I hope that this edition finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy, wherever you are in the world. There is really only one place to start the President’s message in this edition – and that is with COVID: the most serious pandemic to affect the human race in 100 years.
It is ironic that our last conference common theme – in Toronto – was labelled “confronting the chaos for a sustainable future”. By contrast, that moment feels positively benign compared to what is going on at the present time. We have seen significant disruption to global trade as the virus has moved from China more widely into Asia and then across Europe and through the American continent.
Like so many other organisations, there has been an impact on IUMI’s normal operating rhythm. Sadly, we have had to cancel events such as the Spring Conference in Hamburg and the Asia Forum in Kuala Lumpur. All of the other travel that had been planned for the Secretariat and for myself has similarly been postponed. Yet the core functions of IUMI have continued to operate smoothly. The Secretariat have shifted seamlessly to working from home and have maintained the day-to-day working of the organisation. My heartfelt thanks go to Lars, Hendrike and Corinna for managing the disruption so effectively.
The biggest change of all concerns our annual conference. To quote the old proverb “necessity is the mother of invention”. And so, for the first time in our history, IUMI’s annual event will be going online. While it will be sad not to be able to travel to Stockholm, the Swedish team are working closely with the IUMI Secretariat to plan the digital event and hopefully retain a little of that Swedish flavour too. In another ‘first’ for IUMI, we are opening up this year’s event to registrations from non-IUMI members – a step that is enabled by the movement of the conference online. What will not change is the rich access to high quality technical workshops, that are the hallmark of IUMI’s history.