Management Assistants Conference Asia & Oceania Region 2019

Last week the conference for Management Assistants was held in Singapore for the Asia and Oceania missions, organized by Irene Grootendorst (Sydney) and Justine Heidemann (Canberra). H.E. Ambassador Margriet Vonno (Singapore) welcomed the regional MAs, two HDPO staff members who had travelled from The Hague, and the regional LESC representative who came from Tokyo. The focus of the ‘Ever Ready 4.0’ conference was on best practices, new developments at the Ministry, the challenges that we all face like IT security, the digitalization of our jobs and what we can bring to and take away from this conference.

There was great enthusiasm from everybody and a very positive vibe about the conference. According to the evaluation report it was a very successful conference, with the kind ground support from our colleagues in Singapore (Sandra Kerkmeijer, Chantal Kruijssen and Daphne Vernooij) who also organized an unforgettable networking event. Some examples of participants' comments were:

  • “It’s a great conference. Well organized. And with a lot of fun. If 10 is the highest score then I will give 11.”
  • “Better than expected! Well done
  • “As I already said in whatsapp: I really had the idea that everyone joined, participated and therefore made it a conference for and by everyone. That to me is one of the things I was most happy about”
  • We definitely have to meet every year. Already now I feel I have a new creative and productive view on my job and feel more connected beyond the team at my mission”
  • Good to be part of it and see you all next conference. Feel like being included and involved in the success of the bigger goals. Thank you”
Ambassadeur Margriet Vonno

Following the example of Athens, who organized a regional conference for Eastern Europe earlier this year, it was the first time in almost three years that the MAs of the Asia and Oceania region met again. The first part of the four day conference dealt with work specific issues, whereas the latter part of the conference focused on managing ourselves and others in relation to our work at the missions. Now the challenge is to generate support and revive the worldwide conference for MAs in The Hague as well as regional conferences, alternating each year.

Group picture of the participants of the conference
Image: Singapore's Gardens by the Bay