Letter from WAPOR President (March 2024)

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Note: This document was translated from English into many different languages. In case of any discrepancy or inconsistency between the English version and any other translation, the English version shall always prevail.

Robert Chung, WAPOR President

In my last letter, I made a plea to all members for submitting abstracts for our Seoul Conference. We had 125 submissions then. Thanks to members’ support, at the close of submission, not long after my call, the number of submissions shot up to 379, including 330 paper, 22 panel and 27 poster proposals. You are just incredible!

As of March 21, we have 435 individual members, 10 organizational members, 32 chapter only members and 4 Friends of WAPOR. This gives us a count of 481 members in our WAPOR Community, and that means about 80% of our current members have submitted a proposal. This is awesome!

Of course, not all submissions will end up to become real presentations, but record also shows that we once had an annual conference with total participants doubling the number of presenters. Let us try to beat that record. Our Executive Council (ExCo) has recently met on March 22 and set April 1 to 28 to be the period of early bird registration. Those of us who are not making presentations but will nevertheless like to help us out as National Representative (NR) participants, committee members, panel chairmen and discussants, floor speakers, or simply as workshop participants or conference audience, please register as early as possible. The more people we have, the better we can provide, under these fixed registration fees recently decided by ExCo:

  • Early bird registration: $300 for non-students, $100 for students;
  • Regular registration: $350 for non-students, $120 for students;
  • All conference registration fees mentioned apply to members only, non-members need to pay a higher fee equivalent to adding the membership fees of WAPOR and/or WAPOR Asia Pacific;
  • Student registration fees exclude welcome reception and awards banquet, which will be charged as optional items;
  • Workshop fee: free for members or conference participants; otherwise $100 will be charged for non-students and $50 for students, both including $10 as registration fee for becoming a Friend of WAPOR.

Our Conference Committee (CC) and Finance Committee (FC) will deliberate and decide on more details of the conference in due course. Meanwhile, all submissions are being reviewed, and all applicants will be informed of the result in time for early bird registration.

At our recent ExCo Meeting, our existing conference cycle was reviewed. Suggestions were made to establish a 4-year cycle comprising America, Europe, and two other world regions. The following choices have been suggested:

  • 2025: St Louis (with AAPOR) or Mexico, Latin America
  • 2026: Los Angeles (with AAPOR) or Mexico, Latin America
  • 2027: Europe (with ESRA)
  • 2028: Calgary (with AAPOR) or elsewhere
  • 2029: Kenya (with SSA) or elsewhere

ExCo welcomes all members, especial NRs, to bid for conferences in places they will recommend, whether such places have been named above or not. We will try to forecast our annual conferences four years ahead, but this will take some time to materialize.

Regarding NRs, ExCo also wants to make an open call to all members to nominate, including self-nominate, candidates for NRs for countries or regions not yet represented in WAPOR. Please check call for National Representatives at the WAPOR website for the status of NR openings. Nomination shall consist of a short biography or resume, accompanied by a personal statement outlining the reasons for application, past experience with WAPOR and the proposed activities in the role of being NR. A person may represent only one country or region at a time. At the discretion of the WAPOR Council, under special circumstances, NRs can be appointed if they reside outside the country or region they will represent.

One very important achievement of our latest ExCo Meeting is the adoption of the 2023 WAPOR Report to Membership, which is now available on our website. This is a collective effort of all Council Members, Chapter Presidents and, most important of all, our Executive Director heading our Secretariat. I quote what I wrote in the Report, and urge you to read the full Report which all colleagues have taken great effort to compile:

  • This is the third WAPOR Annual Report ever compiled in the present format… the mere length of them has increased from 13 pages to 34 pages. In terms of structure, the reports have grown from one single document with 13 sections, to become a full report with 19 chapters. Secretariat and Regional Chapter Reports are the latest additions.
  • Over the past 75 years, we have developed very successfully in areas of conceptual, methodological, professional, and cross-cultural studies. We shall treasure our achievements, but we shall also break new ground, like the application of advanced technologies, the breaking of barriers between different sciences, and even the integration of science and art.
  • In March, we installed an auto-translation plug-in program on our website, and all messages there can be read in more than 130 different languages by a single click… In August, we revived and re-configurated our WAPORnet system by creating new listserv groups using <wapor.simplelists.com>… Our new platform has remained “an open, unmoderated public forum for members to freely discuss important substantive and methodological topics related to the field of public opinion research.”
  • Our Constitution was reviewed and revised… they include, among others, the reorganization of the Secretariat, reconfiguration and redefinition of honorary posts, streamlining of many administrative and financial procedures, and most important of all, turning all Council seats into elected posts. The number of elected posts has grown from seven to ten.
  • In the name of accountability, the terms of reference for National Representatives (NR) have also been revised, and new appointment terms have been added. NRs now form an information hub of public opinion research development around the word.
  • In the area of transparency, other than setting the WAPORnet Guidelines mentioned, a policy on how to handle requests from pollsters around the world regarding threats to freedoms and violation of our ethics code was compiled.
  • In 2023, seven online ExCo Meetings were held, in January, March, May, July, September, October and December. For the full Council, seven meetings were held including a face-to-face one in September during our Annual Conference. All others were online meetings, held in February, April, June, August, November and December. All minutes of the ExCo Meetings are tabled at Council Meetings, and summaries of these meetings in the form of extracts from minutes or highlights of the Executive Director’s Report have been shared to members and readers in the President’s Letters of May, July and December.
  • In 2023, we have taken three major steps to further globalize ourselves: (1) Organizational membership… (2) Friends of WAPOR… (3) Regional Chapters can now set their own membership fees and structures, manage their own accounts if they so prefer, and we no longer withhold any portion of membership fees in exchange for administrative support.
  • The year started with 241 active members and by the end of the year, we hit the record of 641. This compares to 493 at the end of 2022 and has comfortably beaten our previous record of 604 set in 2012. If we add another 42 people who hold chapter-only membership, the total sum would go up to 683 members of one kind or another.

There are exactly four months before we meet in Seoul. In my last letter, I wrote, “This is my second and last year as the President of WAPOR… I do want to meet up with old friends and make new ones, around the world!” I now repeat my call adding this: Thanks to the support of many local sponsors, we have compressed our registration fees very significantly, especially for students and workshop-only attendees. This is truly a Joint Conference between our global and regional arms in very aspect, so please come to Seoul to witness a new chapter in our WAPOR history!

Humbly yours,

Robert Chung

WAPOR President