Hosting an Annual Conference
In cases where the host is a single service organization (e.g. military), the host should ensure that its internal committee includes military, police and civilian representatives (where appropriate) to ensure that all elements of the host nation's peacekeeping contribution (or potential contribution) are able to participate in the planning of the conference. This is an important element in ensuring that the conference includes the perspectives of all peacekeeping components.
The Host’s responsibilities have evolved into two broad categories: ‘formal’ responsibilities and ‘customary’ responsibilities. The formal responsibilities relate to obligations to support the conduct of the annual conference – venue, accommodation, ground transportation, and conference meals. The ‘customary’ responsibilities are related to the social program and the degree to which financial obligations can be stretched beyond the actual hosting costs to facilitating the participation of certain speakers and less financially-able peace operations centres. A Host undertakes to fulfill the formal responsibilities, and strives to achieve the customary.
The Host, in coordination with the Secretariat and Executive Committee, implements the conference program, including not only by organizing appropriate facilities but also providing the support staff necessary to manage such an event. Broadly speaking, the Host is responsible for arranging accommodation (with the exception of special guests, accommodation is paid for by the conference participants), internal conference-related ground transportation, security, conference meals, the conference venue and related supporting services, such as multimedia, and post conference report writing. By tradition the host has organized a social program to support and help facilitate the networking that is an important feature of the IAPTC conferences. This has traditionally included an icebreaker event, a conference dinner, and a couple of social activities to open and close the conference, and if the conference program allows, some form of activity that offers an insight into the culture and/or images of the host country. The Host also arranges the opening and closing activities for the conference.
To the extent possible, the convening format of the Annual Conference should be informed by recent methods and pedagogical approaches on engaging participants. It could include plenary presentations and discussions, as well as functional and thematic breakout groups. This is an issue to be decided by the Executive Committee during the planning meeting held in the first quarter of the year.
The Host’s financial obligations relate to accommodation (providing for certain guests and speakers), transport, security, conference meals, and venue operating costs. Most hosts have subsidized some part of the accommodation and/or meal costs, the ‘conference fee’ and to some degree the social program. In many instances, in order to get certain speakers or ensure the attendance of specific centres that otherwise could not afford to participate in the conference, the hosts have subsidized or assumed full responsibility for travel and other costs. Essentially, every effort needs to be made to keep costs to a minimum for the participants, so that as many institutions as possible can be represented from all corners of the world. The above notwithstanding, it has also become accepted practice that the Host may levy a small conference fee to help off-set certain hosting costs.
The Host is expected to participate fully in the activities of the Executive Committee for four years – one year observing the process as the incoming Host, one year as Host, one year as President, and one year as past President. This implies assuming the costs of travel to the meetings of the Executive Committee (normally once during the first quarter of the year), and the hosting of a planning meeting at the host venue during the year of the hosted annual conference, as well as participation in the annual conference itself for at least the four years of membership on the Executive Committee.
The Host is expected to assume the responsibilities of President in the year following the hosting in order to coordinate and manage the business of the Association and the activities of the secretariat, and in particular to be responsible for the substantive aspects of the annual conference.