It is with heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of the 2020 International Convention in Detroit, July 2-5.

We know that this is a disappointment to our Fellowship, as every five years we look forward to celebrating sobriety, the Alcoholics Anonymous program of hope and recovery, and meeting dear friends, old and new, from around the world.

Planning for the International Convention started in 2008 when Detroit was chosen to host the 2020 event. From the moment the city was selected, local leaders extended a warm welcome to A.A., and the event was representative of Detroit’s own rebirth as a great convention city. The excitement shown by the A.A. community and the people of the greater Detroit area was seen throughout the 12-year planning process. We experienced a phenomenal response from local A.A. members ready to volunteer and welcome members from all over the world to the International Convention. The appreciation and welcome we received from the Detroit community, including their desire to share the city with the A.A. Fellowship, has been especially warm and overwhelming.

For many weeks, the General Service Board, directors, management team and planning partners for the International Convention have been monitoring the public health announcements in real time as daily life continues to change for every citizen of across the globe.

This is not a decision that is taken lightly. However, because of our numerous concerns related to the health and safety of our attendees, especially if 50,000 of us were to gather in Detroit in early July, we are confident it is the correct decision at this time. It has become clear that proceeding with a Convention of this magnitude in Michigan at that time is an unacceptable safety risk because of the uncertainty of the disease spread and containment. These are unprecedented times, impacting travel possibilities and requiring restrictions on large mass gatherings. For all of us, the health and well-being of our community comes first.

Due to the size and scale of the International Convention, the necessary contracts and work which must be started now, as well as travel arrangements, hotel availability, and Michigan’s Statewide shutdown creating more uncertainty and inability to move forward on convention production, we are called to make a decision now.

We want to share clearly that we have made this determination based on the facts available today and, most importantly, based on the sense of responsibility and genuine care we feel for all our attendees, as well as for the citizens of Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Canada.

We have thought long and hard in these past few weeks, consulting in depth with our planning partners, staff and the Detroit community before making this decision. Our theme “Love and Tolerance is our Code” has never felt truer, nor more important in these times of uncertainty. We remain grateful for your love and support. We look forward to a large and happy gathering of our Fellowship in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2025.

While the decision to cancel our International Convention is a difficult one, it is important to remember that Alcoholics Anonymous is not a place or an event; it exists in the hearts, minds and help freely offered. A.A. groups and members across the globe continue to focus on our primary purpose of carrying a message of hope and recovery; and with our shared code of love and tolerance, may we continue for so long as we are needed.

General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous



Last updated: March 28th, 2020