Dear WHA members and annual meeting participants,
I hope this message finds you well and adapting to the circumstances of your local stay-at-home requirements, finding a silver lining or two in the dark clouds of a global pandemic. I write with personal sadness to convey a message I’m sure most of you have been expecting for the last week or two: our 2020 annual meeting, scheduled for 25-27 June in Salt Lake City, is cancelled. Although the WHA staff and officers are very, very disappointed not to see all of you in person this June, we prioritize your health and safety above all other considerations.
The epidemiological writing has been on the wall since mid-March. The WHA leadership delayed making a formal announcement while we negotiated with Marriott and the University of Utah about our exit options. We value the health of our members and the wider community, and also exercised fiduciary responsibility for the organization, making sure we could bow out of our contracts for June without incurring significant cancellation penalties. We appreciate Marriott’s good-faith partnership in this extraordinary circumstance.
The officers, staff, and I appreciate your demonstration of patience as we navigated a fast-changing disease and economic landscape. Like mariners of earlier eras, we are all piloting through uncharted waters, making decisions as best we can while acknowledging the large element of uncertainty that characterizes this period of the world’s history.
I would like to acknowledge the hard work of this year’s program committee: Tammy Proctor, Maryanne Rhett, and Merry Wiesner-Hanks. From your organized sessions and individual paper submissions, they put together a fantastic two days of intellectually-stimulating panels, roundtables, and workshops. You can consult the full program that-would-have-been on our website. Although the conference won’t take place, if your paper was accepted for the program you may list that acknowledgement of your academic work on your CV. We’ve published the program as a record of that work.
For those of you who already registered for Utah 2020, you have three financial options:
- You can convert your registration fee into a donation to the WHA; we will gratefully acknowledge your generous gift to the organization in a year when we have lost our main source of revenue: the annual meeting.
- You can leave your registration fee with the WHA and apply it toward your registration fee in 2021.
- You can request a refund of your registration fee(s), in full or in part; if you registered for tours or events and would like some but not all of your money back, we will cheerfully refund whatever you ask for.
Please request a registration refund or rollover to 2021 before April 30 by emailing Executive Director Kerry Vieira: email@example.com.
In the absence of an annual meeting this year, the WHA continues to foster conversation and exchanges among world historians.
- We launched a blog in March: Pandem-mondus provides a platform for teachers and researchers to connect with each other, read about new resources for remote instruction and investigation, and stay plugged in to world history conversations.
- Members will receive our Newsletter later this month.
- You’ll receive the next iteration of the World History Bulletin in May: a special issue, Teach in a Time of Corona(virus). There is still time to submit a contribution before the April 30 deadline.
- We also have plans in the works for virtual workshops this summer. Look for details to come soon.
- Finally, we eagerly anticipate renewing in-person connections at our next annual meeting in June 2021 in Bilbao, co-hosted by the University of the Basque Country.
In the meantime, if you have logistical, financial, or membership questions, please don’t hesitate to ask Kerry: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any other questions, concerns, or suggestions for the WHA, please write to me: email@example.com.
Sala kahle, (“stay well,” the usual Zulu farewell, which seems especially apt right now)
Laura MitchellWHA President
This letter was emailed to members and non-members on the 2020 annual meeting program.