Dear colleagues, dear supporters of the IYGU,
As this year comes to an end, we here at the IYGU would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of you who participated in the IYGU 2016, and made it the success that it is! Together we have already achieved something wonderful!
We reached millions of people on all continents with an impressively large number of small events but also some really big ones. Examples of the latter type include (i) with respect to the interface of science and the private sector the ESRI educational and user conferences in San Diego with 24,000 participants and the conference of the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CNI) in Rio de Janeiro; press reports on the latter reaching millions of readers in the Portuguese-speaking world and beyond. (ii) Regarding joint action of arts and science towards global sustainability the Green Fields Section of the Glastonbury Festival was a major achievement: with more than 150,000 people attending the Glastonbury Festival overall, an impressive number of speakers from the world of politics, and strong international TV and press coverage the IYGU reached millions of music enthusiasts and many musicians, both professional and casual. (iii) With regard to stimulating new approaches to scientific research the symposium at the Science Council of Japan was a promising start to a truly integrated cooperation of the natural, social, and human sciences. The IYGU also reached a large number of people through presentations, booths, and keynote speeches at various conferences. Some of the larger ones with an IYGU presence were the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), with more than 10,000 geographers from around the world, and the International Geographical Congress in Beijing with around 5,000 attendees. In addition, the Science and Technology Festival in Galway (Ireland), held with specific reference to the IYGU and under the theme ‘Science Rising’, attracted about 40,000 students.
Of course, not the size of an event is the most important, but the quality of ideas, dialogs, and exchanges. Sometimes smaller events have a more profound impact than larger ones. Therefore, each and every IYGU event is a crucial contribution to the project. I would like to congratulate all Regional Actions Centers and partners for their highly valuable contributions to the improvement of the understanding of everyone’s globalized living conditions and their local contexts.
What we have already achieved is a wonderful foundation on which to build and carry on our efforts in research, dialog, and outreach. The IYGU will continue beyond 2016! Exciting developments are going to take place during the '2017 IYGU Harvest Year'. One of its important projects is the 365 Best Practice Examples, 365 contributions to reach global sustainability. The IYGU seeks to compile and share these examples via a specific online platform. Also in 2017, several important competitions will be completed, we will have special events such as the EUROGEO conference in Amsterdam in March, the AAG meeting in Boston in April, or the World Humanities Conference in Liège in August 2017, and many more to come.
All in all, we have already created a very strong base, one that's capable of creating exciting future projects, and are looking forward to seeing what else we can achieve.
Please take a few minutes to read over our final update for the year and looking forward to collaborating with all of you in 2017!
IYGU Executive Director