November 30, 2005
Dear ISSS Members and Friends,
It has been both an honor and an exciting challenge to serve as your President during these past few months following the 49th annual conference in Cancun. And it is my great pleasure to invite you to attend the 50th annual conference, to be held next July at Sonoma State University, located in Northern California about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco. It is a beautiful campus, with easy access to redwood forests, oceans, and wineries.
In the statement I wrote when I was nominated as a candidate for this position, I noted that I would focus on building stronger ties with other systems-oriented groups, that I would invite representatives from these groups to the annual meeting, and that I would do my best to carry forward the vision of the society’s founders, whose work has informed and inspired my own research and teaching, in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at Sonoma State.
I am happy to report that the program for next summer’s conference, as it has evolved in the intervening months, far exceeds the goals of my initial intentions. This is largely due to the tremendous support of the extended organizing committee, to whom I remain most grateful. Both the American Society for Cybernetics and the International Conference on Systems Thinking in Management (ICSTM2006) will be holding their annual meetings in conjunction with this 50th anniversary conference. Fritjof Capra will give the opening keynote on Sunday evening, July 9, so we hope you will schedule your arrival accordingly. Capra has served as my primary mentor in the theory and practice of systems, and I am pleased that he will be setting the tone for the week in his opening remarks. Other confirmed speakers include:
In his invitation to last year’s conference, Enrique Herrscher (ISSS President, 2004-2005) wrote that he hoped to encourage “dialogue, round table discussions, symposia organized by interested parties and joint discussion of related papers organized by SIG [Special Integration Group] chairs.” Following his example, the organizing committee for the Sonoma conference is planning to integrate more interactive formats into both the morning plenary and the afternoon breakout sessions, while still honoring more traditional papers presentations where SIG chairs deem that style appropriate. We have asked the SIG chairs to identify the format they intend to follow in the SIG calls for papers, which should be posted on the ISSS web site soon, where you can watch the evolving plans for the meeting. In addition to the established Special Integration Groups, we are planning some additional afternoon and evening sessions on economics, the arts, terrorism & peace, climate change, and local initiatives, along with a Bateson Forum. In addition, we are working with members of the Mexican and Latin American Systems Societies to develop a Spanish-speaking strand.
I would like to acknowledge the members of the extended organizing committee with sincerest appreciation for their collaborative efforts:
Local Organizing Committee:
The 50th anniversary conference promises to be a memorable event and I look forward to greeting you there.
ISSS President, 2005-2006