Administrating an international conference that draws delegates from many nations, some lacking sophisticated communications and all far distant from the meeting venue is a complex business.
That’s why the sponsors of this week’s International Forum on Demining and Victim Assistance in Phnom Penh drew on the organizational talents of Toshiko Hamano and Yuko Ogino, two Japanese women with a wealth of experience in taking the intent of a conference and making it a reality.
For three months, Hamano and Ogino compiled databases, drafted lists and agendas, controlled budgets, contacted interested parties, oversaw logistics and generally tended to the myriad details of conference organization.
Although they come from the same part of the world—Hamano from Tokyo and Ogino from nearby Kanagawa—and both previously worked for Unicef, the women did not meet until they came to work for the Cambodian Mine Action Center in Phnom Penh. Their previous locations included Bangladesh, Thailand, Somalia and Lesotho.
Seeing the project through from initial planning to registration and last-minute seating arrangements, Hamano and Ogino admit, has been exhausting.
So what’s next on their agenda? No doubt in their minds; Hamano and Ogino are going to wind up the details, tidy their desks at CMAC and head home to Japan for a rest.