CHAPTER UPDATE November 2013
On Progress and Membership Mo Saad, President, AIGA/ME Leen Sadder, Vice President, AIGA/ME
It’s been 5 months and a few days in change since a community of designers, enthusiasts and supporters came together on a quaint little rooftop in Beirut to hear about the launch of an exciting new initiative. Last summer, two years after the idea was first conceived, we found an opportune platform during Beirut Design Week to finally introduce AIGA Middle East, the first international chapter of the renowned design association. Our cautious nature did not prepare us for the overwhelming positive feedback from the community—which only validated the need for a consolidated design community, and encouraged us to move forward with our efforts. Since the launch, we’ve been working hard to define what it means to be AIGA Middle East and similarly what it means to become a member of AIGA Middle East. The conception of an idea is rarely a difficult task—it’s the careful and rigorous planning that poses the biggest challenge to introducing and implementing that idea. We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you our progress and vision for AIGA Middle East and to assure you that our passion for the initiative has not faltered. Our first step was to build the Beirut Operations Team—which now consists of 7 passionate members who are working hard to address the needs of the local design community. In addition to planning a calendar of events in Beirut for 2014, they have been busy identifying long-term projects and initiatives to collaborate on with local designers and student groups. As the team continues to make progress, we on the leadership side have also been busy creating a membership structure suitable for designers in the region. Many have wondered why opening up membership to the public has taken so long, and we want to thank you for being patient with us as we work out the kinks and learn as we go. To clarify, AIGA is a non-profit association formed 100 years ago on US soil and remains bound to US law. The birth of our international chapter in the Middle East, signifying the rise to a total of 68 chapters, has created a few new logistical challenges for the national headquarters in terms of how membership works outside of the United States. We are working closely with the national AIGA headquarters in New York to make AIGA Middle East a model for how international chapters will function from here on out, and it is these important details that have posed a slight delay. However, we are happy to report that membership tiers and rates will be announced as soon as the new year rolls around, so AIGA Middle East can start accepting membership starting 2014— which we are all very excited about. As we reach 600 followers, we are only reminded that our efforts in bettering the design community in the Middle East are worthwhile. It is our goal to make sure that AIGA Middle East succeeds in its mission to shed light on the design community in the Middle East and help tackle and solve the problems designers in the region face today—and we are confident that with you as committed members of this community, we can shift perceptions and make a difference, regardless of how long it takes. Thank you again for your continued support and patience, and stay tuned for exciting things to come!
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