Autumn blog

Time to write what is likely to be my last blog as Vice President, but don’t worry I plan to continue blogging as President. I say time because that has been rather limited recently, as I have just returned from three weeks in Australia following attending the ICASM in Melbourne, followed very shortly after by a weekend in Dublin attending the last meeting of the current Executive Committee.

The conference was excellent, well organised with good scientific sessions and matched by truly memorable social events. The dinners in the Australian Club and at the Melbourne cricket ground were true ‘fine dining’ and being mistaken for James Bond at the former was the ‘icing on the cake’. Is this not every man’s fantasy?

So, shaken and well stirred, Jenny (less impressed by my transient alter-ego) and I toured around this vast country. Scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef and a lunch cruise in Sydney Harbour were the highlights.

But! Back to work. The EC meeting in Dublin, hosted by Declan Maher, was the usual mixture of work and fun. Thank you Declan! The arrangements for ECAM 2012 were finalised. We scrutinised the on-line voting process for the new EC, which is open as I write this, with 29 member organisations eligible to vote. I am pleased that, whatever the outcome of the election, we will have a strong EC for the coming two years.
Subscription levels for 2013 were the subject of heated debate. We are aware that many countries in Europe are facing tough times at the moment, but ESAM also needs continuing revenues to further its work. It was agreed that the subscription will remain at 10euros, but with a bigger discount for prompt payment, of 25%, so 7.5 euros. We also considered the hand over to the new EC. It was agreed that the first meeting of 2013 will include ex-members, and will be split into one day of usual business, and one day to consider the strategy for the next two years. We are pleased that Lilla Ungvary agreed to accept the role of chair of the nominations committee, so her involvement with ESAM will continue. My ‘cunning plan’ is to co-opt Roland Vermeiren as our EASA liaison, and Elena Cataman as ‘Eastern’ liaison. Both are willing to accept the roles, and I hope this will be the first decision of the new EC.
The election result will be announced at the General Assembly at lunchtime on Sunday 11th November during the ECAM. Any member of our constituent organisations can attend the General Assembly free of charge. You do not have to be a conference delegate. Lunch will be provided.
I am singing with Daventry Choral Society in Bruges and Ghent on 26th and 27th of October, but after my return home I think it will be ‘all systems go’ in the final arrangements for ECAM2012. Places are still available, but the conference rate rooms will end on 26th October….so book now! I look forward to meeting you all at the meeting.

And finally. Our dear friend and Secretary General Paulo Tosco was not able to join us in Dublin because of illness. He remains in hospital in Rome. I hope you will all join me in sending our best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery.
Kevin Herbert