Sunday, August 27, 2006

Off to IFLA 2006: Opening & Closing Ceremonies (Part 3)

[From: Off to IFLA 2006: Thoughts and stuff (Part 2)]

Some pictures from the opening and closing ceremonies. The 2006 conference was held at this place called COEX in Seoul. It's a convention centre, like Singapore's Suntec Convention Centre).

Opening Ceremony on 20th Aug 2006:
IFLA 2006 Opening 1 IFLA 2006 Opening 5

The highlight (for me) was the keynote speech by former South Korean President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr. Kim Dae-jung. The theme of this year's IFLA conference was "Libraries as dynamic engines for the knowledge and information society", so it was most apt to have Dr. Kim present the keynote speech.
IFLA 2006 Opening 8 IFLA 2006 Opening7

In his speech (given in Korean, and simultaneously translated) he mentioned how, during his house arrest, he'd read numerous books and he'd also wrote a few. When a man like Dr. Kim said he truly believed that libraries were a force for social change, you'd sit up and take notice.

To be honest, I've forgotten the exact words in his speech. But I'm left with that... quiet sense of inspiration about the present and future roles of libraries (a bit more about this in an upcoming post).

Some seasoned IFLA participants told me the Seoul opening ceremony was one of the best, if not the most outstanding one so far (in terms of entertainment value and keynote speech). I can't agree or disgree. This is only my 2nd IFLA conference. I've only got Oslo's opening ceremony to compare with but I must agree the Seoul conference is very well planned and executed.

IFLA 2006 Opening 6 IFLA 2006 Opening 9 IFLA 2006 Opening 4 IFLA 2006 Opening IFLA 2006 Opening 2

Closing Ceremony, 24th Aug:
Here's a shot of the closing ceremony (there wasn't any major performance, in case you were wondering -- closing ceremonies were relatively subdued affairs compared to the opening).
IFLA 2006 Closing Ceremony 1

As per tradition, they'd announce the winner of the 2005/ 2006 Best Newsletter Award. As mentioned in the previous post, our section's newsletter got 2nd place. The 1st place for 2005/ 2006 went to the School Libraries and Resource Centers Section.
IFLA 2006 Closing Ceremony (Best Newsletter 2006)

Take a look at their May 2006 issue (PDF). I like their thematic issues. Content is informative as well. Nice.

Overall, what impressed me the most for this conference was the meticulous planning and execution of the events-- from the availability of the many IFLA volunteers (LIS students from the Korean institutions), the ushering and organisation of the library tours, the fuss-free and super efficient security clearances, the cultural evening showcase (which bowled over many delegates from Europe). Support from the Korean government was evident.

I heard there were 5,000 delegates, so you can imagine the scale of planning and implementation. If Singapore were to organise an IFLA conference, the Seoul conference would be my benchmark thus far.

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  1. The conference looks pretty high-tech :)

  2. At least for the opening ceremony. It had elements of Hi-Tech and human-touch. There was an orchestra in one of the picture but my shot didn't do it justice. Conference venue also had free Wifi. But I felt overall, it could've been more examples of incorporating technology to the conference given how South Korea is so wired. But I guess the conference proceedings itself was not within the korean's purview. IFLA itself is still quite traditional in its approach to the conference, IMHO.


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