Vice Presidents, President FAN, Chair Evaluation Commission, Secretary-General, Branch and Section Chairs, , Distinguished Guests, and all members of the ICA General Assembly.
It is an honour for me to be present here tonight to accept the position of President ICA, an organisation with a proud past and an exciting future.
And as I refer to its proud past I wish to acknowledge the achievements of our outgoing president, Mr Martin Berendse.
Martin, we have benefitted so much from your term as president. Your leadership of the organisation was steady, assured and pragmatic but most of all had a clear vision for the changes that the ICA needed. Your legacy is an International Council on Archives that has a renewed constitution, better organisation, stronger governance and a vision and strategy suited to the times.
It is a vision and strategy that is right, that is necessary and that befits the ICA – a global, professional network looking toward the 3rd decade of the 21st Century.
Martin, thank you so much. And on behalf of all us within the ICA I would now like to present you with a gift of appreciation.
And so, to the future.
Over the next four years we will continue to build on our strengths, but also take on new directions.
We will continue our programs that strengthen our professionalism – through education, training and resources. We will also retain our commitment to solidarity, ensuring that our members that are less resourced can have more opportunities and assistance to develop the skills, the methods and operating frameworks required of a modern Archive. To ensure that all of us are able to perform our critical role: to protect, preserve and make accessible the records of humanity.
But now we must also look outward, beyond our own archival community.
We have a strategic priority to position archives as essential for good governance, administrative transparency and democratic accountability. We cannot accomplish by only convincing each other; instead we have to reach out and enter into other communities and networks. We need to influence contemporary thinking about governance and administration to ensure that laws, policies, government structures and financial investment decisions take proper account of the value and benefits of records management and archives.
As archivists we have a deep understanding of information. We understand its vulnerabilities, its sensitivities and of course its long term value.
We have a lot to offer to governments, business and to the broader community as they wrestle with the issues of the modern world and, if we do it right, I know our contributions will be welcomed and appreciated.
Of course there are many challenges ahead. Almost all of us face difficult financial constraints and some of us are currently facing very tough national or local issues that affect our ability to achieve our potential.
But let’s not forget we are a global organisation – united by our values and rich with talent. If each of us puts in what we can, we will find that we can get back what we need – but also so much more on top of that.
The ICA has two official languages, English and French – so perhaps I can conclude with this final thought:
L’ICA est une organisation remarquable et fiere d'une histoire datant de mille neuf cent quarant huit.
Aujourd'hui, nous avons la responsabilité devant l'histoire, nous devons assurer la continuité de notre croissance et de notre influence.
Nous vivons des temps de grand changement, pleins de nouvelles possibilités. Des temps ou nous pouvons parvenir a construire de grandes choses, et ou nous avons toutes les raisons de faire face au future avec confiance enthousiasme et optimisme.