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2013 ISPI EMEA Conference

Anthony Marker

Dr. Marker’s Missives from ISPI-Europe*Middle East *Africa (EMEA)

Day 1
I have just arrived in Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi which is actually one of my favorite cities for the ISPI-EMEA conference so far. Roger, Michael and ISPI-EMEA organizer Carol Panza took a trip out to the Pheasant Tears Winery today. Driving through the countryside feels like sliding back in time to the 1940’s or 50’s. The winery is in a picturesque little village on a hill overlooking this vast valley. On the other side of the valley we could see the mountains that mark the border between Georgia and Russia. We were given a private tour of the winery, where they make wine using an ancient (8,000 year old) method that involves maturing the wine in beeswax lined clay pots set into the earth rather than the more common method using wooden casks. It really did have a different flavor. And, of course, it was good to catch up with the ISPI-EMEA crew.

On the way back from the winery, we stopped off at this little medieval castle that was just sitting there. We were commenting on how, if it had been in the US, it would have been vandalized in about 2 seconds because there were no doors, locks, guards. Or, it would have been tightly shut to prevent someone from going in, doing something stupid and hurting themselves, and then suing the government. In this case, it was just open for anyone to go into though it did have the Georgian flag flying from one of the ancient towers.

The conference this year will have approximately 96 attendees which will make for a good crowd for this venue. Today, I have a 3.5 hour workshop that is an introduction to human performance with approximately 25 to 30 people signed up to attend. Then, one of the other presenters cancelled at the last minute and I’ve offered to stand in and give a presentation on change management. The change management presentation will be tomorrow (Thursday).

Day 2
Was a good day. The Intro to Human Performance workshop went well. About 30 attendees. Well attended for this conference. Then I was able to have a nice long conversation with Juan Pablo Ortiz, the other workshop presenter. He does executive training and is based out of Sweden. While some notable people are missing, the ones that are here are engaged and active. The city is beautiful and every day on my walk from my hotel to the conference site I pass the Georgian Parliament. Really, quite stunning.