Blog Post

HASTAC 2014 Opening Ceremony

Yesterday marked the first day of the 6th annual HASTAC 2014 conference and the first time that the conference is taking place outside of North America in Lima, Peru. The day opened with registration, as HASTAC personnel and the Peruvian Ministry of culture worked tirelessly to greet and register the influx of visitors and conference participants. Sitting in the lobby outside of the Auditorio Los Incas in the Ministry of Culture, I felt the buzz of excitement as people communicated across languages, greeted old friends, and welcomed new faces.

By 9:30 AM, the opening ceremony had begun and conference participants filed into the Auditorio Los Incas. After remarks from the Master of Ceremony, Mariela Noriega, the conference had two keynotes addresses. First, the Peruvian Minister of Culture, Diana Alvarez-Calderon Gallo welcomed everyone to Peru and highlighted the significance of the event. As HASTAC's first bilingual conference, HASTAC 2014 is putting into practice the principles of interculturality and interhemispheric cooperation.

After the Minister of Culture, the Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the Organization of American States in Washington D.C., Sherry Tross, presented in both Spanish and English. In Spanish, she greeted the conference, thanking the Ministry of Culture for the opportunity for us to come together. "Hoy más que nunca," she began , "entendemos la importancia de la comunicación desde distintos saberes que nos ayuda crear acciones concretas para impulsar el desarrollo." (Today more than ever, we understand the importance of communication from distinct forms of knowledge that help us create concrete actions that motivate development). Tross continued with comments in English, "This morning I met with the conference organizers for the first, and it was clear that they all have a shared passion for education and culture and working across disciplines."  She continue, "This HASTAC conference represents an opportunity for cooperation between policy makers and practitioners...Today I learned that HASTAC has over 14,000 members. When you have this kind of membership it says that people have found a value in what you do and people have found initiative. We believe that an opportunity for partnership and the ongoing partnership with the government of Peru will lead to solutions. These are important pathways to bring people together to find solutions that reside in the communities. We are trying to not just come up with a topdown approach, but to get community by-in."  In closing, Tross stated, "We want to make sure that we have something concrete going forward. We want to collaborate by doing because action is going to change and transform the communities in which we work. We should have the region's solutions informed by communities."

After Tross's statement, Dr. Cathy Davidson approached the podium and thanked, the Minister of Culture, Diana Alvarez-Calderon Gallo and Sherry Tross for their keynote addresses. She then said, "we are ready for four days of making and creating--exploring language and culture and all the challenges of transforming higher education. Difference is not our deficit, it is our operating system. Thanks to all that made this possible." Next, the co-chair of the conference, Dr. Burton closed the opening ceremony, and the day began with panels and a sense that despite our many difference collaboration is possible.

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