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News Release

ASAE & The Center’s Members Helping to Plan Groundbreaking Global Social Responsibility Summit

November 7, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC — ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership’s Global Summit on Social Responsibility, first announced at the organizations’ Annual Meeting & Exposition in Chicago in August, is quickly taking shape after more than 60 industry thought leaders contributed their expertise and enthusiasm in a design meeting in Washington, DC, last week.

The Global Summit on Social Responsibility: Leveraging the Power of Associations for a New Magnitude of Leadership will take place April 30 – May 2, 2008 in multiple locations around the world, including a hub site at the soon-to-open Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, located just outside Washington, DC. Other gatherings will take place simultaneously in locations throughout the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe and Asia. ASAE & The Center expects strong online participation as well.

The Global Summit is an outgrowth of conversations facilitated by ASAE & The Center over the past year-and-a-half, and is based on the virtually limitless capacity associations and their industry partners have to effect positive change in the world.

“The members of ASAE & The Center represent virtually every industry, profession and social cause in existence. While we don’t know for sure what the outcomes of the Summit will be, we are tremendously excited about its potential to move the concept of social responsibility from conversation to action,” said ASAE President and CEO John Graham IV, CAE.

The Summit, which will not have speakers on the agenda, will be a “whole-system” discussion of social responsibility facilitated by Dr. David Cooperrider, the Director of the Center for Business as Agents of World Benefit at Case Western Reserve University. Cooperrider facilitates discussions using the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) management theory that helps organizations discover the power of strength-based approaches to planning and multi-stakeholder cooperation. His work has been particularly effective in effecting positive change in systems of very large and complex scale, including the U.S. Navy, Hewlett-Packard, the United Nations, and Verizon.

“Associations play a vital role in the world, and are already engaged in transforming society for the better. But the potential is there for so much more,” said Susan Sarfati, CAE, president and CEO of The Center for Association Leadership, and executive vice president of ASAE. “We envision the Global Summit as making the business case for social responsibility and, through the simplicity and power of human interaction, creating a shared vision for our future as organizations and as global citizens.”

The design meeting for the Global Summit took place in Washington, DC, Oct. 29-30, and was also facilitated by Cooperrider. Practicing the “whole-system” approach at the heart of the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) method, ASAE & The Center brought in a group of industry leaders to help plan the Summit that was representative of every member stakeholder category – association professionals, industry partners, consultants, academics, and staff.

“Everyone had equal seats at the table, and everyone had something of value to contribute,” Sarfati said of the design meetings. “The meeting was not only tremendously productive in designing crucial aspects of the Global Summit, it also left us feeling more inspired and energized about the Summit than ever before. We can’t wait to see where this type of collaboration will lead us as a professional community.”

For more information about ASAE & The Center’s Social Responsibility Initiative and the upcoming Global Summit, please visit our website at

MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Vest, 202-626-2798, 

About ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership

ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership are two organizations linked together by a common belief and passion.  We believe that associations have the power to transform society for the better.  Our passion is to help associations and association professionals achieve previously unimaginable levels of performance and reach even higher goals.  We accomplish this by fostering a learning community of association professionals, industry partners, outside thought leaders, and other stakeholders who embrace this vision.

The American Society of Association Executives is an individual membership organization of more than 22,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 11,000 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies, and voluntary organizations across the United States and in 50 countries around the globe.  Our members’ organizations represent such essential industries and professions as health care, manufacturing, banking, law, energy, insurance, and the list goes on. We are also a leading voice for the nonprofit sector, advocating for voluntary organizations so that they may continue to improve the quality of life in the United States.

The Center for Association Leadership is the premier provider of learning, knowledge, and future-oriented research for the association profession. The Center delivers innovative learning experiences, performance-enhancing resources, new thinking and models for the profession, opportunities for peer-to-peer collaboration, and strategic tools and data designed to advance the association profession. Offerings include nearly 100 professional development programs through Center University, environmental scanning and other future focused research, a peer –reviewed journal, and more than 5,000 online articles, models, and case studies. Together, ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership provide resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association community.

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