02 May 2010

IAALD 2010 World Congress: Notes from the closing session

The Montpellier Congress closed on Thursday 29 April 2010 with an informative and interactive sessions facilitated by outgoing IAALD president Peter Ballantyne of ILRI. The session aimed at review in plenary what it has been discussed, what it has we learned and what challenges were identified.

Chairs and rapporteurs presented the main messages that emerged from the different sessions - see the summary presentations.

Following the reporting back, participants clustered in small buzz groups and had the opportunity to discuss the summary reports, compare notes on their personal learning points and share general feedback they had for the Congress organisers.

The buzz group format was really appreciated by participants, who engaged in deep conversations and were anxious to get hold of the microphone and share their thoughts with the rest of the audience.

Some of the points arising from these very lively groups were:
  • the policy dimension of some of the issues discussed was sometimes missing; this would deserve more attention in the future;
  • the Congress could have been more participatory and less based on a traditional powerpoint format for the sessions;
  • different formats are required for people to engage and participate: for example, some discussions could take place before the event;
  • the social aspect of the IAALD Community emerged stronger and now needs to be fostered, also by using social media tools to build engagement and a sense of belonging to the community by the different members;
  • the profile of participants was already very much different from the 2008 Congress and the traditional IAALD audience; nevertherless, there's a need to invite other types of professionals and seek more diversity in the group;
  • the marketplace on the first day of the Congress was a great opportunity to talk, share and learn;
  • particular attention needs to be devoted to issues of knowledge sharing and knowledge management, and how to connect 'global' and 'local' knowledge, bringing this to the surface and building on it;
  • there's a need to create better links and synergies of information management between grassroots level and institutional level;
  • there's a need to bring and disseminate all the learning done in Montpellier to other people.
From his side, Jean-François Giovannetti, chairman of the Programme Committee for the 2010 IAALD Congress, shared with us his take home messages and highlighted the main points that he saw emerging from the event.

Besides the richness of the content discussed and presented, the useful information exchange that took place especially in the marketplace, and the focus on the local challenges, Giovannetti underlined 2 main elements.

On the one hand, he underlines the diversity among the participants, with information specialists, researchers and other practitioners discussing, exchanging ideas and enriching the conversations with their different specialisations and cultural backgrounds.

On the other, he appreciated how the congress discussed less about tools for the sake of tools, and more about how the tools can work for the people.

See the video interview with Jean-François Giovannetti

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