“We bring together people who are involved in running associations” 
Nancy Carfrae, Coordinator, Associations Round Tables, Union of International Associations (UIA)

Your UIA Associations Round Table Europe took place three weeks ago in Dublin. Which presentation do you remember best?
For me, the discussion groups are always the most interesting. Of course, the speakers give us food for thought, with new ideas and provocative questions, but in fact everyone in the room is an expert: we are all involved in running associations. It is in the small groups that we get to share that expertise. The passion and motivation and knowledge always give me a boost.
Which were two issues concerning the 120 delegates most?
Money. Rightly or wrongly, it’s almost always cited as number one. How do we associations ensure we have the financial resources to carry out our work today and to plan for the future?
Communication. Seldom does one meet an association that does not know why it is doing what it is doing, but somehow many of us are unable to get the message across clearly to the people we want to hear it, whether members, funders, the public, or, indeed, sometimes our own Boards. Choosing the right medium and the right moment seem often to be great stumbling blocks.
Please explain the idea behind the UIA Associations Round Tables.
The UIA Round Table aims to promote and facilitate the work of international associations by providing learning and networking opportunities. We bring together people who are involved in running associations, ask some of them to tell about their experience with particular challenges, and give structured time for all of them to exchange concerns and knowledge. We consider a Round Table a success if the participants go home with new ideas, with renewed motivation, and with names of people with whom they want to stay in touch.
Why should international associations attend?
The UIA Round Table is an event by and for associations; it is not a business event to which associations are invited. It is perhaps the only event ALL associations can attend, no strings attached. This means the participants come from all over, and from incredibly diverse associations. And, with all our diversity, we have so much in common: questions of management and administration, (government) policies and regulations, values and vision and pragmatism.
For those who couldn’t come to Seoul or Dublin: can they get access to the presentations?
On the event website, w w w. uia. org/roundtable, you can find the speakers’ presentations, some reports and photos. We don’t make reports on the group discussions, though, as we’d rather people were listening and talking than making notes. So what you’ll find on the website is really just the bare bones.
You started the UIA Associations Round Table Europe in 2007, followed by Asia in 2013. Do have other continents in mind?
All of them! We know that many associations do not have the resources – time, staff, money – to travel to distant places. We would like to hold Round Tables around the world so that all associations have the opportunity to attend a UIA Round Table locally.
The UIA Associations Round Table Europe has been in Brussels and in Dublin, the Round Table Asia has been in Singapore and in Seoul. How do you choose your destinations?
The UIA Associations Round Table – Europe 2015 is on Thursday 12 November at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Brussels. We hope to announce soon the location of the Round Table – Asia 2015. In choosing a destination we look for places where there are many association offices, or where many associations have members. And the support of a local partner is essential.
May I thank here our partners of the past years? VisitBrussels, the Korea Tourism Organization, Meet in Ireland, the Singapore Tourism Board: without their help there would have been no Round Tables!
UIA's Associations Round Tables bring together representatives of international associations to learn practical skills and share experience. w w w. uia. org/roundtable
UIA Associations Round Table Europe 2015
12 November 2015, Crowne Plaza Brussels - Le Palace Hotel
UIA Associations Round Table Asia 2015
Date and Venue: to be announced.