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ORGANIZATION OF CONFERENCES
Any scientific Conference or Session is usually convened In Organizing Committee of a national or international character. As a rule the Organizing Committee ceases to exist after the first sitting of the Conference as it is replaced by an elected group.
Initially an Organizing Committee sends to all the establishments concerned the so-called "First Circular" ("Preliminary Announcement", "First Announcement") that states general information about the Conference. Such an announcement acquaints the participants with the main program of the future Conference, order of Plenary Sessions, working languages, rules of scientific contributions, social programs, information about registration, correspondence, hotel reservations, necessary expenditure, etc.
The First Circular usually contains a Preliminary Application Form which gives information on participation. Those who want to attend the Conference should complete the Application Form and mail it without delay. This will ensure the applicant to receive further information in the Second Circular. Such an answer will help the organizers to plan better the work of the Conference.
Further details are usually stated in the Second Circular, which is distributed to all the applicants who have returned the Preliminary Application Form before the Conference starts.
The Second Announcement contains information as to the date of the Conference? Commissions, participation and registration, pre-, mid-, and post- conference tours, scientific visits, living accommodations, hotels, and everything considered necessary for the participants to make maximum use of the occasion.
The course of any Conference is directed by a Chairman.
It is the duty of the promoters of the meeting to elect the Chairman. Usually those present are asked for nominations. If a nomination is offered somebody has to second it. After that the name, which has been proposed and seconded is put to vote. This is done either by a show of hands or by a paper vote.
It is Customary for the newly elected Chairman, before commencing his duties, to thank the members for placing their confidence in him.
The success of the meeting depends considerably on the capabilities of the Chairman. His words are expected to be literally few. His address should be much shorter than any of the speeches that follow. It is his duty to introduce each of the speakers on the list. Before proceeding to the agenda he must also bring before the Conference any communication, which may concern it.
The Chairman directs the debates, maintains order, seesthat all the participants have a fair hearing, closes the debates when necessary, puts questions to the vote and announces the results of the vote.
In the absence of the Chairman the duty elected Vice-Chairman presides. He acts like the Chairman and has the same duties.
When the meeting is opened, the first matter for the Chairman is to read the agenda and to explain the work to be done by the Conference. Then the Chairman reads the correspondence requiring consideration, including letters of apology for absence.
Anyone who wants to take the floor should ask the Chairman beforehand or by simply raising his hand after the Chairman opens the discussion.
Addressing the audience the speakers must begin in moderate tone pronouncing every word slowly and distinctly to attract initial attention. An experienced speaker will never get excited unless he feels that everybody else gets excited with him in response. It is highly advisable to exercise the speech beforehand in order to avoid disappointment.
It is very rare that report is actually read during scientific Conferences. As a rule papers presented at Plenary Sessions are distributed to the delegates in a printed form. The Chairman may require every speaker to keep to the point at issue, to avoid repetition and to use language of a respectable character.
On some occasions the Chairman has to be repeatedly asking for silence. It is highly important for him to know how to act when disorder does occur. The business of the meeting is restricted to that mentioned on the agenda and matters of urgency.
Members stand when peaking and must preface their words with the proper formula: "Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen ..., Mr. Chairman, Dear Colleagues..., Mr. Chairman". To address the Chairman is obligatory in British practice of public meetings.
At each Conference a Secretary sits on the platform close to the Chairman and makes notes from which the minutes must be written up.
After all the points for consideration have been thrashed out, the Committee draws up its report or its resolution, which is submitted to the main body of the Conference. Any scientific Conference or Session may decide to adopt some resolutions or appeals to finish its work. Sometimes the very Conference is called by promoters specially to prepare reports or make recommendations. Very often a Drafting Committee is elected to present a draft resolution. This draft resolution is studied thoroughly by delegates and they are free to make any alterations, propose their own version or even prepare a new resolution. All that is done in the form of motion. When motions are brought certain alterations may be suggested and these alterations are spoken of asamendments to the original motions. All these amendments are discussed and a final resolution is adopted. In such a way the meeting is coming towards the end. The final duty of the Chairman is to call upon a member to make a vote of thanks.
In his closing speech the speaker must express gratitude to the Chair, the contributors, the sponsors, the audience and the services. He should also try to mention favourably as many names as possible. The last speech often includes a very general expression of gratitude to local administration for organization of the Conference and for hospitality. After that the Chairman declares the Conference closed
1. Make up the list of items, which are necessary for organization of the conference.
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