Alliance is preceded each year by the 2 day PAG/TAG Summit. The annual face-to-face meeting of the advisory group members to reflect on progress made over the year and set SMART goals for the next year. The EMEA members have growing representation in the PAGs with 10 representatives from the institutions in the UK, 3 from the Netherlands and 1 from South Africa. This is a through a combination of ‘international rep’ appointments and elected 3 year positions. In order to ensure the PAGs are able to take a truly global perspective on issues and strategic direction it is critical that members from across the region participate in the forums and where possible contribute to the PAGs. I’m keen to see a greater EMEA contribution if possible so will be sharing ideas on how you can get involved in future blogs.
2012 was a great year for the global community at Alliance. The opening event at the conference started with a short video compilation of interviews with the International Board members. These individual interviews were completely unscripted – we were just asked about what Alliance meant to us and our regional communities – whilst we were all nervous to see ourselves up on that 40ft screen, we’ve all received many compliments about the delivery and clarity of message. There's a rumour that the video will be appearing on HEUG online soon for those of you who missed our screen debuts.
The global theme continued throughout the conference with a range of international meetings and events. Of particular interest was a meeting of the HEUG Board with delegates from Brazil. They were very interested in the role that the HEUG can play in supporting them in their various projects, and also interested in the increasingly close-knit community within the EMEA region. I was able to explain to them how our small group of users are benefitting from being able to network with and support each other, sharing best practice. The value of this type of cooperation and collaboration within a region was certainly recognised.
There were then a series of meetings to discuss and prepare for the HEUG EMEA Conference in October. We spent time with the Regional Conference Committee, learning from past and present conference organisers how to make our first EMEA conference really great. We also had a very productive meeting with some of our EMEA vendors – talking about the conference and also about the challenges we face in regions where there a critical mass of both institutions and vendors is still building. An action plan has emerged from this which should help us to better leverage the expertise within the region and also tap into expertise from around the globe.
Monday evening saw us at the International Reception which continues to be the highlight of many delegates’ agendas during Alliance. This year saw record numbers attend from a record number of countries. The evening is always busy but fun as we meet and network with delegates from across EMEA and the world. This year it was noticeable that the delegates were not staying with their fellow country(wo)men but were making the most of the opportunity to talk and exchange ideas with colleagues from all 4 corners of the world. Great to see!
So Alliance 2012 was a great conference, enjoyed and valued by all who attended. But we do realise that not everyone who wants to attend from our region can do. That’s why we are organising the HEUG EMEA conference. Bringing all lots of the benefits of Alliance but to a venue closer to you. 16/17 October 2012, Dexter House (right by Tower Bridge) London. The location has great transport links from all the airports, major rail stations and Eurotunnel and there is a range of accommodation options within walking distance to suit all budgets. Don’t miss it - save the date now! More details to follow soon…