Monday, 3 February 2014

The world is coming - will you join us?

Having been brought up overseas until my teenage years began (India, Cyprus and Turkey) - and nurtured the travel bug in the intervening years - the prospect of over 200 international journalists coming to Britain this September, is just plain magical. The journalists coming are special - their interest is in agriculture and food. These are two stories that Britain can tell with great authority and passion. 

These visitors are coming for the 2014 International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress. The IFAJ is an amazing organisation; 37 member countries (the latest to join being India) - a global umbrella for us journalists & communicators. In addition, there are two elements of any congress - the Masterclass and Bootcamp - a two-day professional development workshop immediate precding the congress, that will welcome delegates from Brazil, Peru, Nicaragua, Kazkhstan, China, Rwanda, Tanzania, Congo and Cameroon. Many of their people will have just the most basic tools to practice their journalistic trade - a notebook & pen, a cellphone and a camera.

We are opening the doors to the world. We are also opening the doors to fellow communicators in GB earning their living in this great sector of ours, to give a little back and to get involved and do what they can to help us.

The corporate world and public sector have pledged their support; and potential international delegates are - quite literally - hounding us about when they can book their place. Our international peers are looking to the 2014 British congress as being one of the best congreses they will ever attend. A event filled with diversity, friendship, fascinating stories and a hooly of a party.

Next week we are putting out a call for members of the British Guild to help us with our own story-telling, to support us in providing the congress with a professional PR service. The small handful involved thus far can do it - and will do it - ourselves if we have no offers of help; but we are so busy on organising content, catering and logistics, that we would prefer fresh eyes and fresh wordsmiths to help us - voluntarily. We are also asking the publishers to muck in and give this good news story some decent profile. 

There are less than 15 members of the British Guild putting a huge amount of time into making this event something truly memorable for our delegates, our sponsors, ourselves - but most importantly - for our country's farming industry. Will you sit back and watch, or will you give - just a little bit to help?

This is my personal call for a few extra, fellow-passionates about our industry, who share my desire to give something back. Personally, my investment in the Guild and the Congress is a thank-you to a sector that has given me my livelihood, my home, my clients and my life's passion - farming. Join me, please!

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