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IASP Newsletters - October 2000

NEWS FROM CENTRAL ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, FRANCE VANDA SCOTT

The past 6 months has seen the transfer of the administration from Chicago to Gondrin: from a large city in the States to a rural village in the remote Southwest corner of France. The agricultural noise of the countryside, as the grapes are picked and the sunflowers are harvested, now supersedes the roar of traffic and the congestion of air traffic overhead. For those who have never been to this remote area of Europe - it is 150 km directly north of the Pyrenees, 150 km directly east of the Atlantic coast and 900 km directly south of Paris! But in today's world of telecommunication this should make little or no difference to the services offered to membership nor especially the activity initiated by the Board. The significance of this change in location has however been felt in the local post office in the nearest small village of Mouchin, situated down a windy country lane all of 3 km away from the office and another 12 km from the nearest town of Condom. Madame Lafargue sees her workload increase tenfold as she receives the IASP weekly post to deliver and also the huge mailouts that are regularly activated from the small room at the rear of the ancient building. The post office is the central and only facility in this small 12th century hameau -provided as a crucial service to the local inhabitants - all 270 of them - and IASP! Open only 3 hours each morning, Madam Lafargue greets me with her warm gentle smile and excitedly wants to know to whom we are posting the mail today. She told me that her geographic knowledge (as well as her business) has increased hugely since IASP came to Mouchin!

These 6 months have been a time of reconsolidating the administrative services managed by Dr Clark over the last 4 years and assessing the needs for the membership. During this period 350 current and past members have been contacted to establish their membership status and over 154 members have responded positively; 15 of these are new members (Australia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Portugal, Romania, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and USA). Sadly we are still waiting for current members to pay their dues for 1999 and 2000. A subtle hint to all registered members who have not paid during these two years and are still receiving the Journal, which is therefore being subsidised by IASP.

Election for the Chair of Organisational Representatives was delayed while the administrative papers were being transported across the Atlantic. Professor Slavica Selakovic-Bursic (from Yugoslavia and representative of Befrienders International) was the successful candidate. Professor Selakovic-Bursic has relinquished her position of deputy chair for the Council of National Representatives in order to concentrate her energies on her new role co-ordinating the needs of the organisational members. World Health Organisation and IASP continue to maintain a collaborative relationship, which involves preparation of contributions to their guidelines for suicide prevention in various sectors in the world. Currently a paper has been drafted in their brochure on Violence and Women. The survey on voluntary agencies operating in the field of suicide prevention is also part of a collaborative programme for 2000/1.

The Central Administrative Office receives, on average, 10 enquiries a month, maintains the membership records, oversees the financial management, processes Executive Committee activities and manages electoral procedures. Although in the heart of the countryside, it continues to be the hub of IASP communications around the world.

Vanda Scott
General Secretary