A few months have passed since my last message, and it’s daunting to see that many of the things that I hoped would happen with regards to COVID-19 did not transpire as expected. We were looking forward to meeting one another again at our EuroCHRIE Annual Conference and expected normal teaching to resume. Instead, the Annual Conference had to be postponed to September 2021 and all of us are back behind our screens at home, meeting and teaching online again. As I write this, the second wave of COVID-19 has hit us in the Netherlands and our broader region of EuroCHRIE membership and we are bracing for more strict measures once more as we enter the fall and winter season.
Although everyone is probably disappointed and looking forward to the next few months with much hesitation, I am pleased to report that our Board has been resilient, and after initial disappointment, is now looking towards the future and going ahead full steam in adapting to the changed conditions. Some things that have happened and will happen:
- A new ICHRIE Strategic Plan 2020-2025 has been approved by the Board. This new plan is based on several rounds of consultation with members, and has provided our mother organization ICHRIE with a lot of useful information that will result in a stronger focus, a big overhaul of activities and increased value for all CHRIE members. This plan will also provide us with input to make improvements on our services.
- At the same time, EuroCHRIE is moving forward and is moving activities online to provide members with ongoing value, throughout the year. We started up webinars before summer and have continued them since the academic year started. We will implement a full roster of webinars over the next few months as we see that the attendance of these webinars is rising steadily. We already have a number of speakers lined up for future webinars, but if you are interested in sharing your knowledge and insights in a webinar for fellow EuroCHRIE members (and beyond), please inform our Director of Education, Mats Carlbåck, of your interest. Furthermore, we are busy developing an online platform in connection to our website to enhance future hybrid and online events.
- We still believe that our Annual EuroCHRIE conference is and will be of great value to all our members. This yearly event is the meeting place for our EuroCHRIE family and every single host has made each conference a memorable event where we can meet, make friends, sample local culture and share our knowledge. Our friends in Aalborg did their utmost to make the conference happen this October and were obviously disappointed when they had to postpone the event. However, they are committed to make the 2021 conference as great an event as they planned this year. So, mark 26-30 September 2021 in your agenda, and join us!
- Because the Aalborg conference moved, this also has a consequence for future conferences. Our original 2021 conference in Apeldoorn has been moved forward to October 2022, and we are currently reviewing the bids for 2023. Also, the joint conference with APacCHRIE which will happen in Europe this time has been moved to 2024.
- With our next Annual conference postponed to September 2021, we will be hosting an extra-special online event sometime in March/April. It will be action packed, with social/networking events, workshops, and great speakers. It will also be hosted on our brand-new platform. So, watch our website and Facebook page as we will update you on this event and others!
- As you may see from the above, we are working hard to provide you with value, but we can only do so with your support. Membership renewals are due soon so please stick with us as we are trying to bring you new content and room for engagement during these difficult times for all of us!
- Next time we write our Past President, Chrystel, will be asking for nominations for EuroCHRIE board positions. We said that crisis brings opportunity, and this is an example, no travelling or accommodation costs just a computer and a bit of time required. More details will follow over the next few months but certainly think about getting involved!
So, do we not waste a good crisis? I certainly hope and believe this is the case for EuroCHRIE and I hope you will all stick with us as we adapt and create new opportunities to share, learn and meet with you. I’m very proud to be serving on this Board, and energized by all the initiatives and enthusiasm of our board members and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all the countless hours they invest.
We look forward to be meeting with you throughout this year!
Stay safe, stay healthy,