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Turning Challenges into Opportunities

Remote work from home has become the norm for the ISI Permanent Office and it is amazing how well we can cope with the work and turn challenges into opportunities. One year ago, I could not have imagined and would not have thought that all ISI staff would work from home, but it turned out to be possible and we are proud of the result. Of course we all miss our daily contacts and know the situation will not change before the start of 2021 so we need to be patient.  

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Turning Challenges into Opportunities
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Gratitude

November is the month when Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States. It is a day often characterized by gatherings of family and friends. This year is different. Many families will have remote, virtual meals together as part of efforts to control the continuing spread of COVID-19. Virtual gatherings of families are natural given how much of our paid work and volunteer work is being done virtually as well. While there may be disappointment with not being together, reasons to be thankful remain. I decided to focus my message this month on my gratitude for the work of ISI members and staff.

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Gratitude
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ISC as UNSC’s ancestor and the role of ISI in its creation

Exactly one hundred years ago, from 11 to 18 October 1920, an International Statistical Commission (ISC) met for the first time in Paris. This commission was set up within the framework of the League of Nations (Société des Nations, SdN) created one year earlier following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. This first meeting of the ISC was chaired by Luigi Bodio and Albert Delatour; Lucien March was its reporter.

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ISC as UNSC’s ancestor and the role of ISI in its creation
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What do you get for someone on World Statistics Day?

You know who is being honored on birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and even Labor Day. But who is being recognized and celebrated on World Statistics Day (WSD)? The simple and easy answer is the profession and practice of statistics. The WSD website, worldstatisticsday.org, describes this year’s theme: Connecting the world with data we can trust.

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What do you get for someone on World Statistics Day?
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Purposeful participating presence

Planning for the virtual World Statistics Congress 2021 continues. The final testing of the online submission system is occurring now. While I participated in multiple online conferences this summer, I recently had the pleasure of meeting (online!) with organizers of the Bernoulli-IMS One World Conference, Siva Athreya, Leif Döring (chair), Andreas Kyprianou, Jean-Christophe Mourrat, Christian Robert.

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Purposeful participating presence
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Creating Space

I had the pleasure of meeting educator and author Parker Palmer many years ago. He said that the role of a teacher is to create a space where students can learn. I thought about Palmer’s comment when I reflected on the role of a statistical society and conferences that it hosts. I like that ‘creating space’ contains two meanings – the act of creating space for some purpose and the space itself where a creative act occurs.

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Creating Space