At a time when the situation continues to evolve rapidly with the global spread of the Coronavirus, we would like to assure you that IIAS remains operational and in full support of our partners who are in charge of some of our major deliveries, including the 2020 summer conferences. Whilst it seems we have not reached the peak of the pandemic in Belgium, elsewhere in Europe and westward, we rejoice at the improving situation in countries like China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and others. These are early signs that the way to recovery is ahead and that “indeed with hardship comes ease.” In the meantime, we have been intensely rethinking our modus operandi and are contemplating the following:
Summer Conferences. While the summer conferences (IIAS, IASIA, EGPA) are still scheduled as planned and being actively prepared, a final and separate decision on each will be made well ahead of their scheduled time so as not to commit our participants to logistical costs that could be wasted. Although we are providing on our conference sites the services of an online travel agency that will reimburse 70% of the cost of canceled flights against a small insurance amount, we still recommend that you do not make any arrangements until April 15th for IIAS2020. March 15th, 2021 for IASIA2021, and June 15th for EGPA2020. In the meantime, we are working closely with our local organizing partners in South Africa and Hungary (we are organizing ourselves in Belgium) to assess the situation and make the right call at the right time. It will be done primarily with your health and safety in mind. Our websites are being redesigned to reflect the coronavirus situation in the three countries concerned and provide you with ample resources for tracking the situation.
Our Business Model. The current global crisis of COVID-19 made us aware that we have to operate differently and offer services that are both useful to our members and resilient to conditions like the current ones, characterized by the difficulty to travel and attend events in person. We are actively working to offer more virtual services and resources to our members including on-line conferences, access to a large set of open access research and policy studies, greater publication opportunities to those who share their knowledge on our platforms, remote capacity development initiatives through the IIAS Academy, and standard partnership solutions premised on the full autonomy of local partners who will have access to our IT systems and visual identity for staging their events. Some of these have already been planned as part of the Open Access strategy that we presented at the Governance week last February. Other initiatives will be developed as part of the new ERP system that will reconfigure IIAS operations and its external communication and partnership; an offshoot of the new business model of IIAS. Our objective is bringing to bear expertise across all our networks to help members, participants to our events and partners face global as well as local challenges like the current Coronavirus pandemic. We have already developed a Corona track in our IIAS conference, and we will do likewise for the other two major conferences of IASIA and EGPA. Moreover, we are working on a project to share on-line successful practices of public administration across countries during the COVID-19 crisis. We are hoping to have the first deliverables of the project sometime this summer.
Today and Going Forward. IIAS remains fully committed to its global mission of setting the governance agenda worldwide and to enhancing member benefits especially during trying times like the current ones. We also recognize that every disruption to the norm comes with hardship for someone; a disruption the size of the COVID-19 outbreak amplifies those hardships beyond measure. At IIAS, we are engaged closely with our members to muddle through the Coronavirus crisis and prepare ourselves for the post-Corona world that lies ahead.
We will continue to provide periodic updates about IIAS adjustment to COVID-19. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any thoughts or questions in the meantime. Please reach out to Ms. Lucia Martinez, Manager of Marketing & Events, firstname.lastname@example.org for further inquiries.
Best wishes to you and your family during these challenging times and, especially, Keep safe!