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European days

There is always some friendly rivalry between the various chapters hosting the ASIS International European conference, writes Mike Hurst, pictured; and as Vice Chairman of the UK Chapter I with colleagues were proud of our 2012 achievement in attracting a then record 502 delegates to London.

At this year’s event in The Hague we were expecting a fantastic event and a good turn-out particularly as the Benelux chapter is so active. I doubt however that anyone was expecting a turn-out of over 700 delegates at the conference from April 1 to 3. This is a great tribute to the work Erik de Vries CPP, the Chapter Chairman and his team put in. Incidentally Erik is speaking at IFSEC 2014.

The conference opened with a video address from Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council who welcomed visitors and stressed the importance that security plays in the fabric of society. Two full days of conferences followed including keynote speakers and Mr Ivo Opstellen The Ministers and Security of Netherlands, Rob Wainwright Director of Europol and Ray Mabus Secretary of the US Navy.

The 40 other presentations covered a vast range of subjects including travel security, counter-espionage, terrorism, the changing role of security, the fight against intellectual property crime and many others. Various social gatherings included the welcome party and the President’s Reception held at the Peace Palace. There were also a number of less formal social gatherings notably the select few (you know who you are) who joined us at No names, no pack drill, but it is safe to say the cream of the security profession was there: the Tanqueray 10 and tonic with pink grapefruit is to be recommended; allegedly.

The one thing that always strikes me at these events is not just the quality of the speakers and the fact that the events are impeccably and professionally run, but the spirit of the event. It helps that all presentations are in English, but bearing in mind the range of backgrounds, nationalities, ethnicities and cultural differences the European conference always has a positive inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.

While some at the conference are in regular contact through their business activities or perhaps because they are in the same chapter, others only meet once or twice a year but that doesn’t hinder the inclusive and welcoming nature. There seems to be a will to help, to encourage and to share knowledge that is to be admired.

Although this was a European conference there were speakers from all over the world including many from the UK including Don Randall MBE; Prof Martin Gill; James Wilson; the former CEOP CEO Peter Davis; Dan Solomon; Martin Smith MBE, chairman of the Security Institute Emma Shaw CSyP and others. I even spoke myself alongside fellow recruiter, Graham Bassett.

Also it was great to have Rich Widup CPP the current ASIS International President speak to us at both the European Advisory Council the day before the conference and also at its start and his message of STRATEGIC. SMART, SECURE. was well made. Day two of the conference was opened by Dave Davis CPP the current ASIS International Treasurer who will be president in 2016. The presence of so many senior ASIS people from the US Europe and worldwide demonstrates the importance that is ASIS places on its international status with membership exceeding 38,000 and the UK chapter hitting an all-time record of 821.

All in all and a hugely worthy, successful and enjoyable event which next year moves to Frankfurt, see you there!

About the author

Mike Hurst is Vice Chairman – Strategy of ASIS International UK Chapter and a Member of the ASIS International European Advisory Council. He is also a Director of The Security institute. His day job is as a director of security recruitment firm HJA.


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