21 Jul 2015

Between 25 and 27 November, 2015 the RSA Conference in China will take place in Hangzhou, China. The conference is built around "Harmonious Development, Common Prosperity and the Transformation of Cities and Regions".

As part of the conference you are invited to submit papers covering a variety of issues including:
  • International co-operation, infrastructure investment, finance and cross-border relationships (including the Silk Road Economic Belt' and the '21st Century Maritime Silk Road', internal and external EU borders);
  • Sustainable urbanization and regional development;
  • Nature, resource scarcity climate change and regional development;
  • Industrial policy, industrial structure, clusters, global value chains and production networks, smart specialization and spatial shift;
  • Trade, E-commerce, intellectual property and regional development;
  • Employment, labour markets and social inclusion;
  • Population dynamics, migration and urban and regional development;
  • The role of universities, public research and technology diffusion and transfer in economic development;
  • Regional and urban planning;
  • Global production networks and international relations;
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • Finance, financialization and regional and urban development;
  • Regional planning and policy;
  • Methods of urban and regional analysis and data including open and big data;
  • The social, institutional and ethical foundations of global development (including for example western Enlightenment ideas and ways of seeing urban and regional development, Confucian thought and East Asian models, developmental versus liberal states). Mutual respect, national independence and urban and regional development. Universal theory versus the social and geographical specificity of development.

The deadline for the paper submissions is 31st July 2015,and should be done using the Regional Studies Association online portal. Registration and submission is available on the Regional Studies Association website at: www.regionalstudies.org/conferences.

Submissions should take the form of 400-500 words abstracts (text only! no pictures, graphs or tables). 

For information concerning the event and/or registration fees and further details and questions regarding abstract submission  please visit the RSA online portal dedicated page of the conference, or contact Elizabeth Mitchell directly at elizabeth.mitchell [at] regionalstudies.org.

28 May 2015

This is a guest post by Dr. Ulrich Graute. He is an International Cooperation and Development Expert (UN, EU, national) and Senior Adviser, as well as a board member of the Regional Studies Association. Ulrich represents the RSA at a UN General Assembly Hearing on the Post 2015 Development Agenda on 26 and 27 May and volunteered to keep us up to date with the latest developments. This is the continuation of yesterday's post The RSA attends UN hearing with stakeholders on the new Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Four experts deliver a sharp analysis of the agenda …

Four pannelists ready to speak-up (left) and the moderator Magdy Martinez-Soliman of UNDP

Later during the conference a classic communication gap between UN and stakeholders became apparent. Four women from Kenya, Egypt, Mexico and India were asked to present their views on the agenda, its monitoring indicators and means of implementation. What the UN more cautiously had indicated in the concept note is that the final draft of the development agenda is already written (but not to be published before the end of May, i.e. a few days after the hearing) and that any major request for change from non-state stakeholders might spoil the already difficult task to find agreement on the agenda among 193 UN member states by September.

Well, the UN found a master in the four women who knew exactly where proposed goals and indicators for inclusiveness are too wishy-washy and where the more targeted goals and indicators exclude important aspects. Of course, as non-state stakeholders they are not responsible for the timing and diplomatic strategizing at the international level. They were just invited to speak at a hearing – and so they did.

… and the UN assures a punctual end of the debate

In a short intervention as RSA representative I tried to bridge the gap by asking panellists to talk about their local readiness to implement the agenda. By doing so they could have demonstrated that further ignoring the local situation by the UN could condemn the agenda to fail right from the beginning. Unfortunately, before giving the floor to the panellists the UN moderator collected a total of about fifteen statements. Not surprisingly, panellists were overwhelmed and did not even try to respond to all statements, questions etc. This way the session came to a punctual end. But I am quite sure that in the final report by the organizers the session will be described as a ‘lively and high level debate with plenty of meaningful interaction between UN and stakeholders’. 

What was achieved? What are the conclusions to be drawn?

After these negative remarks one has to ask for the added value of these events.
The UN has to be credited for delivering what was promised at the first place: Engaging stakeholders and organizing a public hearing. This is notable because in the past it was not common to organize such events while intergovernmental negotiations were on-going. The limited experience of the organizers may explain to some extend why the hearing was so formal and without real debate. For an “informal hearing” it was by far too formalistic. At the same time too little information was given to participants. The document available in advance, the concept note, was to generic and apparently it generated wrong expectations on the side of participants. Overall, the UN has to learn how to better engage non-state stakeholders.

On the side of academic institutions like RSA there are also lessons to be learned.

Firstly, we have to understand how important this engagement with non-academic institutions is for us. The Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS) launched a UK-wide campaign to lobby for the added value of social sciences. This wouldn't be necessary if researchers and scholars would attend and contribute to stakeholder events and joint search for problem-solving more frequently.

Secondly, when UN representatives assign an “important and leading” role to academic institutions (as it happened at the opening of the hearing) they predominantly think about academia as a provider of technical tools and magic formulas to save the planet and our living standard. There is less openness to admit that also a lot needs to be done to improve governance and management of global development processes – beginning with a better organization of informal hearings. It’s up to us to shatter the hope that a sustainable development on earth will be possible without improving the institutional framework and cooperation.

27 May 2015

This is a guest post by Dr. Ulrich Graute. He is an International Cooperation and Development Expert (UN, EU, national) and Senior Adviser, as well as a board member of the Regional Studies Association. Ulrich represents the RSA at a UN General Assembly Hearing on the Post 2015 Development Agenda on 26 and 27 May and volunteered to keep us up to date with the latest developments.

The UN called non-state stakeholders for a hearing but many member states didn't show up to hear them

Squaring the circle: engaging academia and countless non-governmental organisations in the process to develop one new development agenda for the world

Engaging academia is already a challenge for politicians. On my way to New York I was reading the new RSA publication "Spatially Rebalancing the UK Economy: The Need for a New Policy Model". The pamphlet recalled to my mind how easily politics can miss the right direction and generate imbalance and inequality. Of course, it gives also an example on what academia has to say and how researchers and scholars can contribute to new policies and developments. Last but not least, what the case of the UK also demonstrates is that academic advice is often ignored and - as in case of the UK - couldn't prevent negative developments of the past and present.

What's at stake at the UN is an even bigger challenge: It's about a new development agenda for the entire world - and eradication of poverty until 2030 is only one of the abitious goals. Resilient cities is another goal.  Overall, most of the 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target at having an impact on the territory around the world. The agenda is not only very ambitious, it also has a universal and transformative character. Thus, it is adressed even to you dear reader of these lines!

Participating NGOs don't accept the role assigned to them

About 200 representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society, major groups (one of them being academia) and the private sector meet today and tomorrow (26 and 27 May 2015) with representatives of the UN and its member states at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York for a hearing on the new agenda and its SDGs, which member states are about to launch at a special UN Summit this September.

The UN tried its best to pick speakers who can represent the wide range of groups adressed by the hearing. But it doesn't work. Already in the opening plenary Heather Grady spoiled the show: She came to New York as vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors but the group of philantropic institutions includes about 200.000 philantropic foundations in the US and Europe alone. There is no way and interest to represent them all. The same is true for me as RSA which is one big but certainly not the only academic association. Thus, there is a big dilemma: The UN needs the support of all the stakeholders invited but the limited number of stakeholders who came and fit into the General Assembly Hall is neither representative nor are they organized. I wonder how this will work out during this hearing?

10 Mar 2015

Dear colleagues we are pleased to announce a collaborative PhD studentship between the Department of Town and Regional Planning, University ofSheffield, the Regional Studies Association (RSA) and the Taylor & Francis Group. The supervisors for this project are Prof. Gordon Dabinett and Dr.Alasdair Rae (University of Sheffield) and Sally Hardy (Regional Studies Association). If you are interested please read through the details below:

Project Title:  The creation and reproduction of policy relevant spatial knowledge and new publishing models: A case study of regional studies.

  • Are you interested in the relationships between academic knowledge and policy action?
  • Do you think the impact of regional studies research can be increased?
  • Do you want to take part in a collaborative PhD supported by the Regional Studies Association and Taylor & Francis to explore how new publishing models are changing the regional studies community of interest?

If so, then this PhD studentship will be of interest to you.

To Apply:

We welcome applications from a wide range of subject/disciplinary backgrounds in the social sciences such as geography, planning, business and management studies or politics. We also recognise the value of practice-based experience, and will consider candidates with substantial experience.

These awards are only available to nationals from the UK and EU. UK applicants will be eligible for a full award (paying fees and maintenance at standard Research Council rates). EU applicants are normally eligible for a fees only award, unless they have been resident in the UK for 3 years immediately preceding the date of the award.

Enquiries and further details about making an application should be made to Prof. Gordon Dabinett: g.e.dabinett@sheffield.ac.uk and are available here.

9 Mar 2015

We are pleased to announce that as part of the Regional Studies Association's 50th anniversary new funding schemes and increased funding for Research Networks have been agreed. By offering these, the Association is seeking to raise the profile of regional research and its contribution if appropriate, to policy and practice. Research awards will be judged on the basis of the excellence of the research proposal and the ability of the applicant to communicate the results of the research broadly.

Please note that these schemes are open to RSA members only. However, non-members are encouraged to apply and join the RSA at the same time (not applicable for the Fellowship Research Grant).

Early Career Grant Scheme

This award is open to single applicants in their early career (five years maximum between the date showing on the PhD certificate and the application deadline). Applicants must be based within an eligible higher education institution (HEI) and must be a current, early career member of the RSA and throughout the duration of the grant. Please note that applicants may join the RSA as members at the same time as applying for the grant.

  • Value: up to £10,000 (or its equivalent in US$ or € depending upon the exchange rate at the time of the award).
  • Timeframe: Maximum time span of 18 months and reporting conditions apply.
  • Application process: From 2015 a two stage application process applies.
  • Application deadline (first selection round): 31st July 2015, 3pm (GMT)
  • Webpage: www.regionalstudies.org/funding/page/early-career-grant-scheme 

Membership Research Grant

This is a new research funding scheme introduced in 2015 which is intended primarily to provide opportunities for mid-career scholars who have already published in the field of regional studies and or science and who are current Individual members of the RSA.

  • Value: up to £5,000 (or its equivalent in US$ or € depending upon the exchange rate at the time of the award).
  • Timeframe: Maximum time span of 18 months and reporting conditions apply
  • Application process: A two stage application process applies
  • Application deadline (first selection round): 8th May 2015, 3pm (GMT)
  • Webpage: www.regionalstudies.org/funding/page/rsa-MeRSA-Grant

Fellowship Research Grant

This new award is open to Fellows of the RSA only. RSA Fellows are members who have been continuous members for a minimum of 5 years and who have also been defined as “active members”. This means that they have contributed to the life of the Association through serving on the Board or committees, have spoken at conferences, have applied for funding etc. Please email the membership team at membership@regionalstudies.org to check your eligibility for this category of membership.

  • Value: up to £7,500 (or its equivalent in US$ or € depending upon the exchange rate at the time of the award).
  • Timeframe: Maximum time span of 18 months and reporting conditions apply
  • Application process: A two stage application process applies
  • Application deadline (first selection round): 8th May 2015, 3pm (GMT)
  • Webpage: www.regionalstudies.org/funding/page/rsa-fellowship-research-grant-scheme 

2015-2016 Research Networks’ Funding Scheme

In 2015, the Association introduced an increased Research Networks’ funding scheme which is part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Association and available in 2015 and 2016 only. RSA Research Networks are formed by RSA members interested in meeting to examine an issue that responds to the aims and goals of the Association and is of interest and concern to members of the Association as well as non-members. The issue needs not necessarily to have a direct policy focus but the examination would normally lead to policy related conclusions.

  • Value: up to £10,000 (or its equivalent in US$ or € depending upon the exchange rate at the time of the award).
  • Timeframe: minimum of 3 years and reporting conditions apply
  • Application deadline: 31st July 2015, 4pm (GMT)
  • Webpage: http://www.regionalstudies.org/research

In addition to these research funding schemes, the RSA also offers Travel Grants.

Travel Grants

The RSA offers its members’ up to £500 towards travel and accommodation costs when attending a non -SA event. Recipients of the Travel Grant must be a member of the Association at the time of the application, at the time of travel and claim. Non-members are encouraged to apply and join the RSA at the same time.

  • Value: up to £500 (or its equivalent in US$ or € depending upon the exchange rate at the time of the award).
  • 2015 application deadlines: Friday 29th May, 3pm (GMT); Friday 28th August, 3pm (GMT); Friday 27th November, 3pm (GMT).
  • Webpage: http://www.regionalstudies.org/funding/page/rsa-travel-grant

For more details on these funding schemes, please see the specific web pages or email to office@regionalstudies.org .

3 Feb 2015

This is a guest post by Dr. Ulrich Graute. He is an International Cooperation and Development Expert (UN, EU, national) and Senior Adviser, as well as a board member of the Regional Studies Association. Ulrich talks about the engagement of the RSA in the global dialogue regarding sustainable development and how the organization became well established as a dialogue partner for the United Nations.

Would you agree that academics and politicians are often found in a love-hate relationship?

Politicians don’t like abstract discussions in the ‘ivory tower’ of academia, while they have to face ‘real problems in real life’. At the same time, they know that they need input from academia to better understand the world and identify solutions for impending problems. 

In contrast, academics often consider the pragmatism in politics as incompatible with the necessary rigidity of scientific approaches and methods. Thus, they often prefer staying among their peers and epistemic communities. Of course, what scholars like most next to their research is that somebody takes note and listens to their findings, applies research results and keeps funding academic work. Well, and because politicians are important gatekeepers to make that happen, many scholars and academic institutions (including RSA) build networks not only within academia but also with the world of decision-makers in politics and administration.

RSA is going beyond the academic world

The RSA obviously understands the primary interest of its members in academic exchange and, not surprisingly, the increasing number of academic events and research journals became a hallmark of the association and its success. At the same time RSA was, is and hopefully will always remain open for practitioners and will contribute to bridge any gap between regional science, urban and regional planning and politics. 

Where this is especially fruitful this are the academic and policy debates organized by EU Commission and RSA together with Latvian partners in form of the already second joint EU Cohesion Policy Conference in Riga, 4 - 6 February 2015.  

There is nothing similar, which could be said about the relation between RSA and the UN. The canyon between regional science and global politics and programmes is so deep that they not even share the same understanding on what is understood by a region. Whereas regional researchers usually refer to sub-national entities and occasional to cross-border areas, the global experts e.g. at the UN refer almost exclusively to world regions like Africa or Europe when they talk or write about regions. 

This division is nuts because neither practical politics nor academic work can ignore interrelations between policy levels and economic, social and environmental trends which go beyond single regions and countries. For RSA with its increasingly global membership and conference schedule between China, Brazil and Europe it was only a matter of time, until it realised that it was time to knock at the door of the UN.

Knocking at the door of the UN and getting engaged in the global dialogue on sustainable development

Following the implementation of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) between 2000 and 2015, the member states of the United Nations are about to launch in September 2015 an even more ambitious agenda called Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Eradication of poverty and resilient cities worldwide are just two of the challenging goals. 

RSA is in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council ECOSOC of the UN since 1984 but for most of the time was not active at the UN level. This changed last year when RSA Board Members got involved in UN events. I attended the first Integrated Segment of ECOSOC on Sustainable Urbanization and Gordon Dabinett participated at the UN expert group proposing International Guidelines to shape the Sustainable Development of Cities.

Now in 2015 and just months before the launch of the SDG the intergovernmental negotiations are entering their final stage. In this situation, the UN Secretariat held a preparatory forum for major groups, including academia and other civil society stakeholders. Again RSA took part in the event but by now RSA is listed on the Roster of ECOSOC, meaning that thanks to its contribution RSA is now well known at the UN and shortlisted for future cooperation. 

27 Jan 2015

This is a guest post by Dr. Sabrina Lai, RSRS EC Editor and Paper Manager. Sabrina is a Research Fellow at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture of the University of Cagliari (Italy), and an officer at the Department of the Environment of the Regional Administration of Sardinia.

As an Editor of the Early Career Section of Regional Studies, Regional Science, three or four times per year I take part in the selection of proposals that, once accepted, will undergo a “constructive review process” designed to help Early Careers improve the craft of academic writing and have their first independent paper published.

Last year (2014) we received and evaluated some 80 proposals, which gives us an informed insight into popular areas in the field of regional studies among young academics: smart specialization strategies, research and innovation, Florida’s creative class seem to be really in fashion these days! However, as someone deeply involved, both in academia and in policy-making, in environmental planning and related issues, I find the very small number of proposals we receive dealing with the role of regions in environmental matters or with environmental challenges at the regional scale really striking. The small number of submissions in the field obviously leads to a comparatively low number of environmental-related papers published in the journal: if we look back at the sixteen papers published in 2014 in the Early Career Section of the first year of Regional Studies, Regional Science, only one paper (by Maxwell Douglas Hartt) specifically deals with an urgent environmental problem (that is, impacts of storm surges in coastal areas).  Three other papers (by Kirstie O’Neill, Laura McKim, and Xiaohui Hu) do touch upon environmental-related issues (respectively, local food production, active commuting, and renewable energy) but with different perspectives (such as food security, urban density, path creation) without being precisely focused on the environmental dimension, consequences or implications.

And yet the role of regions is crucial in the achievement of many global targets, since they can contribute to ensuring air quality objectives, promoting efficient use of natural resources, implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity, increasing the share of renewables and reducing energy consumption, to name just a few... or at least this is what we get from a careful examination of the work of the Commission for Natural Resources (NAT) and of the Commission for Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE) of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union, who stated that “The transition to a sustainable future requires a multi-level governance approach; since resources and industries vary significantly from one region to the next, subnational and local governments are often best positioned to create tailored and efficient policies”.

There are a number of reasons that contribute towards explaining the low submission of environmental-related proposals. Out of these, I think that two are of particular importance.

Firstly, a perceived marginality of such topics in the field of regional studies and, related to that, the idea that “this is not the right audience” or that “other journals could offer a more suitable ground”, might play a key role. However, authors can still benefit from submitting their work to RSRS provided that they keep in mind that RSRS has a wide and varied audience, so they should carefully think about the aim of the article and structure it accordingly. Even though not many of them will be really accustomed to heavily technical or scientific language and details, “generalist readers interested in Regional Studies can understand even fairly complex techniques, as long as there is a clear explanation accompanying them – the trick lies in how you write the paper for this audience […] Do not ‘dumb down’ the explanations but – at the same time – use common sense to guide you in what a generalist reader would be expected to know or would need to know in order to follow your arguments”, as my colleague Paul Braidford wrote in a previous post about econometrics - just replace “complex techniques” with scientific language, specialised scientific topic, environmental modelling and the like.

The second important factor, to my mind, could lie in the extremely flexible and loose definition of a “region” when talking about environmental matters, which leads to different overlapping and even contrasting conceptualisations of regions, even in the same area: it is one thing, for instance, to think of a region in reference to management of water resources, and a very different thing to figure out what a region is when discussing climate change or integrated coastal zone management. This is actually not an issue as long as the underlying idea of the “region” is clearly explained, since “the ‘regional’ dimension may vary from trans-national spaces with fuzzy boundaries to clearly defined spaces at the sub-national level”, as potential authors can read in the call for paper proposals.

To sum up, we would be very pleased to receive more proposals related to environmental topics and to find out what the implications for academics, policy and practice at the regional scale are!
Please be aware that a call for proposals is now open and that the next deadline is February 15!

19 Jan 2015

We kick off this year with an anniversary joint guest post by our own RSA Chair Andrew Beer and RSA CEO Sally Hardy who wanted to express their reflective thoughts and hopes for the future regarding the Association, as this year we celebrate the 50th year of the Regional Studies Association.

Welcome to 2015, the 50th year of the Regional Studies Association!  

Since 1965 the Association has achieved a great deal in terms of fostering academic debate, engaging with policy agendas, building links with practitioners and encouraging the publication of high quality research.   The Association has moved from being a UK-focused entity to one with a truly global reach, and at the end of 2014 the RSA achieved its highest ever membership.  The launch of the China Division in September of 2014 was important at both a symbolic and practical level – reflecting a renewed commitment to engage with a global community of scholars working on regional issues.   

Where once we had a single major publication, now the Association runs a suite of four high-quality journals that place academic rigour at the forefront of their publishing efforts.  Our journals – Regional Studies; Spatial Economic Analysis; Territory, Politics, Governance and, Regional Studies, Regional Science are well regarded outlets about which we can feel justifiable pride.   Along the way there has been a great deal of innovation in the forms of publications we use – think, for example, of Regional Studies Regional Science our highly successful Open Access journal.  We also have an outstanding monograph series Regions and Cities that publishes high quality scholarship of relevance to our members. The monograph series serves us in two important ways: first it provides the teaching and research materials we need in our work; and, second, it provides an attractive outlet for our own scholarly activities.  We are always pleased to see the clustering of academics around Rob Langham – the Routledge Editor who frequently attends our conferences – as researchers pitch their ideas and look to disseminate their intellectual advances far and wide. 

As we have grown we have also been able to take a leading role in fostering the next generation of scholars, with our highly successful Early Career Researcher grants complemented by a very substantial commitment to assisting new scholars publish and to learn the craft of editing.  One of the remarkable features of the RSA is the relative youth of its membership.  Whereas many learned societies are dominated by those in the later stages of their careers, the RSA has a strong and vibrant cohort of younger members, contributing to the intellectual dynamism of the discipline and taking important roles in the management of the association. 

As an Association we have not endeavored to achieve growth for its own sake.  Instead, we remain deeply committed to our core goals of promoting regional research, debate and policy debate and, importantly, we recognize that regional issues do not acknowledge national borders.  We also accept that colleagues – and potential colleagues – working in other environments have important contributions to make to the issues we work upon.   For us, a larger debate around regional issues and policies is a better debate, as it is more inclusive, better informed and more likely to bring about positive change.  

The Association has been fortunate in being able to maintain many of its most attractive elements, despite change in academic life and policy environments.   There remains within the Association a commitment to intellectual life and the exploration of ideas, wherever they may lead.  There is also a focus on excellence, the importance of a good argument and a willingness to embrace a diversity of perspectives and methodologies.  Perhaps most importantly the Association has – as a cohort of colleagues – has been able to maintain its commitment to a sense of fun. Our conferences have been marked by both productive networking and engaging social events, including the formal dinners as well as the social/sporting events.   Who could forget the fierce competitiveness of some RSA staff members at the Tampere, Finland conference in the Floor Ball indoor version of hockey or the historic ten-pin bowling battles that have taken place at the Winter AGM?  I think the Association can take pride in the fact that we remain a human-focused organisation, with strong relationships between the members and our highly professional staff.  And I believe that an important part of that human orientation can be traced back to our regular newsletter – Regions – and Frank Peck and Gail Mulvey who orchestrate its production in an apparently seamless and effortless fashion. 

But a 50th year should not just be about looking back: there is much to anticipate for the coming year- and indeed the coming years – as the Association continues to evolve and develop.   In November last year the Board made a commitment to a number of new and exciting initiatives.  First, we will be working on the development on an exciting new journal focused on developing economies, this new outlet, entitled Area Development and Policy, will be led by Professors Mick Dunford and Wei Dong Liu based in Beijing.  Second, the Board has made a commitment to the introduction of two new grant schemes, one for Members of the Regional Studies Association and the other for Fellows of the Regional Studies Association.   Both initiatives were announced at the Winter Conference in London in November and those interested should check the website for details.  Third, we are moving toward the launch of our new Development Plan that will take us towards our 60th anniversary and into a new period marked by both opportunities and challenges. The Development Plan is already out for consultation, and we thank those RSA members who have already provided input.  Your thoughts and ideas have been very stimulating.  Fourth, in 2015 we will launch a major intellectual and policy initiative, that will both make clear the intellectual ambitions of the RSA and challenge policy makers to reprioritise their thinking. 

2015 promises to be an exciting year for RSA members in many ways.   The Piacenza Conference in May will be stimulating and an excellent opportunity to catch up with colleagues.  I encourage everyone to attend.  But in addition, we can also look forward to the Early Career Researcher Conference; an event in Melbourne, Australia in September and a major conference in Haungzhuo China, in November.   The year 2015 offers a cornucopia of opportunities to present your work, participate in academic debate and further develop your ideas.  We will of course, celebrate our 50th year in some considerable style, and there will be a major event associated with the Winter Conference in London in November. In 2014 the RSA returned the Winter Conference to a two day format, with considerable success, and we look to replicate that success this year.   Our Anniversary dinner is not to be missed.