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ILTA LTRC Message from the President
Message from ILTA President
Dear ILTA Members and LTRC2020 Participants,
As the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread around the world, the International Language Testing Association (ILTA) Executive Board (EB) offers sympathies to the individuals and communities who have been impacted.  The ILTA EB understands that this is a time of uncertainty and concern for many.  As we respond to the ever-changing environment it is the well being of our members and the organization that remains our highest priority. 
The Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC) Organizing Committee has been working assiduously and under difficult circumstances to prepare for LTRC 2020 in Tunisia.  Conference data promised that the conference was to be a huge success, e.g., conference participation was high, over 140 registrants, at this stage of the early days of early registration period.  The conference had also exceeded its targets in terms of sponsorship.  I would like to take this opportunity to, once again, thank the Organizing Committee and all those who have been working to make LTRC2020 happen!  Also, many thanks to our generous conference sponsors and our exhibitors for their continued support of LTRC. 
In the current environment, there are many unanswered questions and unexpected consequences related to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation globally.  There is much we cannot predict!  The ILTA EB, the LTRC 2020 Organizing Committee, the ILTA-LTRC  Advisory Committee, and other groups/individuals have been in communication to gather information in order to make decisions about the future that minimize the likely impact of COVID-19 on our members, the organization, and public safety.  Until recently, the ILTA EB has been thinking that while it makes sense for conferences and meetings scheduled for the Spring to be canceled, LTRC 2020 is not till June, so we should wait out this health scare.  Increasingly, however, our understanding is changing.  The following are some recent statements and/or quotes received from various groups regarding the situation. 
  • “Many organizations are taking a two month perspective on events and staff travel, cancelling obvious ones in the short-term and maintaining a cautious approach to others further down the line.LTRC is three months away but in the current climate that is not far off.”
  • Some individuals have suggested a deadline of six-weeks prior to the conference to make a final go/no go decision about LTRC2020.Others have indicated, however, that “Six weeks will not do it.There is no way… [to be able] to make arrangements in time.”Most participants from impacted regions and countries will be scrambling, if at all possible, to be able to participate.
  • Some have also commented that the earlier a cancellation decision is made; the better able people are to minimize travel cancellation fees and other disruptions to their lives.
Such statements were made over the last few weeks, but the situation is rapidly changing in Tunisia and elsewhere.  COVID-19 has now been declared a global pandemic! 

Not holding an LTRC is unprecedented and can be argued to be detrimental to the profession in terms of sharing the latest research, projects, and exhibits.  In addition, there is the loss of networking, ushering in a new generation to the profession, having the conference in a new geographic area, etc.  While these losses are immeasurable, they have to be balanced with the alternative of moving forward with the conference in a context of an escalating situation of serious public health implications.  COVID-19 may be somewhat resolved in about two months but this is not certain information at all.  In addition, health organizations, universities, companies, and countries at large have issued travel restrictions, stopped funding for conferences and related meetings/gatherings.  Individuals are not even able to apply to secure visas (for individuals who need them) to be ready to make last minute travel arrangements.  We have also received messages that presenters/conference participants from large companies and/or countries are now unable to attend.  

Against this background and based on broad-based communication, as well as in close consultation with the LTRC 2020 Organizing and Advisory Committees, the ILTA EB has decided that the most judicious and practical decision isnot to move forward with LTRC 2020 as a scheduled face-to-face conference meeting on June 9-13.  We have not yet had the time to decide on and put an alternate plan in place.  Nevertheless, we wanted to make this announcement as soon as possible to give you more time to adjust your travel (flight and hotel) plans.  At this point,please refrain from requesting a conference registration refund until we have put a policy in place.  The refund policy will be dependent on the alternate plan we put forth.  A message will be issued later to address these matters.  ILTA will provide information in as timely a manner as possible.  Please pay close attention to announcements and updates on our ILTA website (
The ILTA EB, in conjunction with the LTRC 2020 Organizing Committee and various advisory committees and individuals, is now exploring other options to minimize/counter the impact of canceling LTRC as previously scheduled.  ALL options are on the table.  We are mindful that any alternative plan put forward will be somewhat disruptive and/or taxing.  The EB will try and mitigate such hardships as much as possible.  Again, these are unprecedented times with complex challenges and undue burdens.  We will move forward with what we think will be realistic plans that safeguard our members, honor work undertaken so far, provide access to current scholarship, limit financial liability, and accommodate commitments made and schemes already in action. 
Once again, we are hugely disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to hold LTRC2020 in Tunisia this June as planned, but the health and safety of our members and communities is a primary concern.  Additionally, this decision is consistent with determinations increasingly being made across the globe by most organizations in response to COVID-19 virus concerns.  We trust this is the right decision!  Please pay close attention to announcements and updates on our ILTA website ( so you can stay informed about future plans for LTRC 2020.  Stay safe!

The ILTA EB thoughts are with you during these difficult times. 
With Deep Regards,
Micheline Chalhoub-Deville, President

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