Call For Papers

Interested in speaking at the Annual Conference? Partner with fellow thought leaders and submit a session proposal. The Call for Papers will open in February and the deadline for submissions will be in late April. 

The Annual Conference Program Committee reviews hundreds of submissions every year to organize a diverse and informative program of sessions. Each submission is carefully reviewed for quality, timeliness, creativity, and relevance.

Submission Formats

  1. Program Session - 90 minute time slot, which can be formatted in a variety of different presentation styles; AZA encourages unique and different presentation styles, including, but not limited to:

    • Moderated Panel Discussion - Three to four individual speaker presentations around a similar topic, developed with a moderator introducing and concluding the various speakers. Question and answer at the conclusion is encouraged to be built into the session time. 

    • Collaborative Discussion - Attendees are actively encouraged to participate in the discussion, led by a moderator and possible speakers. May be in the form of roundtables topics.

    • Point-Counterpoint Panel - Moderated discussion focused on various sides of a topic, which may or may not include presentations.

    • Conversation Starter - Moderator is prepared to facilitate an open discussion along a particular topic. They begin with a 5 minute intro of the topic or sides of the topic, then opens to the audience for interactive discussion.

    • PechaKucha 20x20 and IGNITE - Simple presentation formats combining a number of images, times with presenter comments, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.

  2. Individual Paper - selected individual papers may be combined with similar papers to form a complete 90 minute session or may be asked to present a Poster Presentation; Individual submitters are encouraged to connect with their fellow zoo and aquarium colleagues to submit a full session proposal.  If you need help connecting with other submitters on a similar topic, consider posting on the AZA Network.

  3. Poster Presentation - well suited for presentations of complex and technical methods and/or results

    • Poster presentations allow the audience more time to digest complex information and promote discussion between presenters and their audience. Posters typically reach a wider audience than short talks because they are on display for several days following the formal poster session.

    • Poster Presentations that are accepted must be on display in the Exhibit Hall by 9:30 am on Monday, September 9. Authors must be registered attendees and be present at the Poster Reception on Tuesday evening, September 10.  This will give poster presenters an opportunity to discuss their work or findings with conference attendees.


These tracks organize sessions by like areas of interest.  They do not preclude attendees from considering sessions outside of their identified track.  Attendees are encouraged to review all sessions across all tracks.

 Animal Management & Welfare                Education
 Aquarium Affairs                                       Public Relations & Marketing
 Business Operations                                Volunteer & Docent Management
 Conservation                                           &More
 Development & Membership    

Role of the Moderator

The moderator is involved in planning and executing the entire session. They are the main point of contact with AZA staff and the individual who submits the proposal to the Call for Papers. Please read the Responsibilities of Moderators for detailed descriptions of the moderator's role.

Once a session is accepted, the moderator is responsible for confirming all participants based on guidelines and deadlines set forth by AZA. If any speaker withdraws, the moderator must notify the Annual Conference Program Committee and submit a replacement candidate to the committee or the session will be subject to cancellation. Please note that all speaker changes are subject to approval by the Annual Conference Program Committee.

Registration and Membership Requirements

All speakers at the Annual Conference must be registered to attend, either for the full conference or the day on which they are speaking.  Registration categories and rates are determined by the membership status at the time in which the conference is held.

It is the preference of AZA that all speakers within the zoo and aquarium profession be AZA members in good standing, or represent an AZA-accredited institution. Membership status does not guarantee acceptance or rejection of a presentation.

It is required that all speakers and attendees of the conference who represent commercial entities (i.e. providers of products or services and/or consulting) within the zoo and aquarium profession, be AZA Commercial Members in good standing, and/or participating at the conference by exhibiting or sponsoring.

AZA and the Annual Conference Program Committee would also like to encourage the participation of individuals from outside of the zoo or aquarium industry. In the case of individuals from outside of the industry, registration may be waived for the day. It is the role of the moderator to receive an exception from AZA for registration to be waived for those individuals who do not work in the zoo or aquarium industry, but have valuable experience and information to share.

Presentations must be educational in nature and not actively promote any particular product, service, brand, or company.

For more information on becoming a member of AZA, please contact AZA's Membership Services Department.

For information on how to become an exhibitor or sponsor, please contact Gina Velosky.

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