Monday, March 06, 2006

Days gone by, Days to come...

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
From my experiences of EuroSTAR, and various other events, I expect EuroSTAR will continue to offer attendees the chance to develop themselves while helping others, and the industry, to improve.

I hope to see you at this and future events

Julian Harty
UK

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.

Thank you!

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