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   Vol. 23 No. 5
Tuesday February 6, 2024

FIATA Past Presidents Future Vision

FIATA Past Presidents Future Vision

The global world is our environment and we are both limited by its boundaries and entitled to promote the development of its potential. We occupy a unique position that requires wisdom and balance in order to achieve positive results. This requires understanding and cooperation in each and every activity. In my view, these are the essential qualities of the sector I have proudly represented for many years. Freight forwarders provide indispensable services all over the world to keep industry and trade alive, thus providing the necessary bloodstream of our economies. These essential services are evolving to meet the more stringent objectives of a greener supply chain and FIATA leads the way in taking this contemporary challenge, as we have recently heard from FIATA’s top ranks in their Brussels Congress, and amply reported in these pages last year.
     More than once the same concerns recur in the following part of this piece. For a change this time, we hope that you would like to hear from a group of leaders in the global supply chain. We are sure you will find yourselves in tune with most of them and others you will read with interest and respect: so let us get there!
     As many of you know, FIATA is quietly reaching 100 years of age, and will celebrate its centennial in Milan in 2026. The association’s history is unique and very rich. I am proud I have served FIATA for a relatively long period of time in different positions. In this part of its history, FIATA benefits from the experience detained by a conspicuous number of Past Presidents, who are all here with us and provide their input to the industry through the FIATA Committee of Past Presidents (CoPP).
     De facto this is one of the most exclusive groups in transport and logistics, perhaps beyond this particular environment: in order to be part of it, you need to have served as FIATA President for the statutory two years’ term, but this actually means having managed to be elected as President of FIATA, which clearly requires exceptional traits of personality and, even more importantly, an almost life-long investment of time. Climbing from Delegate, to Chairperson, to Vice-President and Senior Vice-President before the last step, by then you have spent half of your active life in the making. After you have been elected President for two years, you cannot even go too swiftly, as you are obliged to serve as Immediate Past President for another two years’ terms. In other words, if you multiply the positions by the two years’ statutory rule, you do the math and you understand why it is such an illustrious aether to achieve. No idea whether the level of stamina can be scientifically measured, but if that chance existed, surely the FIATA Past presidents would collectively exceed all possible scales. So let us get started with their messages!

1997-1999   Abdelmalek Dahmani, Tunisia

abdelmalek dahmani and Sabiha Dahmani      It has been more than 40 years since I joined FIATA and attended almost all the congresses around the world, as well as the meetings in Zurich, and now Geneva. I have happily held various roles within FIATA, serving as a delegate for my association, president of the customs commission, vice president on the board, incoming president, and finally, president of FIATA in 1997. Throughout all these years, I have witnessed and actively participated in all the developments of our association, which we hope are positive. I have seen many of my friends and colleagues depart, and to replace them, a warm welcome to all the young individuals bringing their fresh perspectives and enthusiasm to sustain our association. At the dawn of this new year, I would like to extend my best wishes to all my colleagues, as well as the new FIATA staff, wishing them great success in their roles.
      During this terrible period, where the madness of men reaches its peak with the wars in Ukraine and Palestine, and the accompanying toll of thousands of dead and wounded, one could have hoped that with the end, or nearly the end, of COVID, we would take a break from horror and focus on the economic recovery that the world desperately needs. Alas, three times alas, human folly knows no bounds and must quench itself with atrocities.
      I would like to dream and wish for the new year that a miracle occurs, and that men, especially those who govern us, be infected with a virus named wisdom, reason, and love. May this Earth that sustains us be a place for all humans, regardless of their religious beliefs, gender, or colour, to live happily and in peace.

Chris Gillespie1999/2001   Chris Gillespie, Canada
      As I approach my retirement from regular employment in 2024 I can look back with fondness and pride at the opportunity I was provided to assume the Presidency of FIATA many years ago, (1999/2001). After serving our industry as President of our National association, CIFFA, as did my father and grandfather (its first president) before me, the FIATA Presidency was an honor few of us have the opportunity to aspire to, or fulfill.
      While challenges will always present themselves, they serve to make us stronger. The future remains bright for those of us who adapt, and why FIATA continues to play such an important role, keeping our members up to date as to global developments and how best to embrace them. My best wishes for 2024.

2003-2005   Issa Baluch, UAE
      2024 Greetings and Best Wishes! As a mentor to young leaders, I have encountered numerous inquiries about the ongoing wars in Europe and the Middle East, which continue to result in human suffering and losses.
      Personally, I am filled with bewilderment, having never imagined witnessing such widespread devastation. The roots of these conflicts often seem to lie in greed, pride, revenge, and perhaps insecurity. Despite the heartache and disappointments these events bring, let us remain hopeful and wish for 2024 to herald an era of peace, increased love, and a universal commitment to harmony

2009-2011   Jean-Claude Delen, Belgium
Jean-Claude Delen      New Year's Greetings and Best Wishes to all FIATA members and the Flying Typers’ readers! I am now serving as FIATA Past President and a member of the Committee of Past Presidents, but I have really devoted my life to our sector both in Belgium, in Europe and at international level. I have been part of this community in my functions – inter alia – in AEI and then in Deutsche Post DHL since . . . I do not want to say it: it is such a long time ago! I have also had the honour of serving the FIATA Foundation for Vocational Training and this presidential position was in my view the most important, as it is meant to provide training in logistics to those who might struggle to find such support, a great mission indeed.
      I have been an air cargo guy all my life and this is the area where I produced most of my energies, but I have never overlooked the other aspects of this fantastic career. Now I am cooperating with the airport of Brussels, and we were proud to host both FIATA’s and TIACA’s event last year in the Belgian capital. The air cargo community is a complex blend of personalities and opportunities, my advice to the young professional approaching our sector is to listen carefully and think about solutions, possibly out of the box. 2024 is ahead of us, rich in threats and promises. I can only hope that the latter prevail and we continue our path, if meandering, toward progress and development.
Best wishes to everyone.

2013-2015   Francesco S. Parisi, Italy
      The best time for me in 2023 was joining the FIATA Congress in Brussels. I had missed Busan in 2022, therefore Brussels was for me the first one after COVID and it was so good to see so many friends after four years! FIATA and similar organisations will continue to exist only if we can meet in person.
Most of our life we have experienced a world progressively opening up for free circulation of people, goods and capitals. Since 2008 and even more since 2016 it is going in the other direction. We experience neo-protectionist policies gaining ground almost everywhere. We have always been in favour of getting rid of red tape in order to share a bigger cake . . . now the cake is most likely going to shrink. I do not like this new trend, so I hope that development can return on its original path.
May you all have a wonderful 2024!

2021-2023   Ivan Petrov, Bulgaria
Ivan Petrov       Having completed my term as President last year, I can look back at the time when I started the process, quite a phase I must say. I am now serving as Immediate Past President, so I am in a way the last one to enter this group of distinguished personalities, who served as Presidents of FIATA, the international association I have been part of since 1985. Looking at the diversity and geography represented by my predecessors you really understand the magnitude of our organisation. As I had already noted, one is transformed by this experience. I had served our industry in the past as President of our National association in Bulgaria, and worked in a period which saw the transition from the Soviet era into the modern world, but the FIATA Presidency is indeed “something else”.
      My President’s tenure partially coincided with COVID isolation, but during the second half of it I could travel to all FIATA regions and meet so many members, but also high governmental officials and promote the positions of our industry globally. These days and this age is plagued by great uncertainty and I am not sure that all our technological progress corresponds with an equivalent progress on the human side, even though we have great examples of this before our eyes every day. I have done all that was in my power to serve the industry in the best manner, have seconded the reset project in FIATA, which was met with respect and open mindedness by our members. I would also add that it has been a big honour to serve the community, lead and adjust the FIATA global body during turbulent times. I am really happy that Marco asked me to send our members and FlyingTypers readers my best wishes for the the New Year. There will be many more opportunities to meet in future.
      With great respect.

      The Immediate Past President concludes this list of realistic, yet hopeful messages. You read in these words all the plight and concern of the present day and age, but also the hope and the unflinching determination to proceed that has always been in the chords of the organisations they have proudly represented.
      Asking these very busy entrepreneurs to sit and devote some of their time to the
Flying Typers’ readers has been a daring attempt in the final period of 2023, but their reaction was immediate and generous as usual. Past Presidents of FIATA, many thanks for your kind and intelligent guidance, for what you have importantly done in the past and what you are still doing for our sector and international trade at large.
      Let us conclude this article with our own best wishes for the New Year. It is not difficult to understand what we all want: peace, which is prerequisite to lead our businesses to the next step, without excessive burden and conditions. Ideally all those in command should read the wise suggestions and wishes of the FIATA Past Presidents and swiftly take measures to comply, thus conceding the vision for a better future in 2024 we all really need.
      Best wishes to all of you out there in the global world!

Marco Sorgetti

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