At first I thought it was a scam. They only pick 35 people from around the world for each conference, and supposedly after a "significant screening process". So, why would they choose me, still an academic nobody? But if you Google the phrase, and look at the articles written about those who've attended, it does seem pretty, well...prestigious. Maybe they want a few up-and-coming-nobodies. (Am I up-and-coming?) Or maybe it was a mistake!
The part that seems pretty real is that it costs $3000 (plus airfare) to attend.
I've written my department head about this to ask if there's any way he can think of to find funds. I am not optimistic, because just this summer I was in a meeting with him where we discussed the huge and massive cuts to the department funding, so much so that we now have individual counters to keep track of our paper usage in the copy room.
But anyway. I can fantasize about it, can't I?
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Well, it looks like it's for real, at any rate. However, since there is more than one per year, I don't know how exclusive it really can be considered. Nevertheless, here's a description of their selection process:
"The screening process to identify presenters and attendees engagedThey say the process is kept secret to avoid politicization.
by the Oxford Round Table Program Committee is highly selective and
discriminatory: by nomination and recommendations of previous Round Table
participants and the Round Table directors, from recognized presentations and
awards of state and national organizations, or by invitations to an individual
in a successful organizations, university or school district."
It must be a previous participant. How else would anyone out in the world know what I'm even working on? (And they did invite me to present, not just attend.)
Some fringe websites describe this whole event as the "breeding ground for the Illuminati". (Ah, if only it were so espionage-worthy.)