, who is leaving the organization at the end of August.

Attendance for the meeting is keeping up with the record-setting pace established last year in Chicago. That event drew more than 7,000 people. So far, pre-registered attendees—about 25 percent of whom are first-timers—hail from 16 foreign countries, including China, Australia, India, Nigeria, and Indonesia.

For more information and to register to attend, go to www.asaecenter.org/annualmeeting.