We are writing with heavy hearts today. After much discussion, we have decided that we must cancel the 38th World Convention, which had originally been scheduled to be held in Melbourne, Australia in September 2021 and then tentatively rescheduled for November 2022. Given the deadline of 31 October to cancel the contract with Melbourne CVB with no financial penalties, this seemed like the most responsible decision we could make, after evaluating the overall priorities for the use of NAWS resources in the next two years and the unknown impact of the global health crisis including potential travel restrictions. Admittedly, it is not the decision we wanted to make, however, we simply don’t have the ability to have a proper World Convention, one in which our global membership can attend and have a World Convention experience. We believe our most conscientious path is to cancel.
COVID has flipped our entire world upside down, and WCNA-38 has been no exception. We were hoping beyond hope that we could make it happen but that is not the case. NAWS financial and human resources continue to be strained. We are slowly building back thanks to the help of member contributions, but that progress is gradual and not always predictable.
The board has decided to explore whether it is possible to insert a World Convention into the existing WCNA rotation or to change the rotation cycle somehow so that it will not be as long a wait to bring WCNA back to the Asia, Middle East, and Africa World Convention zone. Any change of this kind would obviously need World Service Conference approval.
We understand the sorrow about this decision, and we wish this was the hardest news we had to share today, but as we were grappling with this decision and drafting our reporting about it, we lost a titan. Ron B, resident of Melbourne and former World Board chair, has left us. Ron was a gift to NA and to all who knew him. He was a man of great wit, diplomacy, and kindness. He had a passion for NA recovery and service, and he gave of himself for decades, including twelve years on the World Board. We are all diminished by his loss. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family, sponsees, and friends.