Dear colleagues, Chers et chères collègues,
I write you on behalf of the French Colonial Historical Society’s Executive Committee, its officers, and the program committee and host of the Annual Meeting that is scheduled for the end of May this year. As you may have already concluded for yourselves, we are compelled to cancel that meeting. The spread of the COVID-19 virus and the attendant restrictions on travel and gatherings of large groups of people at the very least make planning impossible, and indications are that these restrictions will extend to and beyond the end of May. We considered trying to hold the meeting virtually, that is by utilizing Internet communications technologies such as Zoom, but in the end we have decided that this would present logistical challenges that would significantly degrade our ability to engage in the productive scholarly exchanges that are the hallmark of our conferences. And not least, all of us are currently facing profound challenges adjusting our personal and professional lives to changed circumstances, ranging from moving instruction on line, to living under lockdown or quarantine, to caring for family members, and even to struggling with our own or others’ illnesses (though I sincerely hope that this is not the case for anyone reading this message).
Please be assured that we did not take the decision to cancel the Annual Meeting lightly. But of course our primary responsibility is to safeguard the health and safety of our members, and cancelation is the best way to meet that responsibility. Also be assured that the scholarly life of the society will continue well into the future, as we emerge from the current public health crisis and something like normal life resumes. We will continue to plan our 2021 Annual Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina; our journal, French Colonial History, will continue to accept manuscripts and pursue its normal publication schedule; and all other functions of the Society will continue.
A brief note on practicalities associated with the conference:
We will refund all conference fees already paid, or you may elect to allow the Society to keep the fee as a tax-deductible (in the US) donation to the FCHS. If you choose the latter option, you have our thanks, and please let Treasurer Spencer Segalla know before April 20, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will send an email confirming the donation for your records. If we do not hear from you by April 20, Spencer will refund your conference fee.
We will refund membership dues on request (though of course we hope you choose to retain your membership, which helps support the important work we do and brings with it benefits such as a subscription to our journal—note that membership dues are not tax-deductible donations).
All that remains for me to say here is that all of us wish you the very best during this difficult time, and we hope you are and remain healthy and safe.
All the best,
Richard Fogarty, FCHS President