Oh gee, can we get together again
I wanna know, when can we get together
Some day, some way….
I’m praying the day will call when we get together again….— Natalie Cole “Can We Get Together Again”
The gray skies are gone….— Buck Owens “Together Again”
Okay, I know these two songs are not topping the charts right now, but I find myself humming these goldie-oldie tunes as I watch news updates with a growing excitement about reopening plans across the country. What seemed nearly impossible at this time last year is seeming like a possibility. We hear optimism from our members and trainers that they are beginning to safely gather again. They are cautiously planning hybrid events that combine face to face meetings, while continuing to host virtual meetings and on-line forums.
As practitioners, in our communities, provinces, and across the nation the context of our work has shifted significantly over the past year. Canadians are in a reflective mood as they consider the historic and ongoing impacts for Indigenous Peoples following the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation while learning about the strength and resilience of Indigenous Peoples and communities.
Canadians are also increasingly concerned about climate change. The COP26 Global Climate Change conference in early November will likely raise the issue of climate change and differing perspectives about potential solutions. Once again public engagement practitioners will be on the front lines ensuring all voices are heard and supporting Canadians to be meaningfully engaged in decisions that affect them.
IAP2 Canada has built a strong foundation over the past 10 years. As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we are grateful for the contributions of former and current staff, members and volunteers that have contributed to the growth and relevance of the organization.
We are part of a global association, with IAP2 International being formed in 1990 in response to the rising global interest in public participation. Together practitioners around the world agreed to promote the values and best practices associated with involving the public in government and industry decisions. One of the first concrete suggestions was to have IAP2 (formerly IAP3 – the third P standing for Practitioners) members gather at a mountain retreat and share their stories – and war wounds. How fitting then that over the past 30 years we have had at least three mountain town-based conferences. And next Fall we are moving back into the mountains as the 2022 IAP2 North American Conference is in Banff, Alberta from September 14 – 16. The conference theme, Connecting with Purpose is relevant to the challenges we face today as we focus our impact and align our actions.
Oh, to be together again! ♫♪♫♪♫
Terry Koch is the Secretary on the IAP2 Canada Board. He has been an IAP2 member since 1993 and served on many Boards and committees including President of the Wild Rose (Alberta) Chapter, the IAP2 International Board (Treasurer) and several conference planning committees including as the Fun Committee Chair of the recent 2020 North American Conference.
Terry and his wife Adele reside in Nanaimo BC where Terry continues to practice in Alberta and BC as Terrydele Consulting Services, a sole proprietorship. He also enjoys volunteering with local community groups as a facilitator and mentor to others, but only after their 80 lb. Bernadoodle Sam has had his daily exercise.