The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) conference is an important and fantastic conference especially for young up and coming researchers to make new friends and share their research with an international audience. For many of us - including Manu, Estelle, and Tom, the ATBC conferences were the first major conferences we attended and that lead to long lasting friendships in the field.
Our team organized the "Agricultural diversification and technologies for a global food systems transformation" symposium and we were planning to attend the conference in India with nine members from our lab - to showcase the great work that we are doing and to expose especially our Chinese colleagues for the first time to the buzzing international research community out there.
So we prepared Abstracts, Symposium proposals, visa applications and most importantly, we got VERY EXCITED TO TRAVEL TO INDIA TOGETHER. But then, last minute visas cancellations from the Indian site prevented not only us but also other colleagues from China and Malaysia to participate in this conference. Is it probably needless to say that this came as a HUGE disappointment to all of us - especially in a world and time, when face-to-face communication of the people that often are hidden behind their country names is so much needed.
We tried to make the best of it: Manu was on the way back from Brazil and presented offline in India. The rest of us presented our work online and we ultimately received great questions and comments. We used this as an opportunity to have an Indian lab dinner in Tom's favorite Indian restaurant in town - so everybody could taste a little bit of India.