It’s hard to discuss the international dimension of our work as association executives without delving at least to some degree into the effect of the present administration’s foreign relations policy on how those outside the United States perceive us. In this particular federation the animus toward the United States is so pronounced that for the first time in the federation’s history, all U.S. delegates for office toppled in defeat. If it’s possible to be stunned but not surprised, that was our reaction. At the same time the federation issued a ballot asking member nations to support a dues overhaul that would increase the U.S. share by 8,000%. That is not a typo.
It has been a while since I’ve worked the international side of the business but I can’t say that that reaction surprises me. Unilateralism is completely antithetical to the mission and nature of associations. It’s going to take many years to rebuild trust around the world.