I'd like to encourage you to get involved in EuroSTAR 2006, and beyond. In my case, after being involved for 4 fun years I'm ready to enjoy many more years of the conference.
For 2006 I have no idea how I'll be involved yet, although I need to decide whether to submit a proposal or not fairly soon as the submission deadline is close. However I expect I'll be at the conference one way or another :-)
I'm looking forward to the event, which promises to offer:
- the chance to meet lots of friends, new and old, from across Europe and further afield
- some great sessions for everyone
- the opportunity to meet up after hours for the 'important' discussions that don't always fit directly in the flow of the main event e.g. because of time constraints
I hope to see you at this and future events
PS: In case you are interested, here is a summary of my involvement so far. I hope it encourages you to get involved as well.
I was first introduced to EuroSTAR by Steve Allott in 2001 when I replaced a speaker who had to cancel. Despite the short, cold dark days in Sweden I really enjoyed the event, the first time I'd presented to a large International audience.
In 2003, in Amsterdam, I met some old friends and again had the great opportunity to speak at the event again, this time on security testing.
In 2004, I was shocked to receive a phone call from Erkki Poyhonen, the programme chair, who asked me whether I was willing to give a keynote - with some trepidation I accepted, and although I was initially worried about presenting to over 300 people, the warmth and support of the audience allowed me to deliver a fun presentation. The feedback from this session encouraged Lee Copeland in the USA, who organises the STAREast and STARWest conferences to invite me over to give a keynote to an even larger audience at STAREast 2005.
For 2005 Martin Pol asked me to join the programme committee - something that sounded time-consuming and without much reward, but a challenge, so I accepted. However I found I really enjoyed reviewing the 450+ submissions, communicating with about 50 of the speakers, organising the track chairs for the conference, etc. I hope I met quite a few of you during the actual conference, although to be honest I found I had little time to attend the presentations this time, as there were various jobs that had to be sorted out for the track sessions, etc.
Of the presentations I did attend, Thorkil Sonne's special session on autism was magnetising, showing how a 'disability' could be turned into a special, marketable skill. He has personally developed a viable, responsible business which is an inspiration to many who learn about it. I hope others will be able to follow his lead in future. As he is giving a keynote at EuroSTAR 2006 you'll have the chance to hear of the great work he's performed :-)
In the end, I realised how much I'd benefited from being involved in the programme committee, by being able to learn from the 100's of people who had contributed to the event.