June 02, 2004

On May 25, the boards of the American Society of Association Executives, Greater Washington Society of Association Executives, ASAE Foundation and Center for Association Leadership voted to approve combining their four groups into two: ASAE and the Center for Association Leadership. The final hurdle for the merger plan will be a vote by all GWSAE members, set to take place June 30. "If GWSAE members vote to approve this merger, we intend to provide a strong, unified voice for the association profession and a comprehensive global source for learning and knowledge for the association community," said Susan Sarfati, president and CEO of the Center for Association Leadership. If the merger goes forward, the Center for Association Leadership and ASAE will share a unified staff but will have separate boards linked by members who serve on both.

The European Union and the United States entered into an antiterrorism agreement last Friday to collect and share data on passengers flying between the United States and the E.U. Under the three-and-a-half year agreement, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will access and store 34 kinds of information on travelers in order to screen out potential terrorists and members of organized crime groups. According to officials, the department will filter and delete information revealing a passenger's race, religion or health status, such as requests for special meals or disability accommodations. The agreement also authorizes the Transportation Security Administration to use some of the data for testing CAPPS II, pending authorization of the controversial screening program.

This month, the Protective Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security will begin offering regularly scheduled free terrorism awareness and training sessions to the lodging industry. The seminars will cover various scenarios, possible responses and the role of the DHS. The first session takes place June 25 in Portland, Ore., followed by classes in Seattle; Tampa; and Newark, N.J.

Beginning today, Paris' Royal Monceau Hotel is under the management of the Mandarin Oriental Group. The 203-room property will undergo an extensive renovation that will be completed in 2005. The property will be downsized to 180 guest rooms, and six meeting rooms will be renovated. Later this year, the hotel will be reflagged as the Royal Monceau Mandarin Oriental, Paris.

The Westin Governor Morris in Morristown, N.J., closed June 1 for a $15 million, top-to-bottom renovation, to last about three months. In addition to receiving a complete design makeover, the property will grow from 196 rooms to 232, and from 10,000 to 25,000 square feet of meeting space.