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Where Nature Danced with Culture - Priya Veeraraghavan

Priya Veeraraghavan
Priya Veeraraghavan
Kochi, aptly known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, is also celebrated for its natural splendour and cultural opulence - a mélange of some mesmerising treats and experiences for the senses. It’s no wonder that it was a carefully curated choice for the 2018 conference. As you would already be aware of, the unprecedented rains and flooding did ‘almost’ bring the conference to a staggering halt. What made it possible was the resilience and the spirit of the TA community which worked on options and possibilities with caution and care, truly a hallmark of the culture that TA imbibes.

I can’t help but think that sometimes when everything goes wrong, wonderful things happen and we end up enjoying what we would have missed if everything had gone as originally planned.

At the end of it, we had about 120 delegates from across 8 countries whose participation and contagious energy along with the prayers and well-wishes of several others who were constantly connected throughout, that made the conference a truly inspiring and exceptional one.

The conference started with observing a 2-minute silence for the people of Kerala followed by a welcome address by Chitra Ravi, the conference Convener. The first panel comprising of Diane Salters, ITAA President, Susan George, SAATA President, Saaru PK, Patron and Dr. Philip John, a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and Chairman of the Biological Psychiatry Section, Indian Psychiatry Society set the tone for the conference sharing insights and views of culture and its implications on different aspects of our life. Diane who was wearing the South African traditional outfit “the Shweshwe” and shared its history and significance.  The first keynote was delivered by Dr. Philip John who took the delegates through the changing dynamics of life and culture and the importance of practising tolerance and developing resilience in today’s context. This was followed by certifications presented to the new TSTAs, CTAs and other trainee members for having cleared their SAATA Diploma in TA. Amidst great cheer, Mohanraj IA was bestowed the first SAATA Service Award for the year 2018.

gallery gallery
Adrienne Lee giving her keynote speech Dr. Philip John giving his keynote address at
the opening
gallery gallery
Elana Leigh (left) celebrates Richard Erskine's 2018, EBMA with Sharon Kalinko, who accepted it
on his behalf
Commemoration board with messages honoring the memory of Muriel James

Despite cancellations of some planned programs and panels, on both days of the conference there was plenty of interesting workshops and presentations that were on offer for delegates to choose from. Packed rooms, constant buzz and chatter between programs each sharing their experiences and learning from what they attended, also setting off some interesting discussions and conversations. Lunch and breaks on both days were therefore a sight to catch with the enthusiasm and joy vividly apparent.

Day -2 started with the Eric Berne Memorial Award presentation to Richard Erskine, this was his 3rd EBMA received amidst a standing ovation. The acceptance speech was read by Sharon Kalinko on his behalf. The highlight on Day-2 was also the keynote address by Adrienna Lee who in line with the theme of the Conference shared her experience and learnings through 4 of her key dances in her life. She concluded the keynote with an invitation to move from the philosophical goal of ‘Autonomy’ to ‘Homonomy’, which is a goal that is focussed on unity and enhancement of an interconnected community, thereby urging people to be the change they want to see in the world.

The conference ended with a thanksgiving duly acknowledging each and every contributor and organiser of the conference whose efforts and energy made the ‘almost impossible’ possible.

Much of the conference included workshops and events that revolved around the theme of culture by Senior Presenters. Several young presenters also offered fresh and innovative perspectives on TA and its applications in different contexts.

In addition to all of the workshops, awards, and other conference events, serious business was also dealt with by the Board members including successful conclusion of several exam processes that were scheduled.

A special gesture in memoriam of Muriel James was also arranged and her contributions to TA was duly acknowledged and celebrated in the conference.

A special note of thanks to all the delegates, international and domestic, who made it to the conference despite the hurdles and challenges that were thrown up. Also, a special mention to those who gave their best shot to make it but were unfortunately stranded or had to cancel their plans. A thankyou to all those who contributed to the Kerala Flood relief funds that were collected in the conference.

This conference is in more ways than one a salute to the undying spirit of the human race, which stands steadfast in the most testing of times. In going with the small activity that was conducted at the end of Adrienne Lee’s keynote – A Namaste is in order, which means…

“My soul honours your soul.
I am you in another form”

From the convener of the ITAA-SAATA Conference - Chitra Ravi

Priya Veeraraghavan
Chitra Ravi

As the convener of the ITAA-SAATA Conference at Kochi, 2018 I feel honored and proud to pen down a few lines.

The conference steering committee had left no stone unturned to explore with the different ways in which we would publicise the gradeur and the magnificence of this event.  We repeatedly sent out mailers, flyers, personal emails, etc. to many.  Our facebook page, linked in, newspapers carried regular updates about it. ITAA  members, other delegates, speakers, presenters, trainees, trainers from far and wide as well as the members from SAATA community registered for the conference and awaited these four days in great anticipation.

Nature played her hand and became much more enormous in force than all the planning that we had done, forcing the event to scale down, and just some of us were able to make it. 

What stands out for me is the huge sense of community feeling that this resulted in.  It was no longer a particular professional community or a particular status that each one of us represented.  The importance of how we all merged our unique needs to service the conference and make it as meaningful as possible became the collective objective.

I’m sure we all went through a multitude of emotions and were all left with a sense of both joy and sadness at the end.   Yet, I’m certain that there was a deep sense of satisfaction that we closed the conference with.

If I were to ask myself as to whether we could have done things differently during those four days in August, I’d say yes.. we could’ve prayed harder to the rain Gods!

It will remain an event to be remembered, for a multitude of reasons. I offer thanks to all those who made it there, made it possible.   I also offer a huge sense of regret to all those who couldn’t make it there.

Chitra Ravi
Convener, the ITAA-SAATA Kochi Conference 2018

Mohanraj I A receives SAATA' first Service Award for the year 2018

Click here to read the Presidential Address when the award was presented to Mohanraj I.A during the ITAA - SAATA Conference 2018 in Kochi.

Mohanraj-receving-award
Susan George presents I. A. Mohanraj with the
SAATA Service Award


Photo Gallery
 
Case Study

Creative Corner
TAzzle - The TA Crossword

Solutions & Winners of Previous Issue
EXPERIENCES
arr Dancing in Kochi
- Karen Pratt
arr Dance of My Emotions
- Arvind Shivakumar
arr CTA Exam Process
- Deepak Dhananjaya
arr Crossroads of the Heart & Mind
- Gauri Sharma
arr Stress Management in the Workplace
- Padmapriya B
arr An Award and an Afterword
- I.A Mohanraj
arr Oh My, What do I Say!
- C Suriyaprakash

Creative Corner
Yoga With A Pen
- V Priya

Poem: Time Never Waits
- Viji Mohanraj

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