Sunday, August 14, 2005

IFLA 2005, Oslo: Day 3

Day 3 - 14 Aug 05, Sunday. Conference opening ceremony at Oslo Spektrum. Incidentally, this year is also Norway's 100th year of Independence, so it was quite appropriate to host IFLA here.
Olso2005 14Aug 001 Opening Ceremony

His Majesty King Harald V of Norway arrived at 10.45am sharp. I was seated way at the top of the indoor stadium and from my vantage point, the king was dressed in a simple business suit and looked like a typical business man.

Speeches were given...
Olso2005 14Aug 007 Minister Culture & Church Affairs Valgerd Svarstad
Minister of Culture & Church Affairs

There were performances...
Olso2005 14Aug 018 - Secret Garden

In one performance, the harpist was using electric guitar effects pedals like Reverb & Distortion. Never seen or heard that before for a harp!

Then the grand finale, where they paraded all the flags of the participating countries on stage. It's a packed stage.
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All very nice. Even the speeches were short and sweet. What I remember most from the ceremony was an annecdote from one of speaker, on the "Challenge of Change":
Einstein passed his assistant a set of exam questions for the year. His assistant asks, "Aren't these the same questions as last year?". And Einstein's reply: "Yes, but the answers have changed". Sort of sums up today's reality to some extent, doesn't it?

There's about 2500 participants. The reception hall was just packed with IFLA delegates.
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After the opening ceremony, I attended the session for Newcomers to IFLA. Seems there are a lot of newcomers, which certainly bodes well for IFLA. The speakers elaborated more on how IFLA is organised, what are the roles of the governing board, how decisions are made and encouraged participants to be involved in the various Standing Committees. IFLA has 8 divisions (called Sections) and 44 sub-sections (called Standing Committees).
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I'm beginning to see that it's the involvement in the committee work that differentiate IFLA from other conferences. The papers and presentations are organised and chaired by the respective Standing Committees (SC). Then there's the SC meetings that serve as platform for IFLA members (all volunteers for that section).

The way I see it, the papers and presentation serve as platform for intellectual discussions while the work at the SC level serve to carry out projects.

I don't have a full grasp of IFLA's structure yet -- its various sections and SCs, membership, voting rights. But I think I have enough information at this point to have a conceptual understanding of how my involvement in the Standing Committee ties in to IFLA and library work in general.

Later that evening, I went over to a place called "Stratos", where Jostein Gaarder (of Sophie's World) was one of the author speaking. I learnt that his name is pronounced as something like "Hoo-steen" (Jostein) "Gur-duur" (Gaarder).

The place was right at the rooftop where there's a magnificent view of Oslo.
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The author-talk was followed by a music performance, playing what seemed to me like a cross between jazz and new age ethereal music. Maybe it's unique Norwegian Jazz. Nice.
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