Different Strokes For Different Folks

Cancun! What a Terrific International Conference!

Cancun! What a terrific international conference!

The AAPG staff did an outstanding job assisting general chair Alfredo Guzmán and his committees for our most recent international meeting, held in late October. Asociación Mexicana de Geólogos Petroleros (AMGP) President Adán Oviedo and his executive committee made all attendees feel very welcome. At least 1,799 registrants participated in a splendid lineup of technical talks, exhibits, short courses, luncheons and social events.

For me it was an especially valuable time to discuss topics of interest with many international members — and the AMGP annual meeting, a formal event in which new officers are installed and recognition awards presented, gave me at least a couple of examples worth importing to you.

The Cancun conference also presented an opportunity to review, reflect and present information on AAPG's international heritage and current circumstances.

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Cancun! What a terrific international conference!

The AAPG staff did an outstanding job assisting general chair Alfredo Guzmán and his committees for our most recent international meeting, held in late October. Asociación Mexicana de Geólogos Petroleros (AMGP) President Adán Oviedo and his executive committee made all attendees feel very welcome. At least 1,799 registrants participated in a splendid lineup of technical talks, exhibits, short courses, luncheons and social events.

For me it was an especially valuable time to discuss topics of interest with many international members — and the AMGP annual meeting, a formal event in which new officers are installed and recognition awards presented, gave me at least a couple of examples worth importing to you.

The Cancun conference also presented an opportunity to review, reflect and present information on AAPG's international heritage and current circumstances.

As I remarked during the meeting's opening session, the very first issue of the BULLETIN (published in 1917 under our first name of the Southwestern Association of Petroleum Geologists) conveniently — and fittingly — carried two international articles:

  • Dutch geologist (and an AAPG founder) W.A.J.M. Van Waterschoot Van der Gracht's paper was about salt domes in northwest Europe.
  • K.D. White (another founder) reported on oil developments in Colombia.

Also shown to the audience during my talk was the change in proportions of international and U.S. members (all classes, based upon mailing addresses) since 1918. Today, international members constitute about one-third of the total.

A survey of "site-specific" or regional papers in the BULLETIN indicates about two-thirds of the total concern areas outside the United States.

So, is it fair that one-third of the membership gets two-thirds of these papers? In a narrow context it is not fair. But I hope you join me in believing it is NOT UNFAIR.

There are complications to this analysis: For example, some members with U.S. addresses are actually working outside the United States, while others may be working in the United States but on projects "overseas."

Of course, the reciprocal also applies, especially to international company employees working on Gulf of Mexico and Rocky Mountain basins while living outside the United States. More over, since exploration is a "leading edge" topic, perhaps we should expect fewer papers concerning mature regions.

Even so, most would agree that even with adjustments — i.e., areas of work focus — there seems to be a substantial disparity in favor of papers covering international locales.

I believe what is important is to consider all the products and services AAPG offers before coming to conclusions about fairness of distribution of such.

For example, the Distinguished Lecture Program in recent years has averaged about 25 percent of its total audience count outside the United States. About 40 percent of all schools visited in the last four years by the Visiting Geologist Program were outside the United States. On the other hand, the Student Expo/Job Fair has been used mostly by U.S.-based students (the new Virtual Student Expo initiative may provide a partial balancing).

If we look at all the products and services provided by AAPG we'll see a similar wide range of variables. Some favor international members, and others are more focused on members in the United States.

I hope you will join me in treating the mix as a natural outgrowth of "different strokes for different folks," and that members in general benefit greatly from the wide range of Association activities. This wide and growing choice of services makes the Association stronger. Let me hear from you as to how to make our "mix" even better. (Thanks to President-Elect Pete Rose for helpful suggestions.)

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