Why are so many of the concurrent sessions I’m interested in, on concurrently?

The ACFID Conference Conundrum

John Morley

12 Oct, 2018

At ACFID Conference, delegates get the chance to hear innovative practice from NGOs within ACFID’s membership in what’s known as concurrent sessions.  Plan International Australia’s Program Development Manager, John Morley, tells us about his conundrum on which concurrent sessions to pick at ACFID’s Conference.

For all of us with our heads down in our own work, it’s good to lift the gaze occasionally and see what others have been up to. ACFID Conference is always a great time to see, listen and engage. But for those of you who have been to the occasional conference, you will be familiar with the old conundrum: why are so many of the concurrent sessions I’m interested in, on concurrently?

This year, with the human rights theme of ‘People, Planet, Peace,’ my conundrum takes on a theme too. You see, as a member of an NGO with strong ambitions for gender transformation, I’m keen on sessions that help extend my understanding of gender transformative programming.

As an old climate change adaptation person, I’m keen to engage in conversation on climate change and human rights, particularly for our Pacific neighbours. I’m also keenly aware that mid-next-year we should see a referendum in Bougainville.

Many of us (countries, organisations and individuals) have a stake in a long-running regional peace-building initiative that – regardless of the outcome – will have very real consequences for the people of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville.

So, on reflection, it seems I have my own conference theme of ‘Gender, Climate Change, Peace’ (sorry ACFID). But there’s my problem – I might need a friend or two to tell me about the sessions I can’t get to!

What does my concurrent session conundrum look like?

Session one is a three-way split:

Session two isn’t much better (for me):

I’ve been thinking I might skip the ones where Plan International people are speaking, I can hear about that at work already, right? But there are some great speakers in those sessions and the topics are great (and what’s the internal politics of skipping out on your own NGO?). I quite like my colleagues and the work they do!

So, if I have a serious look on my face at morning tea or lunch, it’s not that I’m in a bad mood or the catering is bad (the catering will be fab!) – I probably just haven’t decided yet.

  • John Morley
    John Morley

    John is Plan International Australia’s Program Development Manager, where he is working on their development partner collaborations, business opportunities and grant management systems. Previously with DFAT/AusAID, he has worked on climate change adaptation policy and practice, held development postings in Afghanistan and Fiji and helped manage the Australian NGO Cooperation Program. John is currently a member of the Committee for Development Cooperation.


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