The 38th AIIC General Assembly took place in Geneva, from January 13 to 16. Besides, Sectors, Committees, and Groups held virtual, hybrid, or on-site meetings. So, here below I will try to describe the main decisions adopted, and some of the lessons learned.
- The last triennium of 2021 was challenging for the AIIC Secretariat, including organizing the first hybrid AIIC Assembly! They have done a wonderful job. Our most sincere congratulations to Mr. Battiaz and his team.
- This hybrid meeting was the first AIIC Assembly held in this way, therefore agendas and schedules could change as at an in-person meeting. Lessons learned: every possible effort should be made not to alter the agenda in hybrid meetings. Participants across different time zones find it very difficult to follow.
- This was also the first AIIC Assembly chaired by an Independent Assembly Bureau. The three members of the IAB (Aitor Arauz Chapman, Serigne Diagne, and Claus Ritter) did an outstanding job guiding our way very ably for 4 days! Before going to a coffee break, Serigne Diagne, quoting Robin Cook, said: "This is the first time I am addressing this house from this high table, and I forget how relaxed I was when I was sitting down there!"
- New members to committees were elected (Disciplinary Committee, PRIMS, Budget Committee)
- Resolutions and amendments to the Basic Texts proposed in time to make the publication were voted on.
- A very special chapter was devoted to the adoption of ISO 23155:2022 "Interpreting services — Conference interpreting — Requirements and recommendations". The ISO Group Coordinator, Victoria Massa Bulit, explained the breakthrough achievement and the hard work carried out until now. A special tribute went to the Project Leader Haris Ghinos, and I am humbled to say, to me as Convener of TC37/SC5/WG2.
- The AIIC Code of Ethics was restructured in the tradition of other influential professions, and clearly distinguished it from professional practice. Thanks to Christiane Driesen for her thorough and conscientious work to make this happen.
- We were reminded that it was 10 years (during the General Assembly held in Buenos Aires) that sign language interpreters were brought into the fold of the Association. Today there are 12 active members, and 25 pre-candidates, comprising 16 Sign Languages. Maya de WIT gave her report in #SLI with spoken #1nt, what a great symbol! You have come a long way! Congrats!!!
- The Declaration on Auditory Health was approved
- The Declaration against Online Bullying and Defamation was approved. A big hand to @AIICUSA for submitting the draft. Here are some excerpts:
"In today’s world of social media, it is easy for others to criticize professionals in all fields without knowing what they actually do. Moreover, trolls do not function with the truth in mind but rather cater to their own and their group’s objectives. We have seen many examples of this in recent years. It has become the contemporary version of “shooting the messenger."
As a professional organization that upholds confidentiality, collegiality, and solidarity, we regret that such things have become commonplace and touch conference interpreters across the map, especially when they have worked at high-profile events.
We encourage conference interpreters to use discretion and good judgment in their online presence and activity in a manner that avoids amplifying campaigns targeting conference interpreters and supports the fight against such abuses.
We in AIIC stand in solidarity with all who face such abuse and encourage others, especially institutions who hire conference interpreters or otherwise work with them, to denounce said abuses, and do their utmost to counter their effects."
- Other resolutions adopted: The Resolution on distance interpreting (DI). The Resolution on Conduct towards clients. Resolution on Conflict of Interest.
- Status of Honorary President was bestowed on Malick Sy and Honorary Memberships on Manuel Sant’IagoRibeiro and Linda Ballantyne. Special mention was made to Veniamin Daskalakis for his outstanding contribution to the IT transition.
- The Assembly brought many changes to AIIC, including a new, and truly global, Executive Committee. Jenny Fearnside (AIIC Italia) will be staying on for another term, this time as President, along with vice presidents Francisco 'Paco' Garcia Hurtado (USA) and Haris Ghinos (Greece &Cyprus). They will be joined by three new VPs, Sylvia Amisi (Africa), Martin Barrère (SouthAmerica), Damien Fan (Asia Pacific), and Treasurer Lila Guha (Spain).
Another General Assembly has reached its end. I believe that the key to any transformation of the Association is not contained in the text of resolutions, but in the cooperation based on the ability of its members to listen and to seek compromise. Among other things, I have always called for greater synergy between the Main Committees and Groups, as well as for an agenda that is better aligned with current items.
The last four years have perhaps been the most difficult ones in the history of AIIC. However, working together and in a spirit of collaboration that was unprecedented we managed not only to steer the association through this storm but also to make history in many fronts. The future can only be better and I do believe we are on the right path.