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Update President on current matters

Dear All,
I am thrilled to be able to report that I have just heard from Professor de la Hunt, the legal adviser to the Minister of the Interior in South Africa, giving official support for the holding of the 8th World Conference in Cape Town.  There is much detail yet to be worked out, but she has indicated that the Conference should take place in February next year.
I have asked her to identify the precise dates which will be governed by the availability of President Mbeki whom I hope will be able to open the Conference for us.  The next immediate steps will be to form an international organising committee and a local organising committee.
I am presently in Toronto attending a Refugee Law Workshop and will return to London next week.  Not long afterwards I will be meeting with Sebastiaan in Haarlem and then going to the Refugee Law Conference in Prato, Italy.  In each of these places there are people with whom I will discuss the makeup of the international organising committee.
Here in Toronto I had a very productive meeting with the Chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board together with Lois, our Vice President and Paulah, on the phone line from Vancouver.  Brian Goodman, the Chair of the IRB has committed his support to the holding of the Conference. 
Further, I was able to meet with Rick Jackson, the newly appointed Development Director for the Americas.  He is a most impressive person with a CV which holds great promise for his capacity to represent the interests of the Association and raise funding for an ongoing position.
At the same time, UNHCR has asked us to find a consultant for a mission in the Ivory Coast, details of which should now have been circulated. 
Finally, UNHCR has also approached the Association seeking views of any members interested on a draft policy concerning gender claims.
So, as you can see, there is plenty happening, but I am particularly delighted at the news about South Africa.  The timing is perfect because I will visit South Africa on my way back to Australia in early June and hopefully put in place some of the basic arrangements for the holding of the Conference.
As I am presently "on the road" it is a little difficult to organise consultation about the formation of the Conference committees.  However, please be assured that the matter will be discussed widely within the Association, and I will raise with Sebastiaan the best process by which this might occur.
In the meantime, you might all like to give some thought to who would be the most appropriate members of the Conference committees, and also as to the title for the Conference and some major themes.
With my best regards,
Tony North,
President IARLJ 
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