Ill-Abilities is an international dance team comprised of differently abled people. (Photo courtesy Ill Abilities)

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With their words and moves, a differently abled dance crew will help define the theme of Missouri State University’s 20th annual Public Affairs Conference. 

Featuring a lineup of in-person and live-streamed events, the conference set to run Wednesday, Sept. 27 and Thursday, Sept. 28, will focus on a theme of embracing change, and exercising strength in the face of struggle, according to a press release from the university. The theme is “Navigating the Now: Tradition, Innovation and Wisdom in a World of Change.”

Ill-Abilities features eight differently abled dancers. Formed in 2007, the group’s performances pair high-intensity moves and choreography with motivational messages.

They will perform at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Plaster Student Union Theater. A reception and Q&A will be held afterward. 

All events for the Public Affairs Conference are free and open to the general public.

Other highlighted speakers include: 

• Diego Senior, a broadcast journalist and media professional who will discuss real-world implications of chatbots on mental health, speaking at 12:15 p.m. on Sept. 27. This session is virtual, and you can find details here.

• Shay-Akil McLean, an educator and community organizer will speak about race and racism as a human ecological system, speaking at 7 p.m. on Sept. 27. The event is in-person only and will be in the Plaster Student Union Theater.

• Yuki Noguchi, a science desk correspondent with NPR, speaking at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 28. The event is in-person only and will be in the Plaster Student Union Theater.

An event featuring the conference’s keynote speaker, former NFL quarterback Joe Montana, has been postponed until Nov. 2.