[tdwg] URGENT Update on TDWG 2014 meeting

Cynthia Parr parrc at si.edu
Wed Jun 4 22:55:19 CEST 2014

Dear TDWG friends,

As you may know, due to acts of violence against foreigners in Kenya a
number of governments have issued travel advisories to their citizens. The
TDWG Executive Committee has been very aware of general concerns about
security. This has made planning for a 2014 TDWG conference in Nairobi
especially challenging.

Hank Bart (program chair) recently visited Nairobi and he and Lucy Waruingi
(chair of local organizing committee) report that life is going on much as
usual. They have arranged for a venue with exceptional security and Lucy
has obtained a letter of re-assurance from the Kenyan government. There are
reasonable cost estimates should we have 200 attendees (there were ~300 in
Florence). Many TDWG members may feel comfortable attending the conference;
this isn't the first time many of us have travelled under similar

However, some governments are restricting travel and funding may be pulled
for travel supplements or workshops. We are uncertain how many people this
affects and how many would choose not to attend even if their travel were
not officially restricted. A meeting that is too small and missing key
people will not achieve our goals for African outreach or advancing
standards. Finally, there is a real risk that a last minute incident might
require complete cancellation.

At the request of the Executive Committee, Paul Flemons has confirmed a
solid alternate host in Europe this year should we decide to delay the
Kenya meeting until next year. This Europe meeting would need to be one
week earlier, however. Funding for pre-workshop training in Kenya will
still be available for next year. I am confident that Lucy's team can host
an excellent meeting either this year or next year.

Please let us know your thoughts by completing a very brief survey at
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L9YRKXQ by *Friday midnight*. We expect to
announce a decision early next week. Thanks very much for your patience.

Cyndy Parr
TDWG Chair
on behalf of the Executive Committee

Cynthia Sims Parr, Chief Scientist
Encyclopedia of Life http://eol.org
Office: 202.633.9513, Fax: 202.633.8742
Room W118
Skype: cyndy.parr

Mailing address:
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012, MRC 106
Washington, DC 20013-7012
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