Dear IDEAS members,
IDEAS is going through exciting times. We have been able to get financial support for bursaries for participants from developing countries at the Global Assembly 2015 in Bangkok on 26-30 October. The Call for Abstracts has been published and the first proposals have already been received. UNDP is busy with contracting venue and hotel for the NEC and IDEAS conferences, which will be held in parallel. We expect to open registration for the Global Assembly in May. Meanwhile the Board in collaboration with ITIG coordinators is busy preparing the Global Assembly: discussing the programme and identifying joint sessions with NEC. We are looking forward to offer you a package that is intellectually stimulating and focusing on the main challenge that evaluation will face in the coming decade: that of evaluating the sustainability of economic, social and environmental development, poverty alleviation and gender improvement. More announcements will follow in the coming weeks.
We have also had to say goodbye in the Board to two outstanding Board members. Linda Morra-Imas served as Secretary to the Board for two terms and had to retire from the Board. She has been one of the most active Secretaries in IDEAS’ history. Her achievements are many and IDEAS and the evaluation community should be thankful for her untiring support for professionalization, qualification and credentialing, which has grown over time to become better understood and now seen by many as a major challenge for the profession in the coming decade. If we as evaluators do not establish norms, principles and standards applying to our profession, others may do it for us. There are still many steps to take and pitfalls to avoid, but Linda has helped us and the profession by moving forward while many were still reluctant to take this up. Secondly she has supported the development of ethics guidelines; IDEAS now has an approved version of the guidelines available for all members, and in no small measure we have to thank Linda for this. One more highlight in her work for IDEAS has been the support for IDEAS thematic interest groups. As a parting present for IDEAS Linda has offered to support a newsletter for IDEAS members that is being planned. We should offer our heartfelt thanks to Linda for all she has done for IDEAS. With her departure the era of the golden IPDET duo Ray and Linda at the helm of IDEAS is now at an end – may they still continue on strong with IPDET and remain involved in IDEAS.
We were also forced to say goodbye to Pablo Rodriguez-Bilella, who served one term as Board member. The constitution and the election by-laws of IDEAS limit the number of developing country Board members to six. The original intent of this was to ensure sufficient representation of the Global South. For the first time IDEAS is confronted with the fact that this rule actually can lead to the loss of developing country member in the Board. This happened to Pablo when Cristina Magro was elected as Secretary of the Board, and for a short while we had 7 members from developing countries. As a result Pablo was not allowed to stand for a second term as Board member. His main achievements were to help and support the Board in dealing with social media. His enthusiasm and support will be missed! The Board is now reconstituted with two new members. We welcome and congratulate Cristina Magro as the new Secretary of the Board and Michele Tarsilla as new member from a developed country. The Board looks forward to work with them.
We will need to have a close look at the Constitution and the By-laws for Election. The rule of six and only six members of the Board from developing countries has turned from a stimulant to a constraint. And do we feel that “developing countries” is still a useful category, if it incorporates China on the one hand and a Pacific Island like Vanuatu (just ravished by a hurricane and threatened by rising sea levels) on the other? The by-laws offer the perspective of promotion of candidates through the website – we’ve seen an increase in other ways to reach out, which may or may not have led to an uneven playing field. The Global Assembly 2015 should be used to rethink our governance and election system and to take decisions.
In May we will also move to a new website, developed thanks to a grant from EduEval. We hope the new website will provide more possibilities for interactive engagement with members.
As I started off, IDEAS is going through exciting times. The Global Assembly is half a year away and registration will open in May. A newsletter for IDEAS members is going to be developed. The Board welcomes new members and will reconstitute itself in the coming weeks. We need to continue to be ready for the future, think about our profession and whether our organization is ready and able to deal with the challenges we are facing in the next decade.
Rob D. van den Berg