Kirit Wadhia, Chair of the Membership and PR Committee, SETAC Europe Council

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Delegates of the SETAC Europe 28th Annual Meeting in Rome last year no doubt will recall embarking on this journey; whether inferred metaphorically or literally.

Attendees’ motivations and drivers are subjective and personal. Many have embarked on this journey over the years, and their continued presence is certainly indicative of merit in their decision-making.

Most emphatically, the gathering is evident of a hive of activity. The resonance of many voices mingling and jovial interactions always fills the air. An ambience of vibrant conviviality ensues in the commodious venues. Regular attendees indubitably will appreciate and recognize the sheer magnitude of the effort of organization involved to put on such a meeting.

When an annual meeting ends, there is hardly any time for the the dust to settle before the staff from the SETAC Europe office embarks on turning the cogs for the next event. The SETAC Europe office, in conjunction with the SETAC Europe Council, continuously implement activities to deliberate, develop and deliver SETAC’s progressive programs and meetings.

SETAC members at work during a meeting at SETAC Rome

SETAC members at work during a meeting at SETAC Rome in May 2018.

It is certainly the case that during the current conference, there will be a plethora of behind-the-scenes meetings taking place regarding planning and preparation for next year’s conference. Indubitably, there are always various SETAC Europe committee meetings that have been prearranged and are implemented with face-to-face interactions. SETAC Europe has 12 committees constituted by SETAC Europe Council members and SETAC members-at-large. An important intrinsic aspect of the committees is the representation from student members.

During sessional breaks, the cacophony of chattering voices is all too apparent. This symphony of many voices should not be mistaken for disharmonious chatter, as it is an orchestrated combination of many blends of different harmonious discussions. Of course, not all pertain to formal activities, but they also focus on things like the venue city, outside attractions, people, cuisine and various other considerations, which all provide the stimuli for dynamic exchanges.

On reflection, looking back at the last meeting in Rome, it was all too apparent that there was a myriad dialogues and interactions that were being conducted at any point in time and many times simultaneaously. What was most interesting and exemplified the multifarious, behind the scene activities, were the observations of serious discussions in seminar rooms, the rhythm of many laptop keys softly clattering in lofty corridors capturing thoughts and notes about discussions with colleagues or a recently viewed talk or poster, and all the open spaces occupied by delegates sharing precious moments whether basking in the steps of La Nuvola or mingling in designated discussion areas. Undoubtedly, the constant ebb and flow of delegates from and too various focal points, that at first glance may have seemed chaotic, actually created a crescendo of what resembled a flow of orchestrated movements.

Whether it is Rome, Helsinki or Dublin, the SETAC Europe annual meeting will rise to the occasion and welcome SETAC members and all delegates by providing a world-class scientific meeting and ample opportunities to network and engage socially with old and new colleagues.

SETAC members indeed are the key protagonists, and their attendance, involvement and perspective is valued and fuels the SETAC momentum so apparent at these annual meetings. We hope everybody can join us at the SETAC Europe 29th Annul Meeting from 26–30 May 2019 in Helsinki, Finland.

Author’s contact information: Kirit.Wadhia@nov.com

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