The confronting statistic that in the last decade, 80% of the world’s disaster deaths are due to the Asia Oceania Region’s vulnerability to natural disasters, is the motive behind 10 years of conferences and collaboration by the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS).
Australia’s location in the region and its strengths in the Geoscience sector were influencing factors in the selection of Brisbane and the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre to host the 10th anniversary meeting of the Society in June this year.
Organiser and Secretariat of the society, Singapore based Cheng-Hoon Khoo, said the conference was wholly focussed on science and how it benefits humanity, providing tangible support to communities in peril.
Annually, she says, AOGS sets aside funding support for up to 10% of eligible participants to receive subsidised registration to attend the Society’s Annual Meeting.
In what was a first time event for Australia, some 1400 delegates from 47 different countries, including large contingents from China, Japan and Australia attended the week-long conference which provided access to geoscience disciplines covering everything from atmospheric sciences, hydrological sciences, ocean sciences, planetary sciences, earth sciences and solar and terrestrial sciences.
The Conference was a text book example of delegate boosting and garnering Australian participation for future AOGS meetings. One of the objectives in bringing the event to Brisbane was to secure Australian involvement and collaboration for future international meetings; according to delighted organisers this was achieved by local delegate boosting activities and incentives, resulting in forecast attendances being exceeded.
Cheng-Hoon says the Local Advisory Committee which comprised academics from universities throughout Australia, actively promoted the meeting locally and to their international colleagues. Successful cross promotion between the AOGS with other international and regional geosciences societies resulted in a boost in delegate numbers.
Meetings of the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society are all about the business of science, with all funding directed to providing access to students and academics, increasing reachability with delegate attendances and contributing to the geoscience field in Asia and globally. Comparatively little emphasis is placed on any social agenda at these events.
Exhibitors were pleased with the program and choice of meeting location with particular mention of the high levels of traffic during coffee breaks and poster sessions.
Because AOGS elected to meet at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, the conference was able to take advantage of the new South Bank Concierge Program designed as a value add for visiting delegates to enhance their conference and destination experience. The free program assists delegates in finding their way around the convention precinct of South Bank, accessing the many attractions with offers and packages from retailers and cultural organisations.
This was only the second conference to participate in the new Concierge Program which was well received by delegates. Visiting delegates also took advantage of the tour desk services provided by Brisbane Marketing.
For Cheng-Hoon, Society Secretariat of the AOGS, concept, science, technology and engineering has been her life. She is also the driving force behind Meeting Matters International (Meet Matt), specialists in convention management. A qualified engineer and Human Resources professional, she identifies science and learning as her life’s work. “I like science and scientists and the fact that science is aligned with learning and education.”
A scientific conference and a successful one, ticks all the boxes for Cheng-Hoon who says the Brisbane meeting at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre achieved all that and more.
“It was one of the best venues I have worked in. The venue spaces and the setup for meetings were great, delegates loved it and Brisbane as a destination was very exciting.”
Cheng-Hoon continues her association with the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre accompanying the International Team to an ICCA meeting in Macau later this month.