UIA Round Table in Europe 2013 
by Judy Wickens, Union of International Associations UIA
Brussels. The UIA Round Table has become established as a lively annual event for associations and on 12 November 2013 almost 200 participants gathered enthusiastically for this year's edition. The special feature of the Round Tables is that they are tailored to the activities, interests and point of view of associations rather than commercial aspects.
The UIA has been promoting and documenting the work of international associations for more than 100 years. The Round Tables offer a prime opportunity for learning, active networking and exchanging ideas, for people involved with international association life. The bright new conference rooms of the Pullman Hotel Brussels Midi were the setting for the meeting sessions, breaks, lunch and reception. This hotel is attached to the Gare du Midi and so accessible from the TGV and other trains that it has a door in the station and a window overlooking the platforms.
Vice-president of UIA Cyril Ritchie raised the curtain on the day's proceedings with a glimpse of the extraordinarily varied and tantalising nature of international associations, with nevertheless so much in common in their way of going about their work. Each of the workshop leaders then gave a brief outline of the programme for the next sessions. Was the curious clicking which ensued audible evidence of the participants' difficult decision to select just two of the three highly relevant subjects proposed? No, it was the little 'name pegs' which were to be attached to the board appropriate to the chosen workshop.
Brent Springael, Bird & Bird, on behalf of FAIB – Federation of European and International Associations Established in Belgium, guided his group through the labyrinth of European Value Added Tax for associations, a series of regulations of ever-increasing complexity with which associations have to engage.
Fundraising was the focus of the workshop facilitated by Catherine Roberts, Director of Governance, and Ann Brookes, Fund Development Director, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, who shared their knowledge and revealed recent developments in this vital field, with recommendations for approaches to try.
Susan Robertson of The Center for Association Leadership of ASAE – American Society of Association Executives involved her workshop group Ensuring value for your members in a session packed with information garnered from great experience in recruiting members and volunteers for associations and, even more important, retaining them.
In the final plenary session Ralph Blundell, European Baha'i Business Forum, spoke on The Wisdom of Love – Leading with Heart and Integrity, giving a thought-provoking review of ways in which meaningful behaviour can improve and benefit our world to make it more just, as well as prosperous and sustainable.
Cyril Ritchie, on behalf of UIA, closed the day with a vote of thanks to speakers, partners, organisers and especially participants, marvelling at the multi-faceted world of associations and the persevering work they do which keeps civil society functioning. Nancy Carfrae of UIA masterminded the entire event.
The UIA would like to express its warmest thanks to AIM Group International, Pullman Hotel Brussels Midi and VisitBrussels in particular, and also to Meet Taiwan: the generous support of these and all other partners was essential to the undoubted success of this event
If you have ideas for next year's subjects for discussion, do let us know, as we are already looking forward to next year's Round Table 2014.