As a Groningen Declaration Network (GDN) Signatory, your engagement in the GDN includes participating in the annual conferences, attending webinars, and leading many related initiatives contributes to the effectiveness of the GDN. Thank you for your enthusiastic and enduring support. The pandemic has demonstrated that the digital exchange of student data is more necessary than ever, underscoring the importance of the GDN’s ongoing work internationally. As a global movement, we cannot do this well without your continued involvement. The Annual Meeting is where the world meets, where ideas are sparked, and international collaborations are nurtured. Today, I am writing to notify about the GDN Board of Directors recent decisions regarding the 2021 Annual Meeting.
A number of factors influenced our decisions. The GDN Board of Directors prioritized the wellness of our GDN community. Holding an international in-person conference before the distribution of an effective vaccine would be irresponsible. Current practical challenges such as travel restrictions, financial constraints, and other factors evident in this summer’s GDN annual meeting survey results also informed our thinking. Recent encouraging announcements, such as the release of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID19 vaccine, the world’s first, give us reason to believe that some restrictions will be lifted in the second half of 2021. We also hope for the equitable distribution of effective vaccines in 2021.
- The GDN 2021 Annual Meeting originally scheduled for May 2021 will be postponed;
- It has been re-scheduled to occur on October 13-15, 2021, in Canada;
- We are planning for an in-person conference, the GDN community’s preferred modality. The planning will be informed by pandemic-related restrictions (availability of vaccines and travel). Although not our preference, a virtual conference may still be necessary, even in the autumn of 2021. We will provide regular updates;
- This timing change will affect future GDN Annual Meetings, which will occur in the autumn each year from 2021 onward; and,
- The 2022 Annual Meeting, GDN’s 10th anniversary, will occur in Groningen, Netherlands in the autumn of 2022.
The success of the GDN Annual Meeting and the sustainability of the GDN will depend on your continued support. We look forward to seeing you at the 2021 Annual Meeting in October in Canada and to your ongoing and enthusiastic involvement in the GDN.
Please stay tuned for more details and for the call for proposals for the 2021 conference in the coming months.
President, GDN (2020-2021)
On behalf of the GDN Board of Directors