International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement
Cancellation of the Zimbabwe 2020 Meeting

March 14th, 2020

The International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement (IWG) board, as well as Carol Wogrin and Val Maasdorp, met again today to discuss the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the IWG meeting planned for Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe from June 21st to June 26th, 2020.

Over the past week, COVID-19 has become a global issue of concern. As stated in my last message to you, the health and safety of members, member candidates and guests remains of paramount importance in the deliberations of the IWG board.

Over the past 10 days, the board conducted a survey of those who have already registered for the meeting and a second survey for those who had expressed an intention to do so. We received feedback from a total of 63 members.

In addition, the board has reviewed recent statements from the World Health Organization (WHO) and declarations from a number of governments with regards to COVID-19.

After careful consideration of the survey responses and the growing global concerns around COVID-19, the IWG board has made the difficult decision to cancel the Zimbabwe 2020 meeting.

After spending the past eighteen months preparing for the meeting, the board want to formally thank and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Carol Wogrin and Val Maasdorp. Carol and Val have worked tirelessly to ensure a successful meeting. For the IWG board, this is a profoundly sad decision that we are required to make.

The board remains committed to holding a meeting of the organization in Africa, but believe that it would be an unacceptable risk to bring our international community together at this time. At our February 2020 board meeting, the board approved a proposal for the next meeting of the IWG to be held in Losby, Norway from October 3rd to October 8th, 2021.

The IWG will provide a full refund of all registration fees, tour payments and donations. These will be processed within the next 14 days.

Thank you for the many messages of support and understanding which the board has received. Although we will not be meeting in person this year, I know that the bonds of friendship and support that we share will continue to sustain us during these difficult times.

Amy Chow (Chair) and board members
International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement