There are now just three weeks until the 131st Audio Engineering Society Convention in New York, and we are preparing for another successful event. In addition to this annual international gathering, AES members all over the world convene locally in order to continue their pursuit of audio engineering knowledge and social interaction.
In this installment, we will put a spotlight on the group responsible for the coordination of the activities of AES members worldwide. I have invited Francis Rumsey, chair of the Regions and Sections Committee, to explain.
"The AES has some 14,000 members, organized into over 170 professional and student sections spread around the world. These sections are run by dedicated volunteers who plan a program of technical, educational and social events for their members throughout the year”, says Rumsey. “The local sections are an important focal point for many members who live in an area where there is strong activity, and for some of these, the main reason they belong to the Society is because of the local section's activities. The sections provide a regular meeting point for audio engineers to share their experience, keep up to date, and enjoy each other's company."
"Overseeing the activities of the sections, and acting as a point of contact with the Society from an official point of view, are the regional vice presidents – also volunteers who give substantial amounts of time, energy and expertise to the AES. We have three VPs covering North America and Canada, three in Europe, one in Latin America and one for the 'International' region (which includes Asia, the Far East, Australia and other countries not included elsewhere). The vice presidents help to start up new sections and work with existing sections to resolve problems or support their plans. Their job is to ensure that there is strong and healthy activity in their regions, to encourage the growth of membership and local networks."
"The Regions and Sections committee coordinates the work of the vice presidents in achieving their aims around the world. It receives requests from sections for financial support and it works with the Board of Governors to approve proposals to start new sections. In the last few years, we have had some 10-15 proposals per year, many of them from schools, colleges and universities that train sound engineers, wanting to start a chapter in their school. The student sections are brimming with enthusiasm and put many of the professional sections to shame in terms of their event organizing, fund-raising and social activities! For example, there've been some outstanding student summits in recent years, including one in central Europe and one in central USA, attracting hundreds of students and their profs to mingle with their peers and hear from great guest speakers such as Phil Ramone, Elliot Scheiner and Bob Katz. We've also seen substantial growth in both professional and student activity in Latin America in recent years."
"Conventions are a good opportunity to get many of the section officers together in one place. Rarely do they meet one another otherwise, and the two-hour Regions and Sections Forum held during the convention is a motivational event during which the vice presidents and section officers report on what's going on in their parts of the world. Everyone learns from each other, discovering new ways of running their section, raising income or supporting their members. There's nothing like meeting face-to-face to get relationships going."
The Regions and Sections Forum will be held on Saturday October 22 from 10AM – 12PM. Be sure not to miss this great networking opportunity!