Blog Post

HASTAC 2014 Opening Remarks

It is the greatest imaginable honor to be able to open HASTAC’s first international conference outside North America.   It looks as if we will be welcoming over 400 people from over fifteen countries to “Hemispheric Pathways:  Critical Makers in International Networks. “  To be here in the beautiful, historic city of Lima, Peru, with so many new and exciting things happening, is truly a pleasure and an honor.   We are ready for four days of ideas and making, creating and experimenting, designing and exploring around technology, learning, policy, science, the environment, language and culture, all the grand challenges facing our world today.  Diversity is our motto this conference program.  And, in fact, one of HASTAC’s oldest mottos is “Difference is not our deficit.  It is our operating system.” 

On behalf of HASTAC I would like to convey my deep thanks to all who made this historic convening possible.  

First, of course, thanks go to our two tireless leaders, Co-chairs, Kevin Franklin, Executive Director of the University of Illinois Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (ICHASS),  and Luis Furlan, Director of the Center for Interactive Technologies, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.  

We extend our thanks to the tireless Aryanne Quintal of the Organization of American States, and Fabiana Raunelli Suarez of the Ministry of Culture of Peru.  You two have done something great together. We cannot thank you enough for your energy, intelligence, stamina, and creativity. Finally, thank you to everyone at the Ministry of Culture, including the technology staff, the simultaneous interpreters, and all of the building and catering staff, are working especially hard to make this a wonderful international event.  We thank them heartily.

I do not want to cut into the time of our opening keynote speaker today so I also hope that you will look to Page 5 of your Program, where I join in offering special thanks to Pablo Zuniga, Samuel Ashcallay, Bara Adan Gloria Varela, Roberto Bustamante, Juan Sebastian Foneseca and Anita Say Chan.  And then on pages 40 and 41, you will find a list two full pages long of the Organizing Committee members who were tireless in answering questions, offering answers, reading papers, editing and contributing to the form of the program and on and on.  

Finally, I wish to thank our keynote speakers—V. Sherry Tross, Executive secretary for Integral Development at the Organization of American States, Mozilla Project Leader Mitchell Baker, MacArthur Foundation Director of Education Connie Yowell, Scientist José-Carlos Mariátegui, Luis Jamie Castillo Butters, Vice-Minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Industries of the Ministry of culture, Economics Director Maryse Robert.   It is an honor to welcome you all.

A convention is many things but, perhaps most of all, it is a community coming together to put on an event and, conversely, it is an event revealing the strength of a community.  HASTAC began as a crazy idea.  Kevin Franklin, one of the founders, in 2002, had figured out that we live in a world too complex for any one discipline or method.  HASTAC’s founding events, at the National Science Foundation, included some of the most famous computational scientists in the world and, like the eminent humanists who gathered, they shared the conviction that the best science is always connected to the grand challenges of our world, and the grand challenges are not just about engineering but about culture, society, human values, human rights, and cross-cultural interdependency coupled with shared responsibility.  The human problems that, together, we all face require research, thinking, teaching, and learning across all the disciplines working together.

The HASTAC Alliance is very grateful for all you have done to put together a great “collaboratory” of ideas and projects that will unfold over the next few days not just in the seminar rooms but also in the halls, during the receptions, at dinners and parties, in bilingual conversations extending far into the future. As you all know, HASTAC is an open and free network.  We do not charge dues. We do not sell data. Our leadership is our network membership in the sense that anyone can—and should—step up and contribute in ways inspired by the open source movement.  That means that leaders who have put on this conference and who are donating their valuable time to make this conference possible have done so without the usual organizational financial support or ongoing institutional infrastructure.  That is a formidable challenge. Please join me in expressing our hearty appreciation for all these efforts    

Now, everyone, go forth and make this the very best HASTAC conference of all.   Thank you, welcome, and may you all have a wonderful four days together!


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