vrijdag 12 februari 2010

Africa day in the office

Yesterday seemed a bit of an Africa day in my office. It was the 20th anniversary of Nelsons Mandela's memorable walk to freedom. A moment to remember as his quote "education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" has become my motivation, motto and compass. The full quote is: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world…It is through education that a daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a child of farm worker can become the president…Only education will make lasting changes,” was one of Mandela’s enduring statements on education. And thus we had a small toast to commend this truly great man.
And then Africa arrived in my office via skype: Rilwanu Abdulsalami from Kaduna State University in Nigeria skyped in to briefly catch up. We worked together when I organised eIFL.net IP conferences for library directors in Africa and Asia in Istanbul. A great experience and Rilwanu's skype brought back happy memories. The conferences were a great success, judging by the reactions from the participants on the spot and in their feedback forms, but the running up to the conferences were not all bliss. Getting the visa, arranging the right flights with as few visa-needing transfers as possible, finding a good location....there were moments of stress. But we did manage to get librarians from nearly 50 countries together, not once but twice over the course of two years and that made it so very worthwhile. With all the visa regulations and the work that goes in, one could easily be tempted to not even try and organise such a conference. Which would be a shame, because with the right people, time and effort and some (not even a large!) budget it is very possible and a rewarding mutual educational experience. With the help of local organiser Byzas Tours and the good spirits of all participants, speakers and the team at eIFL.net. 
Looking forward to what next week will bring. At any rate another New Zealand day including catching up with New Zealand Futures Trust!

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