CANCELLATION OF AMIC 23RD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN BANGKOK
Dear AMIC members and friends,
It is with sincere regret that we must bring to you the news that AMIC’s 23rd International Conference has been cancelled. This decision has been taken jointly by the AMIC Board of Directors, the AMIC Secretariat and the conference hosts.
As you will recall, AMIC planned its 2014 conference to be held in Bangkok, Thailand from the 9th-12th July. Our gracious host was to be the Faculty of Communication Arts at Chulalongkorn University. Arrangements were fully in hand, with the ‘call for papers’ completed, sponsorship promotion underway and even a hotel venue organised. The AMIC Secretariat had received close to 300 abstracts which had been put out for peer-review. In the end, over 270 papers had been accepted for the conference.
The political climate in Thailand deteriorated to the extent that martial law was eventually declared. Although the prevailing situation in Bangkok was difficult, in close consultation with the conference hosts and other authorities on security and safety issues, AMIC proceeded with its plans. However, when the Thai military declared a coup late last month and various restrictions, including a curfew, were imposed, the situation became increasingly untenable.
AMIC’s ‘duty of care’ to conference delegates and staff members is such that we are unwilling to expose colleagues from the region and beyond to potential injury or harm in a situation which is impossible to predict. Also, we took note that, once the coup was announced, all major travel insurance companies advised their clients that coverage for Thailand was negated. In addition, Governments worldwide issued travel advisories warning their citizens about travel to Thailand.
The AMIC Board and Secretariat held urgent discussions and the Chairman issued a conference postponement notice. In the meantime, extensive negotiations continued with potential hosts for a possible relocation to another venue within the region. In the end, these proved inconclusive and it was decided, with time against us and increasing concern from conference delegates about their travel and leave arrangements, to cancel the conference this year.
AMIC is hugely aware that this decision has caused considerable inconvenience and disappointment and this is deeply regretted. All previously paid conference registration fees will be fully refunded. We also know that several delegates had booked air tickets which carry penalties for cancellation. The AMIC Secretariat is now issuing letters to those delegates which they can use to approach the airlines concerned to seek possible financial redress under force majeure provisions. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for such a letter. We are also prepared to make direct approaches to airlines and travel agents upon request. In some cases, it may be possible to transfer funds expended on air fares to Bangkok to travel to next year’s AMIC conference instead.
Thank you for your understanding in this unprecedented situation. On behalf of the AMIC Board, the Secretariat and our good friends at Chulalongkorn University, we apologise for the disappointment and inconvenience caused. We are now planning for the AMIC 2015 international conference and, once a host is chosen, we will announce a venue and dates. It is also possible that the 2014 conference theme and papers (with updating by the authors) may go forward to AMIC 2015. However, this matter will be discussed in the months ahead. We will keep you informed as soon and as frequently as possible on further developments.