Dear Asia Pro Bono & Access to Justice Exchange Supporters and Participants,
We are really hoping you and those around you are safe and well during these very challenging times. Daily, we have been following events on the news related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and while we have been seeing many challenges arise, we also have seen many persons rising up to take on these challenges, as well as many positive opportunities.
With the current Coronavirus situation, and after discussions we had with many others, we once again are writing in regard to next years Asia Pro Bono Conference & A2J Exchange.
As we believe you know, the Secretariat has opened registration for the Asia Pro Bono Virtual Conference & A2J Echange for this September 2020, which has been great to have happen. We are all very excited about this event happening this year. To date, we have received really wonderful, impactful and interesting session plans, and even though many of us agreed some months back that this APBVC & A2J Exchange can be a small event, we see it growing in many ways. We also have had persons register who have not been part of the APBC & A2J Exchange previously, which is one of the positive “side effects’ of the current situation.
With that said, we of course are looking and needing to plan for next year’s event, which we very much hope will be a physical event in 2021. To date we have had a number of internal discussions within the APBC Secretariat, and with others, about the potential of having a physical APBC & A2J Exchange next year in 2021. In looking to make these plans, we are mindful that proper planning takes more than 1 year of consistent work, to ensure that the event will be successful, in the ways it has come to be. While we always know that there are challenges that arise up, we try, in advance, to attempt to minimize foreseen challenges as best as possible.
As you also know, the original plan was to hold the 9th APBC & A2J Exchange in Cebu, Philippines and then hold the 10th APBC & A2J Exchange in Laos (as it would be the 10th year anniversary)
Some months back we thought it may be possible to shift the dates for the 9th APBC & A2J Exchange and hold the event in Cebu, Philippines in 2021. However, after long consultation, and because of all the unknowns at this point, as to the impact of COVID-19, the need for long term planning, and the unknown situation in the Philippines, the Secretariat has determined that it would be much more prudent and logical to shift the dates of the 10th APBC & A2J Exchange and hold it in Laos in September, 2021, and then, in 2022, hold the 11th in the Philippines (hopefully in Cebu as originally planned).
Finally, by adhering to the above schedule, we are able to go back to the original plan of holding the 10th year anniversary back in Laos, which is so exciting.
For those of us that were there in 2012, and have not returned since, we are confident that you will be amazed at the positive shift, impact and change since then.
With all of this said, we want to of course make clear how much all of us want to have the APBC & A2J Exchange hosted in the Philippines, and would like this to be in 2022, followed by Japan in 2023, and hopefully Mongolia in 2024.
Thank you again for all that you do, and we look forward to being connected to you virtually in 2020 and physically in Laos 2021
The Asia Pro Bono Conference & A2J Exchange Secretariat & Consortium