From Your President
While the countries of the world seek to minimize the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), ICHRIE’s primary concern is the health and safety of our members within the higher education community. My thoughts are with each of you as you grapple with the challenges to your personal and professional lives. Two weeks ago, as of this writing, our Asia Pacific and European federations were at the center of the coronavirus outbreak. Now, members in the U.S. are experiencing the impact of the virus. Now is the time that we remind ourselves of ICHRIE’s Values: ICHRIE is an International Community of Hospitable, Responsible, Innovative, and Ethical members engaged in advancing hospitality and tourism education and research. It has been reassuring that members of the ICHRIE community have “stepped up” to stay connected during these unprecedented times.
I would like to recognize Alleah Crawford for her efforts to bring us together as a community by spearheading the webinars that were held the last week of March. Jean Hertzman, Joy Dickerson, Ruth O’Rourke, and Amie Grayson all played an important part in the rollout of these sessions. I am hoping that we are able to continue the momentum with additional webinars. As of this writing, Ralf Burbach, ICHRIE’s Director of Networking, is working to have Zoom events for the special interest groups who would like to hold one.
Given the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in, many are asking about the status of the Annual Conference in Phoenix. This is the first item for a Board of Directors meeting being held virtually on April 2nd. In fact, this will be the third meeting the ICHRIE Board of Directors that has been held since March 5th; we will continue to hold these meetings every two weeks for the foreseeable future. We are assembling as much information as we can and evaluating alternatives should we not be able to meet in July. ICHRIE senior leaders are corresponding daily regarding the conference as we monitor the situation in Arizona closely. We have all learned in the last two weeks that the situation is fluid and ever changing. I ask for your patience and support as the board engages in the essential dialogue and assessments needed to make prudent and financially responsible decisions that will ensure the long-term viability of ICHRIE and enable it to continue to support the membership. Until we have a better understanding about the future impact of this pandemic, we urge all members not to book any travel plans related to ICHRIE events. Please rest assured that we will communicate any changes to ICHRIE conferences as soon as possible.
As always, THANK YOU for being a member of ICHRIE. Please take care of yourself and your family.