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Achieving international excellence.

ASAE's award winners respond to a changing world.

Rapid world changes have prompted many associations to reach out internationally. Efforts to foster international trade or swap know-how with newly emerging democracies, for example, are all designed to help members forge new global opportunities.

Along the way, associations are developing innovative management practices in the international arena. Six outstanding programs in particular earned the 1992 International Achievement Awards presented by ASAE's International Section. The awards honor international excellence in three categories.

Trade, understanding, and humanitarianism

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, West Des Moines, organized a voluntary exchange program to help Hungarian farmers form effective grass-roots farm organizations in their emerging democracy. Iowa farmers are sharing expertise in free-market agriculture with their Hungarian counterparts through ongoing travel missions. By helping the Hungarians make the change from collective to private farming, the Iowans hope to foster trade and idea swapping with the farm people there.

The National Association of Display Industries, New York City, was presented the "Best Creative Idea Award" for its International Ambassador Program. To broaden a shrinking domestic customer base, NADI devised a way to entice international distributors to attend its two annual trade shows in New York City. Reliable international distributors of members' products earned the honorary title "NADI Ambassador." The clever idea has opened a vast new world of customers to NADI members and stimulated international trade.

Effective international management

Faced with a growing and more culturally diverse membership, Soroptimist International of the Americas, Philadelphia, restructured its traditional governance. Unable to accomplish long-range planning because of language and cultural barriers, for instance, the 72-year-old SIA implemented a cooperative reorganization plan with staff and key volunteers.

SIA reduced its board from 34 people to 13 members, along the way eliminating its executive committee. The 13 board members are now elected from 13 newly designated electoral areas divided up along distinct cultural and language lines. The new election process guarantees multicultural representation on the board. Interpreters are now present for quarterly board meetings, for which most written materials are translated ahead of time.

Top international programs

ACME, the Association of Management Consulting Firms, New York City, hosted and organized the Management Consultants 1990 World Conference. Three international associations--ACME and its European and Japanese competitors sharing the same membership base--joined forces as cosponsors of this industry event for the common good of their members. By bringing together 400 senior consulting executives from 34 countries, the conference exceeded expectations through new international trade and understanding.

The American Electronics Association, Santa Clara, California, initiated two joint procurement conferences, and now U.S. electronics suppliers can more easily penetrate a huge untapped market--Japanese-affiliated subsidiaries located here. The historic conferences drew a dozen Japanese buyers from such major U.S. subsidiaries as Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi. Finally meeting face-to-face with the Japanese businesspeople, the U.S. supplier representatives quickly learned the types of electronic parts the subsidiaries might buy from local vendors. Undertaken jointly with the Electronic Industries Association of Japan, Tokyo, the effort is spurring long-term business deals.

The American Youth Hostels, Inc., Washington, D.C., received honorable mention for introducing a new global corporate identity program called "Hostelling International." The staff created and distributed a logo with an accompanying how-to manual. Both the logo and the guideline manual were accepted as the new graphics standards for the International Youth Hostel Federation, London. The new logo distinguished the 6,000 IYHF hostels and will help members to more easily identify them in 70 countries worldwide.

Executives who manage the winning programs were saluted by their peers August 30 in opening ceremonies of ASAE's International Conference, held during the 72nd Annual Meeting & Exposition in Atlanta. Now in its sixth year, the International Achievement Awards program promotes idea sharing to increase the association community's expertise in operating internationally.

For information, call Carolyn Lugbill, section manager, (202) 626-2828; TDD/TT (202) 626-2803.

Kenneth P. Sommer is contributing editor of ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:American Society of Association Executives
Author:Sommer, Kenneth P.
Publication:Association Management
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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