After the FIDI Board analysed the international COVID-19 situation – and saw what a hard time travellers were having the world over – it decided, with a heavy heart, to postpone the 2020 edition of our conference, which we were due to hold in Osaka, Japan, in April.
This broke my heart: as many of you know (because I rave about them to anyone who will listen), I love conferences, and especially the FIDI Conference; I’ve been attending them almost my entire adult life.
I have thought about all those serendipitous meetings that come out of the conference experience, and how postponing the conference might mean we have to wait a full year for more of them. One, in particular, keeps running through my head. At a conference, years ago, I was at the gym early in the morning, getting in a workout before starting the day’s meetings. I spotted another FIDI member on one of the treadmills and we struck up a conversation. I had worked with this person for years, but never knew that she was also a runner. We’ve been friends for years now, and the bond would never have branched out into those other aspects of life if it hadn’t been for that chance meeting in the gym.
postponing Osaka was a difficult decision – but within minutes of us announcing
it, supportive responses started to flow in, and my spirits were buoyed. In
fact, we received more than 100 responses – all of them positive. What a great
group of people we have within FIDI; they are a gift to us all. As we go to
press, the Olympics Games set to be held in Tokyo this summer have also been
delayed to next year. I suppose that if
the coronavirus can affect one of the most
famous events in human history – one that has been going on for 2,000 years – at least we’re in good company.
Once the decision was made, there were many details to take care of, such as notifying the hotel, running it by the lawyers to make sure contractual details were covered, and so on. For their tireless work in that department, I would like to thank Jesse, Carolina and Magali at FIDI head office – we couldn’t have done it without them. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all your hard work at such short notice – and thanks, too, to the Board for rising to the occasion during this difficult time.
We naturally gravitated towards postponing Osaka, not cancelling it. I was really happy about this, because Japan is right for us in so many ways. For a long time, FIDI has been a global organisation, and we should hold our conferences in new locations. Japan is known the world over for its commitment to quality, and we are, too. Of course, Japan is also the source of the theme of the conference, ikigai – or ‘reason for being’. The reasons we want to meet in Osaka are many.
In this issue, we look at the popular destinations of São Paolo and Australia. I think it’s great that, even when the world around us seems to be grinding to a halt, we basically get to travel around the globe even when we’re sitting at our desks. How many jobs allow you to skip around two continents before you’ve even had lunch?