FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (was released June 25, 2020)
In a year of firsts for Alcoholics Anonymous, another first is on its way: a virtual International Convention experience, arriving online July 1 at www.aa.org.
“When the global pandemic forced us to cancel our International Convention, the first of which was held in 1950, it became clear that we needed to find a way to celebrate A.A.’s birthday and to honor and acknowledge members in Detroit who labored so hard to prepare for the Convention,” says Julio E., staff member on the International Convention assignment at A.A.’s General Service Office (G.S.O.) in New York City.
The result is the 2020 A.A. Online International Convention, which A.A. members around the world will be able to visit for the entire month of July at aa.org. Clicking on the link will take them to a virtual platform that includes a video welcome from the chair of A.A.’s General Service Board of Trustees; moving stories of individual A.A. members sharing their experience, strength and hope; a “Carry the Message Pavilion” focused on how A.A. members extend the hand of A.A. around the world; a presentation of the 40 millionth copy of A.A.’s basic text, Alcoholics Anonymous, to Dr. George Koob, director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA); a nod to the classic convention Flag Ceremony from countries where A.A. has taken root; a look forward to the Vancouver International Convention in 2025; and much more.
“Though the ‘in-person’ experience cannot take place for this Convention,” says Racy J., staff member on G.S.O.’s Public Information desk, “this virtual platform will allow us to celebrate A.A.’s message of hope and recovery with potentially millions of alcoholics from whom we are physically distanced, but can at least be digitally connected.”
A.A.’s cofounder, Bill W., might never have imagined this particular mode of connection when he made that first nickel phone call in Akron, Ohio, in 1935 that ultimately put him in touch with Dr. Bob S., A.A.’s other cofounder, and set off a chain reaction of events leading to the formation of a worldwide Fellowship that has saved countless lives. With Bill’s determination to spread the word of A.A. wherever alcoholics could be found, we can only imagine the admiration he may have had in our ability today to present the virtual reality of an online Convention.