How do you feel about hosting the first in-person Congress after 2 years of Online Congresses?
It is like that feeling when you reconnect with an old friend after an extended period of time; it seems like we didn’t skip a beat. AIPPI did about as good of a job as you possible could expect with the on-line Congresses, but the in-person format is the only way to truly rekindle and find those relationships. I am proud of the fact that the U.S. National Group, as host country of the first post-pandemic Congress, had a significant hand in putting AIPPI Congresses back on that track. Looking around the Congress the last few days I am confident that things are headed in the right direction, and quickly.
How was the Congress so far for you and what were the highlights for you?
I typically like to get in the trenches and work on the Study Questions; I enjoy the process and debate. With my official duties this year, however, I haven’t been able to get involved as much as I would have liked. As for highlights, while just reconnecting with old AIPPI friends is certainly up there, I thoroughly enjoyed the San Francisco Boys Chorus and also the fresh oysters at the Cultural Evening.
What are you proud of in regard to the preparation of the Congress?
I am most proud that AIPPI and AIPPI-US made the courageous decision, during a very challenging time, to move forward with an in-person Congress. Those were some heavy conversations. With a global membership, we had to take into account so many considerations that were constantly in flux. With the steady hand of the leaders at AIPPI, the Conference Coordination Committee did an excellent job of trying to anticipate and assess risk while implementing contingency plans. Ultimately, I think we came out on the other side with a memorable in-person event that will stand tall in the annals of AIPPI history.
What was most challenging in the preparation work?
Tough question. Planning for an international conference during a pandemic no doubt earns that top honor. Beyond that I would say a significant challenge was getting up to speed on issues specific to the locale, including local laws and city ordinances, details on venues, transportation, food and wine, and even weather patterns. In the end, we relied heavily on the helpful guidance of Bay Area friends and colleagues.
Being the Chair of 2022 World Congress Coordination Committee, which advice would you like to share with your successor?
While updating and refining is always encouraged, AIPPI already has a time-tested, winning formula. Respect and follow that history and you are more than half way to a successful Congress. Above all, provide an environment conducive for face-to-face networking. The staff at AIPPI-Intl are incredibly helpful and deserve the lion’s share of the credit.
Any final remarks before we head to the final day tomorrow Tuesday 13 September?
The Closing Dinner is gem of any Congress. I think we have the making of a memorable Closing Dinner. The U.S. Group wanted to have a proper sit down dinner where we could slow down and break bread with our international friends and colleagues. I will tell you this, when attending future Congresses, I will have a whole new perspective and appreciation for the massive amount of planning, thought and care that goes into such an event.