This month is dominated by the news on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. What we did not think would be possible has happened. Day by day we are confronted with the horrifying images of devastation, military and civilian victims, as well as hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the country. The first groups of refugees have already arrived here in the Netherlands and are telling their heart-rending stories.
Many volunteers are ready to offer help to those who managed to leave the country; they are arranging shelter, providing the necessary goods and offering psychological support. The majority of Ukrainians however aren’t able to leave. The situation is too dangerous for civilians on the move whereas the male population has been called up to fight.
The ISI as an organization is deeply concerned about the consequences of the invasion – for the statistical community in Ukraine, and also for that in Russia. The consequence at this time is the end of collaboration between statisticians from Russia and their colleagues from many other countries.
The ISI has issued a Statement condemning the aggression and at the same time expressing support for the statistical community. The Statement states that the ISI has put its activities in Russia on hold. The Central Eurasian Outreach Committee with its new chair Alexey Ponomarenko has suspended its work. I hope from the bottom of my heart that the conflict will be resolved soon and that our work can resume. International cooperation is crucial for the development of statistical science and official statistics.
The ISI intends to develop a support programme that would involve help for Ukrainian students, for instance. We will inform you, our members, about the details and will appeal for your support soon.
Here in the Netherlands we appear to have got rid of COVID restrictions. We and can work in our offices again and meet each other. After two years of remote working, we are switching to a hybrid working model, partly remote and partly in the office.
Hybrid working will undoubtedly become the norm, and traveling will be less frequent than what we were used to in the pre-COVID times. Still, I’m really looking forward to my first trip over the past two years to the physical IAOS conference in Krakow, on 26-29 April. I can’t wait to meet colleagues in person.
My thoughts are with all those who are dealing with the Russian aggression today. May it end soon!
Ada van Krimpen