Joan Van Albada

Former ICA Secretary General (1998-2008) 



Graduated in 1970, MA Social and Economic History, University of Groningen (Netherlands) and joined the State Archives of Groningen as a trainee archivist in the same year. He obtained the Diploma in Archives Management of the State Archives School in 1972. He served as municipal archivist in Tilburg 1973-80, ‘s-Hertogenbosch 1980-90 and Dordrecht 1990-98. He served ICA as its Secretary General 1998-2008.

He was active in archives associations in The Netherlands. He started serving ICA as volunteer as from 1982. He served as coordinator of International Archives Weeks 1984 and as editor of Janus. He also served on the steering committees of ICA/SPA and ICA/SMA as well as on the ICA Executive Committee.


Why I had a nice experience serving ICA


ICA was from the very beginning an intriguing organisation bringing together archives professionals and archives decision makers from around the globe, in an odd mixture of professional and political debate in  variety of languages. It allowed for discovering a hitherto unknown professional world and developing one's intercultural skills, turning working for ICA as volunteer into acquiring ICA as a life style.

Working as ICA's Secretary General was despite the hardships of the job (too much to be done with too few, though excellent people for an organisation run on a shoestring and too often under adverse circumstances). Despite this, working for ICA was my happiest professional experience and it allowed me to make friends for life from countries such as Austria, Belgium, Belize, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong-Kong, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nigeria, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, UAE, UK, Uruguay, USA and several more. Friends who shared in carrying the burden, who contradicted and opposed, friends focussing on serving the interests of ICA, the international melting pot of professional archivists. Working for ICA allowed me, I hope, to assist in strengthening the network of decision makers and archives professionals in a world divided by languages, professional traditions and economical and political realities, in advancing understanding of professional concepts, varying from professional ethics and professional standards and from professional development to preservation of the Memory of Mankind.


A quotation defining ICA from my point of view

ICA - small steps result in little headway; big steps would advance the cause of archives, of mankind, more rapidly. Most regrettably ICA is making mainly small steps. May the future be better!