History And Board Guidelines On Regional Meetings

This is a position statement from the Board about ISPSO Regional Meetings. It describes the recent history of the Regional Meetings and give a number of guidelines that have been formulated to help promote this activity and to clarify a number of questions that have arisen. The guidelines are meant to help and have been based on the experiences so generously shared by those who have pioneered the Regional Meetings up till now.

History of Regional Meetings of ISPSO members

The idea of holding Regional Meetings has been around for a few years and actually some were held in 1995 and 1996 as discussion groups around a given article.
The idea was revived and expanded a few years later and the issue of holding Regional Meetings for ISPSO members was discussed on Members' Days in Paris 2001 and in Melbourne 2002. At that meeting we came to a number of general conclusions that could serve as a base to start organizing them.

  • Regional Meetings are meant to give ISPSO members more chances of meeting each other than once a year at the Annual Symposium.
  • Regional Meetings are meant to make membership of ISPSO more attractive.
  • The idea is not to replicate the Symposium, but to keep the Meetings informal and the design flexible.
  • The meetings would be limited to ISPSO members except for those regions which would like to attract more members.
  • There is no fixed format, Regional Meetings can be organized according to what is needed or wished for locally.

After the symposium Regional Meetings became a fact. ISPSO has seen the following meetings:

2002 1st Regional Meeting in New York for the east coast
2003 Europe: 1st European Regional Meeting in the Netherlands (March)
US: 2nd Regional Meeting in New York (October)
Australia: Exploratory meetings in Melbourne
2004 Europe: 2nd European Regional Meeting in the Netherlands (March)
US: 3rd Regional Meeting in New York (October)
Australia:1st Monthly Meetings in Melbourne, Australia
2005 Europe: 3rd European Regional Meeting in the Netherlands (March)
US: 4th Regional Meeting in New York (October)
Australia: Monthly Meetings in Melbourne
2006 Europe: 4th Regional Meeting in Oxford, UK (April)
US: 5th Regional Meeting in New York (October)
Australia: Monthly Meetings in Melbourne
2007 Europe: 5th Regional Meeting in London, UK (March)
US: 6th Regional Meeting in New York: ‘The Cyber System
in the Mind’ (October)
Australia: Monthly Meetings in Melbourne
1st Regional Symposia in Melbourne: ‘Primitive Impulses in Social and Corporate Life’ (November)
2008 Europe: 6th Regional Meeting in London, UK: Diversity in consulting to Organizations (March)
US: 7th Regional Meeting in New York: ‘Discovering and Creating Reflective Space in a ‘24/7’ World’ (October)
Australia: Monthly Meetings in Melbourne
2nd Regional Symposia: 'Ethical Challenges at Work: Individual, Social & Corporate Responsibility' (November)

The pioneers of these meetings were Bonnie Haber in New York, Lilian Hupkens in the Netherlands, Hannah Piterman in Melbourne and Frans Cilliers in South Africa. Robert Dato in Philadelphia invited members to his Philadelphia Forum which was another version of a regional activity. Terry Martin and Stephanie Segal took over the coordination of European regional meetings in 2006 and 2007, Angela Eden in 2008. All of them have been in close contact with the Board and have passed on their experiences and what they have learnt from organizing their activities in order to share that knowledge and to be able to help others wishing to organize Regional Meetings in their part of the world.

In December 2003 the Board held its meeting in Coesfeld, Germany and formulated a number of guidelines for Regional Meetings. This can be seen as making policy as we go along, encouraging new initiatives and formulating policy based on actual experience as opposed to making policy beforehand based on a theoretical view of what could happen.

Guidelines for Regional Meetings of ISPSO members

  1. The Board would like to discourage bureaucracy, and therefore Regional Meetings must not be seen as formal "departments" or be set up as “chapters" of ISPSO.
  2. The nature of regional meetings is an informal one and can be seen as being networks, allowing members to meet, to get or know one another better as colleagues, to talk, to form partnerships for cooperation etcetera.
  3. We would like the activity to be always named as Regional Meeting for ISPSO Members.
  4. When a Regional Meeting is organized somewhere all ISPSO members in that region are welcome and will be invited.
  5. Regional meetings must be self sufficient and self managed. This means that the organizers cannot make use of ISPSO administration as a resource. Organizers are encouraged to use the Directory on the website and the email addresses of members as given in the Directory as well as the list of members per country which can be found on the website.
  6. There is a seed fund for those needing some money to get started, but the activities should be self sufficient and budgeted to break even.
  7. Those planning to organize one are requested to inform the Board member who has been appointed by the Board to support the Regional Meetings, at this moment Nicola Wreford-Howard.
  8. Ask Bonnie Haber (US), Terry Martin, Stephanie Segal (UK), Lilian Hupkens (NL), Hannah Piterman (AUS) or Nicola Wreford-Howard (board liaison) for help and guidance, because a wealth of experience has been collected due to the good contacts with those who have already organized regional meetings and the learnings have been shared.
  9. It would be appreciated if after a Regional Meeting a short report about the meeting is sent through the list serve / News section to inform all the members of ISPSO that such a meeting has been held. A more personal report can be sent to the Board liaison for Regional Meetings about e.g. how it went, what was learnt and what the experience was like.
  10. It would be appreciated if Regional Meeting committee members (and others interested in organizing regional meetings) made time to meet at the annual Meeting to exchange experiences made and collectively think about the status quo of ISPSO in the respective regions.

For those members who are intending to organize a Regional Meeting some more practical information is available and a further set of helpful hints. Please contact Nicola Wreford-Howard for that.

The Board plans to make a separate space on the ISPSO website for Regional Meetings with names and contacts for those already organizing them. In the News part of the website the invitations will be posted so everyone can be kept up to date.

We hope that Regional Meetings can be of help to strengthen the ties between members and can help ISPSO be a viable, fruitful and creative atmosphere for colleagues in our fields of work.