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International Members Guide to the 2015 Annual Meeting

Atlanta 2015 Annual Meeting Banner

Annual Meeting Overview
     Program Book
     Mobile App
     Exhibit Hall
Getting Around Atlanta
     MARTA
     Taxis
     Shared-Ride Vans
     Arriving International Passengers
     Parking at the Hotels
     Facilities Addresses
Accessibility Information
Sessions Especially for International Members
Meeting and Networking with Colleagues
Prayer Space
Need Help?
Annual Meeting and Beyond
     Food
     Show Your Badge
     Places of Worship
General Information about Travel to the United States
Additional Resources

Annual Meeting Overview

The Annual Meetings are cohosted by the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), making it the largest yearly convention of scholars in the fields of religious studies and theology. Combined, there are over 1,000 academic sessions offered by the AAR, SBL, and other related scholarly organizations.

The sessions, breakfasts, and receptions at this year’s Annual Meetings will be held in the Hyatt Regency, Marriott Marquis, Hilton Downtown, Westin Peachtree Plaza, and Sheraton Downtown Hotels. All locations are within walking distance of each other. Registration and the Exhibit Hall will be held in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, and the Employment Center will be held in the Sheraton Downtown Hotel.

Hotel Map for Downtown Atlanta

Program Book

The Program Book is your primary guide to all academic sessions, breakfasts and receptions, and additional meetings officially sponsored at the Annual Meetings. If you registered for the meeting prior to August 13, 2015, and elected to receive a printed program, you will receive your Program Book in the mail after October 1. If you registered after that date and would like a printed copy, you can pick up a Program Book, along with your tote bag, onsite in the registration area in the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Last minute changes to the program will be highlighted in the printed At-A-Glance supplement, which will be inside the tote bag that you pick up in the registration area.

You can search for sessions of interest in other ways, as well. The AAR has posted a searchable program book online where you are able to search for sessions by keyword and session type. Visit http://papers.aarweb.org/program_book.

The Annual Meetings Mobile App is the most functional and up-to-date way to search for specific topics, speakers, and program unit sessions. Read below for more information.

Mobile App

You can access the entire Annual Meetings program on your mobile device. With the mobile app, you can create and customize your schedule, make notes about sessions, search for participants, share your schedule with friends and colleagues, and get interactive information about exhibitors.

The app allows users to search for sessions by keyword, by participant, and by program unit. Schedule changes are downloaded in the background when Internet access is available. Download info for the 2015 Mobile App is here.

Exhibit Hall

There are over 150 exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall this year, and many offer special discounts on books and items purchased during the Annual Meetings. Each exhibitor has a booth with representatives from the company or press. The Program Book contains the index of exhibitors and a map of the Exhibit Hall, which can also be found here: https://www.aarweb.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/Annual_Meeting/2015/2015AMExhibitHallMapsandListofExhibitors.pdf (PDF). An interactive map will be available on the mobile app.

Be sure to schedule some time to browse the Exhibit Hall—some book titles may not be available for purchase overseas. The Exhibit Hall will be located in the Hyatt Regency's Grand Hall (Exhibit Level) and Centennial Ballroom (Ballroom Level).

Getting Around Atlanta

There are several transportation options to travel between the airport and your hotel, as well as around downtown Atlanta.

AIRPORT TRANSFERS – ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (ATL)

Rapid Transit Train – MARTA

Arriving air travelers should follow the Ground Transportation signs to MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority). The fare gates are just a few feet from the baggage claim areas. Take the MARTA train to the Peachtree Center Station. You may either take the Doraville Gold Line or the North Springs Red Line. At Peachtree Center, exit to the Food Court and follow signs to the Hyatt Regency or Marriot Marquis Hotel. People who are staying in other properties may get more specific directions from their hotels. For more information, visit http://itsmarta.com/rail-schedules-or-route.aspx. MARTA fare is $5 for a round trip ticket, and $1 more if you don’t already have a Breeze Card.

Taxis

A set fee prevails between the airport and downtown of $30. There is a $2 charge for each additional person and a $1.50 flag drop fee. Taxis can be found in the Yellow Bus aisle.

Shared-Ride Vans

The AAR and SBL are partnering with Super Shuttle this year for dates between November 18 and 28. Shared shuttle service is available 24 hours a day with a reservation. They are offering a discount of $1 off one-way trips ($15.50), or $4 per roundtrip ($29). There are two ways to book Super Shuttle:

Upon arrival, follow signs to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the SuperShuttle ticket counter to speak with a uniformed Customer Service Representative. The counter is located in the Domestic Terminal's south-side baggage claim area, in the corridor immediately to the left of the escalator from the inter-terminal train. The ticket counter is staffed from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily. Most shared-ride shuttles pick up on the Green Bus Aisle, which is located outside in the Ground Transportation Center between the Domestic North and South Terminals.

Arriving International Passengers

The Atlanta airport has a relatively new (2012) International Terminal. If you are arriving directly from an international flight, you cannot access secured areas of the Airport after you pick up your luggage at the international terminal baggage claim. The airport has a complimentary 24-hour shuttle service that goes from the international terminal to the main terminal (15 minute ride). From the main terminal, you have access to the domestic terminal’s ground transportation center at the west of the building, which includes MARTA. If you are flying back directly to an international location, you must go to this terminal to check in as well.

Hanging signs will assist you with identifying loading and unloading zones for each ground transportation service:

  • Taxis: Yellow/Zone 1
  • Local Shuttles: Green/Zone 4
  • International Shuttle Connector (to main airport terminal): Red/Zone 3

PARKING AT THE ANNUAL MEETING

Since we will have multiple locations for the AAR sessions, each hotel has different parking rules and rates. Please check at the property that is most convenient for you for accurate information. If you are planning on driving in, and would like a more economical choice, you might want to park at an outlying MARTA station and take the rail in. From http://itsmarta.com/rail-schedules-or-route.aspx, you can click on individual train stations to view their parking information. See above for more MARTA information.

Facilities Addresses

Aloft Downtown
Doubletree Downtown
Embassy Suites Centennial Park
Hilton Downtown
Holiday Inn Downtown
Hyatt Regency
Marriott Marquis
Sheraton Downtown
Westin Peachtree Plaza
300 Spring St NW
160 Spring St NW
267 Marietta St
255 Courtland St NE
101 Andrew Young International Blvd NW
265 Peachtree St NE
265 Peachtree Center Ave
165 Courtland St NE
210 Peachtree St NW

Accessibility Information

AAR members with disabilities, or any attendees who may have difficulty getting around the meeting, are encouraged to note this during registration, as well as on the housing section of registration if applicable. AAR will make every reasonable attempt to accommodate you, whether by arranging services such as sign language interpreters, assigning accessible hotel room space, or through the AAR & SBL’s taxi reimbursement policy. Please contact Soraya Shahrak, Associate Director of Meetings, at SShahrak@aarweb.org if you have any questions.

For detailed information about getting around Atlanta and the meeting sites, finding accessible dining options, and finding out about accessibility services for the Annual Meeting program and the Employment Center, please see here: https://www.aarweb.org/annual-meeting/accessibility-information-for-annual-meetings.

In 2013, the AAR established a Committee on the Status of People with Disabilities in the Profession (PWD), which works to assure the full access of people with disabilities within the Academy and to advance their status within the profession. This year, the PWD Committee will sponsor two special topics forums:

  • “Disability Justice and Racial Justice: Intersections and Imperatives,” Monday 9–11:30 a.m. in Marriott Marquis A707, cosponsored with the Status of LGBTIQ, Racial and Ethnic Minorities, and the Status of Women in the Profession Committees
  • “Cultivating Cultures of Accessibility in the Academy and the Classroom: An Interactive Workshop with Margaret Price,” Tuesday 9–11:30 a.m., Marriott Marquis A707

The committee will also host a luncheon, “Connecting Conversations,” on Monday 11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m. in the Marriott’s Room A703, immediately after the session on "Disability Justice and Racial Justice.” Registration for the lunch costs $13 and is limited to 100 people. Advanced registration is required and can be done while you are registering online. If you have already completed registration, contact reg@aarweb.org.

Sessions Especially for International Members

For a list of plenaries and receptions that may be of special interest to AAR’s international members, as well as sessions that have an international focus, please see here: https://www.aarweb.org//sites/default/files/pdfs/Annual_Meeting/2015/2015AMSessionsInternationalMembers.pdf (PDF). 
We strongly encourage you to search the online Program Book for other panels and sessions in your area of research: https://papers.aarweb.org/program_book.

Meeting and Networking with Colleagues

International Members Lounge

This is a specially designated space for international members to relax and greet each other during the Annual Meeting. The lounge is located in the Hyatt Regency Hotel on the Exhibit Level in the Chicago C room.

Friend Finder and Social Media

The AAR website allows you to search for friends and colleagues who might be attending the Annual Meetings. Go to https://www.aarweb.org/look-whos-coming to see who’s coming to the Annual Meetings!

Take your Annual Meetings experience to the web! Use hashtag #aarsbl15 to continue the conversation on Twitter, and check out the AAR’s Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/HVxhIk. For best practices for social media use at the meeting, see here: https://www.aarweb.org/annual-meeting/best-practices-for-social-media-use-at-the-2015-annual-meeting.

Prayer Space

There is a nondenominational prayer and reflection space located in room Chicago D on the Exhibit Level in the Hyatt Regency. For local places of worship, please see here: https://www.aarweb.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/Annual_Meeting/2015/2015AMReligiousObservanceInformation.pdf (PDF).

Need Help?

If you have questions about the program, your membership, or events at the Annual Meeting, the staff at the Member Services desk, located in the registration area of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, will be able to assist you.

For questions and concerns about international membership with the AAR, and to provide feedback about how we can better serve international members, you may e-mail Amy Allocco (aallocco@elon.edu), Chair of the International Connections Committee, before, during, and after the Annual Meeting.

Annual Meeting and Beyond

Food

Restaurants close to the meeting locations are here: https://www.aarweb.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/Annual_Meeting/2015/2015AMRestaurantsWithin0.3Miles.pdf (PDF).
A more complete list of downtown restaurants is here: http://attend2.atlanta.net/aar-sbl/dining.aspx.
If you are looking for vegetarian or restaurants that can accommodate restricted diets, this list may be helpful: https://www.aarweb.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/Annual_Meeting/2015/2015AMVegetarianRestaurants.pdf (PDF).

Show Your Badge

From November 18 through November 27, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau is offering discounts at local restaurants and attractions through the “Savings in the City" card. See here for details and to print your card: http://attend2.atlanta.net/savings/index.aspx?meetingNum=119856&accountNum=000022. A list of all the discount offers is here: http://attend2.atlanta.net/savings/all.aspx?meetingnum=119856.

Places of Worship

For a list of local religious services, see here: https://www.aarweb.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/Annual_Meeting/2015/2015AMReligiousObservanceInformation.pdf (PDF).
Please note, this is not a comprehensive list of places of worship in Atlanta.

General Information about Travel to the United States

See https://www.aarweb.org/annual-meeting/information-on-travel-to-the-us for detailed information and tips for international travelers to the United States.

Additional Resources