Student artist Afiwa Afandalo '24 talks about her exhibition.

Student artist Afiwa Afandalo '24 talks about her exhibition at the inaugural Radical Love Conference in 2023.

Radical Love Conference Begins Feb. 14

The four-day conference on campus features programs, talks and events centered around this year’s theme of Embodied Love.

Feb. 14 is celebrated as Valentine’s Day across the globe, but this year at Lehigh, the Marcon Institute will also celebrate the start of its second annual Radical Love Conference.

Held from Feb. 14 through Feb. 17, the conference features programs, talks and events centered around this year’s theme of Embodied Love. Each day will have several opportunities for participants to engage with the Lehigh and broader communities. These conversations are opportunities to act with love and build a community where everyone feels they belong, and wherein contributions and differences are valued.

"The Radical Love Conference revives a tradition created by bell hooks, the theorist, scholar-activist and poet whose compelling scholarship on love, belonging, and community serves as the foundation for the Marcon Institute,” said Holona Ochs, associate professor of political science and director of the Marcon Institute.

“It is our sincere desire to bring the community together to challenge the misconception that love is a saccharin, unrealistic, or naive ideal," she said. "This week of conversations and events is designed to inspire belief in love as an organizing principle and nurture a sense of belonging across our perceived divisions, beginning in our community - but we’re not stopping there!"

The Radical Love Conference is a true labor of love, the culmination of which is months in the making. Since the beginning of the Fall 2023 semester, Marcon Fellows, faculty, staff and community members have gathered on a bi-weekly basis to create what has developed into the 2024 Radical Love Conference Program.

“It has been fulfilling to collaborate with brilliant minds, students and faculty alike, who are dedicated to making space for marginalized people and creating a robust learning experience that calls folks in,” said Aisha Toure ‘24, political science major and Marcon Fellow. “Being able to bring something like this to Lehigh gives me hope that as the years go on, less and less people will feel ‘othered’ within this institution.”

For more information about the conference, please visit the Marcon Institute website here or email

Read more stories on the Lehigh News Center.

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