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Published three times a year, the ISI Newsletter provides a broad overview of the Institute's activities, and also includes additional information of interest to statisticians. The Newsletter is sent to all members of the ISI and its Sections (approx. 5,000) as part of their membership.
Editors: Mr. W. Senden and Ms. S. Mehta, Graphic Designer: Mr. H. Lucas
In this online Issue Message from the President Message from the Director Tribute to Daniel Berze Summary of the ISI Council Meeting A Special Conference of Young Statisticians 57th ISI Session in Durban: Latest News and IPMs News of Members ISI Membership Elections 2008 Awards, Prizes and Competitions ISI Committee Matters: Sports, Astrostatistics, Forensic, Humanities Historical Anniversaries: Emile Durkheim The ISI Permanent Office has moved to new premises - Photos Calendar of Events News from ISI Sections Volume 32, No. 3 (96) 2008
Message from the President
Denise Lievesley, President ISI, and
Dr. Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General, Statistics South Africa
Since my last note for the ISI Newsletter, I have been fortunate to visit South Africa on three occasions and each time my excitement and anticipation of the ISI Session grows. The city of Durban, once home to Mahatma Gandhi, prides itself as a prime destination for world conferences. The ICC is rated among the top ten worldwide. I do hope that 16-22 August are firmly in your diaries for 2009. Durban is beautifully located beside some wonderful beaches and close to impressive mountains. Tours are being planned including game reserves, the Natal battlefields from the Anglo-Boer War and cultural villages, but it will also be possible for you to customize your own tour with a group of friends, colleagues or for your family’s annual holiday.
The Conference will begin with an opening ceremony and evening reception on Sunday, 16th August, and will be packed full of scientific sessions (with the exception of Wednesday afternoon which is free for sightseeing) until the evening of Saturday, 22nd August, when there will be a splendid closing ceremony and gala dinner. For more details on the ISI Durban Session, see here. The Programme Committee under the leadership of John Kovar has been extremely busy as you will see here.
The South African team for Durban has been strengthened by the appointment of Jairo Arrow as the new Executive Secretary for the Conference. Jairo originates from the Sudan and has been a member of staff in Statistics South Africa since 1997. It is a pleasure to work with him but I am also extremely happy that Jacky Galpin remains a key member of the team, and that Miranda Mafafo remains committed to the development of projects which means that the ISI meeting will leave a legacy in Africa.
In the last few months, I attended two conferences held backto- back in Kampala, Uganda. The first was the High Level Policy Dialogue on Gender Statistics for Socio-economic Development. This was attended by representatives from 35 countries and national and international organizations with the overall objective of raising statisticians’ awareness of the urgent need to take account of the gender dimension in their work. I was fascinated by the discussions on the importance of ensuring not only that data collection is gender-sensitive but also that statistical and substantive analyses address gender. This arose in relation to developments in Africa because of the particularly important role played by women in the economy and in the health and education of their families. The participants at the meeting approved the formation of the Kampala City Group on Gender Statistics and I am confident that we will see an improvement in the quality of both data and analysis pioneered by this group.
The second Conference in Uganda had as its theme “Statistics for Emerging Global Concerns”. This three-day bilingual conference attracted 200 participants from 25 African countries, international agencies and development partners. I was honoured to give an opening lecture at what was a very lively and engaging event. It provided an excellent opportunity to discuss the fact that whilst national statistical systems need to adapt to changing priorities, they must not forget the importance of the key underlying data provided by population and agricultural Censuses. The importance was highlighted of developing a strong profession of statistics with relevant training provided by the Universities and training centres, and good linkages between the official and academic statisticians.
Together with my colleague at the UNECA, Awa Thiongane from Senegal (who was the first African female director of a national statistical agency), I convened a side meeting of Women Statisticians. We had several objectives: to inform participants of Awa’s plans to develop a video on women in statistics; to encourage them to prepare papers for the ISI Durban Congress and to seek funding to attend; to identify national correspondents for the ISI Women in Statistics network; and to explore the need for mentoring schemes for women statisticians. There was tremendous enthusiasm for these initiatives and strong support for a forum where women can discuss their work and careers.
At the invitation of the Ugandan Statistical Society, I presented a paper on the role of statistical societies and also convened a meeting with representatives of existing national statistical societies as well as with participants from countries with aspirations to create them. The aim was to discuss how we can build a network across Africa for statistical societies to share information, expertise and experiences, and to support one another. We also considered the role of an African statistical society as an umbrella body but no conclusion was reached on when such a regional statistical society should be re-established. In particular, some concern was expressed that the establishment of the regional society might militate against the setting up of national societies. I am sure that this debate will continue.
Arising from the discussions in Uganda, I was pleased to be invited to Kenya to attend a meeting of the newly created Kenyan National Statistical Society that took place at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. They plan to launch the society on African Statistics Day this year (18 November). We had a very valuable interchange on to whether they are establishing a national statistical society or a national society of statisticians. I am in favour of the former, but some participants in the meeting could see advantages of restricting membership to those with formal statistical qualifications.
I was also privileged to meet Mr. Kilele, the Acting Director of the Kenyan National Statistics Bureau, and with Dr. Mwita, the Chair of the Statistics Council. We discussed the recent transformation of the Statistics Bureau from a central government department to a semi-autonomous agency. I later participated in substantive discussions within the agency. One was on planning for the Census and their use of OCR - they have an ambitious timetable to get the results out within three Denise Lievesley, President ISI, and Dr. Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General, Statistics South Africa 3 months. Another discussion focussed on micro-data release and electronic dissemination more generally, and a third on improving the quality of agricultural data.
Returning to the topic of national statistical societies, I was very pleased to learn of Zambia’s aims to establish a society, and on a recent mission to Tunis (to meet the statisticians at the African Development Bank and to visit the national statistical agency), I talked to Malika Charrad, member of the council of the recently created Tunisian Association of Statistics and its Applications.
We will be arranging a meeting in Durban to bring together the leaders of national statistical societies. If you are aware of a national association that is not featured on the ISI list (see https://www.isi-web.org/404?directory.htm), please let me know.
A highlight of my year (indeed of my career) was the Young Statisticians Conference in Pretoria. Since this is separately reported here, I will not expand here on the marvellous experience, except to express my thanks to Statistics South Africa for taking this initiative and for hosting the meeting, and to add my congratulations to the talented young people from across Africa who gave papers and presented posters.
In June, I travelled to Amsterdam to participate in an international conference on evidence-based policy. I was a member of the Council of Honour in my ISI capacity and I gave a keynote address. The participants were mainly policy makers and academics from think tanks and other specialist units from across the world. The discussion focussed on improving communications between those who understand the data and those who make the decisions (which we want to be based on the information). This was mainly in the context of resource- and information-rich countries. One of the outcomes of the conference was a proposal to form a community of practice amongst data intermediaries. These would comprise a cadre of people acting as the interface between the collectors of data and the policy makers.
This trip back to Europe also included a visit to Berlin for the 3MC Conference (the international conference on survey methods in multi-national, multi-regional and multi-cultural contexts). This was attended by researchers involved in the contracting, collection and/or analysis of cross-national surveys. Thus, all the major cross-country studies were represented and the exchange of information in my view achieved the stated aim of advancing the knowledge base needed to obtain accurate and comparable data for key areas such as economics, marketing, education, health and the environment.
More recently, I attended a conference on micro-data from censuses at Manchester University where we discussed research undertaken with census microdata internationally and considered the future role of census microdata. The conference included presentations from a number of national census offices, including the UK Office for National Statistics, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the French Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques and Statistics Canada.
The ISI Executive Committee and Council held meetings alongside the Joint Statistical Meetings in Denver, Colorado. These are summarised here. May I take this opportunity to thank the American Statistical Association for the evening drinks reception offered to ISI Council members and for providing the stand at the exhibition so that the ISI South African team and I could talk to participants in Denver about including Durban in their plans for next year.
Jef Teugels, the ISI President-Elect, and I recently spent a lovely day in Dublin learning about the plans for the ISI Congress in 2011. We were very impressed by the Irish combination of warmth and efficiency. The conference centre, still under construction, will be ‘state of the art’, but we were relieved to discover that the ISI will not be guinea pigs since there are some large conferences trying out the facilities in advance of our meeting!
I take this opportunity to record our thanks to Daniel Berze who left the position of ISI Director at the end of June. His contribution to the ISI for over 18 years is greatly appreciated.
We are fortunate to have secured the services of Willem (Wim) Senden as interim ISI Director for the next six months. Wim was Director of ICT Services at the Technical University of Eindhoven from 1988 until 1997 when he was appointed Managing Director of Eurandom (an international research institute in stochastics), a position he held until his retirement in 2007. His educational background comprises both mathematics and computer science. I am sure that you will give Wim as much help as possible as he seeks to improve the support to the ISI elected officers and volunteers and services to members, ensuring that the ISI family thrives.
We are recruiting a new permanent Director and I hope that you will assist us to find the best possible candidate for this post, which is so critical to the success of the ISI and its Sections. Please pass this notice on to anyone who might be interested and also consider submitting an application yourself.
8th September 2008
Message from the Director
As you have read in the Message from the President, I am Interim Director of the ISI since August of this year. As a newcomer to the ISI family, I tried in these first three months to concentrate on learning and getting acquainted with the ISI (as far as operational duties have allowed).
I am impressed by
• The history of the ISI and the way it grew in over a century into the present organization, showing a remarkable ability to adapt and restructure itself when needed;
• The wide scope of statistics and its applications that is now represented in the ISI and its Sections.
Recently, the ISI is proving this ability to adapt again through the ideas and discussions to restructure its governance and organization, which is necessary to exploit fully the potential of this scope. It is an honour for me to be asked for this interim assignment at such a challenging time and I am looking forward to cooperating with the ISI Executive Committee, the ISI Council, as well as the ISI and Section members. The Durban Session, though already outstanding with a very interesting programme and beautiful venue, might surprise us even more with results of the developments mentioned above.
Back to the operational business: I sincerely hope that any disruption to our hampering service this summer due to the move of the office did not trouble you too much. Our host, Statistics Netherlands, did their best to realize a smooth operation. As one can imagine, a move of over a thousand people is not so simple, especially when it is combined with a considerable reduction in space for everyone and a transition towards a completely “digital office” operation.
Finally, if you have remarks or suggestions on the restructuring process, other ISI issues, and/or the operation and service of the Permanent Office, please send me an e-mail to @cbs.nl or @cbs.nl.
Tribute to Daniel Berze
Daniel Berze left the position of Director of the ISI at the end of June. He originally joined the office in 1990 on moving to The Netherlands from Canada. Canadian by nationality, he has since taken up Dutch citizenship too. Though fluent in the language, his Dutch colleagues used to tease him mercilessly about slips in his pronunciation and described his use of the language as ‘interesting’!
Born in Canada in 1961, Daniel graduated from York University, Toronto, with a joint degree in psychology and business. His only training in statistics was a course taken as part of his degree, but during his time at the ISI he became very committed to the cause of statistics and an advocate for our profession.
During his eighteen years in the ISI office, he held three posts. From 1990, he was an Administrative Officer with responsibility for the production aspects of publications and the office interface to conferences including ISI Sessions. In 1995, he was promoted to Assistant Director, supporting first Zoltan Kenessey and then Marcel van den Broecke in every aspect of the ISI office functions. Following Marcel’s departure in 2003, Daniel was appointed Director of the office.
In his time as Director, he implemented many changes particularly relating to the increased automation of activities and improved financial controls. He also worked closely with and supported nine different ISI Executive Committees and Councils together with numerous Governing Boards of the different Sections, thereby establishing contacts with many members throughout the Institute.
The ISI is a complex organisation comprising individual, corporate, ex-officio and affiliated members, as well as its seven Sections – each with a myriad of committees and activities. Keeping track of all these is no easy task but Daniel had an eye for detail and managed to juggle the different priorities. After so many years in the organisation, he became the fountain of information – our informal archive – and the ISI will miss being able to draw on this.
Daniel and Josette Berze at his farewell dinner with the ISI Permanent Office staff in July 2008
The ISI Executive Committee wishes to put on record its thanks to Daniel for his loyal and dedicated service to the ISI, for his enthusiasm in advancing the agenda of the ISI, for his many accomplishments as Director and for the hospitality and care he showed when we met at the ISI office.
We are certain that the future will bring him an abundance of exciting opportunities and hope that the skills and experience he gained at the ISI will stand him in good stead. We know that members of the ISI family will add their good wishes and thanks to him.
Summary of the ISI Council Meeting
We took advantage of the Joint Statistical Meetings taking place in Denver in early August to arrange meetings of the ISI Council and Executive Committee. Several members of Council had planned on being in Denver anyway and others decided to stay on for at least some of the statistical meetings. In addition, the location meant that our colleagues from the team organizing the ISI meeting in Durban (who were in Denver to man a stand at the statistical meetings) could join us both at Council to give an update on the plans for the meeting and also at the Executive Committee to take part in a brain storming on the organization of the scientific content of future conferences.
ISI Council members were gratified to be invited to a drinks reception hosted by the Board of the American Statistical Association. We hope that this marks the establishment of even closer ties between the two organizations.
This report summarises the Council discussions but does not aim to be comprehensive. I welcome feedback and questions from ISI and Section members.
The Council meeting began with a half-day facilitated debate on the future structure of the ISI family. The output from this discussion will influence the thinking of the ISI Executive Committee. We will provide a report on the current ideas in the next Newsletter.
Strategic Objective 1 – To enhance the ISI’s support of the international statistical community:
Vice-President Vijay Nair outlined the formation and role of the newly re-established Publications Committee, introducing Karen Kafadar, Chair of this Committee, who had joined Council for these discussions. He discussed the desirability of developing publications policies and expertise to assist the whole ISI family, especially in relation to the contracts with publishers, for which the ISI Office can maintain the knowledge base.
Three priority areas for the Publications Committee will be the ISI Newsletter, Website and the International Statistical Review: The Sections have been asked to nominate representatives for working groups on the ISI Newsletter and the Website. The Council had a preliminary discussion of some ideas presented in an interim paper on the future of the International Statistical Review. The next version of this paper will be presented to the ISI Executive Committee with a view to circulating it much more widely for comments.
ISI 2009 Durban Session
Mr. John Kovar, Chair of the Programme Committee, brought the Council up to date with the Scientific Programme for the Session in Durban. He reported that the designation of speakers is well underway. The results of his Committee’s work can be seen here. An outstanding issue is the financing of speakers from developing countries who cannot fund themselves. A dynamic web version of the Scientific Programme that is kept up to date is a priority so that all versions of the Programme can be consistent with one another.
Professor Jacky Galpin, of the Durban Session team, reported on the progress in the organisation of the Session (which is not repeated here because of the inclusion of a report in this ISI Newsletter, see here). Intending participants are already registering their interest on the website. The International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban is completely reserved for the Session and, in addition, there are some rooms booked in the onsite hotel. Council members requested that information on obtaining visas and on safety/security of Durban be made available soon.
Summaries had been prepared of the planned Satellite Meetings and Short Courses giving the current status as far as the ISI Executive and Durban team were aware so that Council could supplement it where it was felt to be deficient.
ISI 2011 Dublin Session
It was reported that the President, President-Elect and Professor Galpin would visit Dublin on 4th September for an update on the preparation of the Session. Jef Teugels, President-Elect, is consulting about suitable candidates for the Programme Chair and General Topics Programme Chair for Dublin.
Briefing Seminars for Chief Statisticians
In the past, the ISI has organised special ‘Briefing Seminars’ in order to provide newly appointed National Statistical Office senior management with information about the international statistical community. The Council discussed the formation of a small committee including an IAOS representative to make recommendations on the future of these Seminars, taking account of the relevant developments of Paris21, UNECA, Statistics Canada and other organisations.
Strategic Objective 2 – To promote and disseminate research and best practices in the statistical sciences; and
Strategic Objective 3 – To promote and disseminate research and best practice in all forms of statistics education:
We were very pleased to have the Presidents of six of the seven Sections of the ISI participating in the ISI Council (the only Section not present was IASC) together with a representative of the Irving Fisher Committee. Each of these Presidents and the IFC representative gave a presentation on their recent activities and their plans for the future.
Strategic Objective 4 – To establish an appropriate role for the ISI promoting public awareness of good statistical practice and its value to the community, and in supporting good practice:
A paper was discussed by Council that had been prepared in order to clarify the varying purposes of the different types of Committees seen as essential to ensuring appropriate oversight by the Executive Committee. The concept of a special interest group was raised in discussion and the view was expressed that the ISI should not try to dictate a structure or format for such groups, but rather should act as a facilitator for the creation of such groups. A ‘light’ touch was proposed.
Geert Molenberghs, Chair of the ISI Life Sciences Committee, explained the role and activities of this Committee. In particular, he focussed on the relationship with the International Biometric Society (IBS). The Life Sciences Committee acts as the ISI liaison with the IBS and ensures that meetings are complementary.
Strategic Objective 5 – To enhance the ISI’s support for the statistical community in developing countries:
National Statistical Societies
The ISI President presented a paper on the ISI’s support for national statistical societies. There is an urgency to consider how the Durban Session might be used to further the networking of national statistical societies and to clarify the ISI’s support for these societies. In the brief discussion, it was suggested that the ISI might develop a website to provide guidance, information and templates for emerging societies, and that the ISI might seek to maintain a list of members who plan to travel to developing countries and who volunteer to give a paper at the local statistical societies.
Strategic Objective 6 – To broaden the range of areas of application in which the ISI is making a worthwhile contribution:
Vice-President Stephan Morgenthaler is taking the lead in preparing a ‘think piece’ on the future of ISI Sessions with a focus on the scientific content. He welcomes the views and ideas of members of ISI and Sections.
Strategic Objective 7 – To define and institute a constructive role for the ISI in supporting the development of young statisticians, and in encouraging the ongoing participation of older members:
A paper prepared by Jef Teugels on the topic of involving young statisticians in the ISI and Section activities was warmly welcomed. It was agreed that Sections should take a lead in this area, but that the ISI provides a forum for sharing their ideas and experiences. Consideration should be given to the establishment of an international forum for young persons.
Bernoulli Society President Jean Jacod introduced a paper by Professor Arnoldo Frigessi on mentoring. The Executive Committee had previously discussed this paper and felt it to be so useful that they had proposed it be brought to Council for a broader consideration. Several of the Sections expressed an interest in examining whether they had a specific role to play in a mentoring programme. The point was made that it is not only students who need mentoring, but that many supervisors also would welcome support, particularly those in more isolated positions. The Executive Committee members will consider concretely how to build on these proposals.
Strategic Objective 8 – To put the ISI and its Sections on a sound financial footing:
Financial accounts and budgets
The latest financial accounts were discussed by Council along with a revised budget for 2008. Council members received a report from the Chair of the ISI Finance Committee, Olav Ljones. They were pleased to note that, in 2007, income had exceeded expenditure, and endorsed the ISI Executive Committee’s commitment to this being the ‘steady state’ so that added revenues generated from the investments are either reinvested or used for specific one-off projects and not to meet regular outgoings as has been the case. However, the financial picture for 2008 to date is not so healthy as will be reported after the end of the financial year. Concern was expressed that revenue generation seems to have fallen off the agenda of the ISI and it was agreed that the Executive Committee should give greater consideration to this topic in the next six months.
ISI Multilingual Glossary of Statistical Terms
The ISI Multilingual Glossary of Statistical Terms has been expanded with a new language. With the great help of Michael Tsgaris, we have been able to make a start on including the Greek language. The Glossary is continuously updated with corrections and new translations. Many statisticians have contributed to this project. We are always very grateful for their help, because only with this kind of commitment can we improve the quality and utility of the Glossary.
Johan Dragt, ISI, @cbs.nl
A Special Conference of Young Statisticians
Participants at the Conference of Young Statisticians
The 1st Africa Conference of Young Statisticians was held in Pretoria from 1-3 July 2008, hosted by Statistics South Africa and wonderfully organised by Miranda Mafafo and her team. The Conference is a component of the ISIbalo programme being developed to mark the first ever ISI Congress being held in sub-Saharan Africa.
Its overall objective was to boost the participation of young statisticians in statistical research and training, to stimulate participation in the methodological and technological development of the discipline of statistics, and to foster the integration of those embarking on their careers in a wider African community of statisticians.
The Conference drew 228 young statisticians from 25 countries. They were from African national statistical offices, universities, research institutions and government line ministries. I was one of a small group of ‘seniors’ invited by Statistics South Africa to chair sessions and assist with the mentoring of the young participants.
The young people presented papers and posters on a wide range of topics, including the improvement of data quality in Africa; agriculture, food security and nutrition; climate change; biostatistics and the disease burden of Africa; the measurement challenges of the MDGs; HIV and AIDS; business sector performance in Africa; trade and market access; African labour market dynamics, energy statistics; the gender dimension in education; tourism; and other issues that affect the development path of Africa today.
For a significant proportion of these young people, this was their first opportunity to speak about their research or work at a conference, and to gain from the feedback they received there. The content and quality of the presentations were extremely high and I was particularly struck by the social commitment demonstrated in so many papers. The enthusiasm and talent of these young people is remarkable. It is to be hoped that as many of them as possible will build on this experience by contributing to national statistical society meetings or even to the ISI in Durban if they are successful at getting support to do so.
In the unique way that Africans have of combining fun with serious work, the Conference managed to be both a milestone scientific event and a great party. We were entertained by a Zulu dancing troupe and by children’s choirs from two schools. There was a wonderful South African brai (a barbeque) and a dance where the air crackled with the energy of the dancers – there are no ‘wall flowers’ at African dances!
One of the highlights was a very special dinner for female statisticians to celebrate the increasing number of young women who are making a positive impact on our profession. We were entranced by a speech of 88-year old Mathematics teacher Mrs. Nontsikelelo Qwelane who told us of her long career and her commitment to the education of the African child.
The Conference was a foretaste of the ISI 2009, and, based on this, I have no hesitation in recommending that you put Durban firmly in your diaries.
57th ISI Session in Durban: Latest News and IPMs
Registration for the Conference is now open, see www.statssa.gov.za/isi2009.
All registration fees include full access to the conference venue (ICC), including scientific sessions, exhibition and poster areas, as well as transport to and from the official hotels. Accompanying persons may not present papers or posters.
The different registration categories will include the following materials as listed below.
Delegates and students:
Lunch vouchers for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday
Opening and closing ceremonies
Reception on Sunday, 16 August
Beach party on Tuesday, 18 August
Gala dinner on Saturday, 22 August
Hotel/ICC shuttle services (daily)
Opening and closing ceremonies
Reception on Sunday, 16 August
Beach party on Tuesday, 18 August
Gala dinner on Saturday, 22 August
Hotel/ICC shuttle services (daily)
Lunch vouchers (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday) can be purchased
One Day registration (Sunday to Saturday): Available to South African residents only.
Contributing to the Conference
The Scientific Programme comprises four components:
• Invited Paper Meetings (IPMs): These meetings are largely finalised. The topics being addressed are listed here. Visit the ISI Session website at www.statssa.gov.za/isi2009 for further information as well as contact details for the organisers of the IPMs.
• Special Topic Contributed Paper Meetings (STCPMs): There are still opportunities to organise meetings on a particular topic or aspect of statistics of your choice. Each STCPM will be allocated a slot of two and a quarter hours. The format of the meeting is flexible – you may want to include a number of short presentations, or fewer more substantial papers, or you could organise a panel discussion. We welcome innovation and look forward to your contributions! If you would like to discuss your ideas, please contact Professor Tim Dunne, Chair: Local Scientific Programme, by e-mail Tim.Dunne@uct.ac.za as soon as possible.
• Contributed Paper Meetings (CPMs): Please consider submitting a contributed paper to the Durban Conference. You have until 13 April 2009 to submit your abstract on any topic within the very broad field of statistical theory, methods, application or education, but please do not leave this until the last minute as it helps our South African colleagues to have as much notice as possible regarding the contributed papers. We will aim to include as many of the contributed papers as possible, but you will be asked if you would be prepared to present a poster if there is no room left in the contributed paper meetings. We will attempt to group contributed papers according to their content and it will help with this process if you can select one or more of the categories offered on the registration form that best describes your paper. Contributed paper authors are typically offered 15 minutes for their presentation.
• Posters: An alternative to offering a contributed paper is to prepare a poster on a topic of your choice. If selected you will be asked to bring your poster with you to Durban and you will be allocated a time slot and display space so that you can explain your research/work to interested participants and answer their questions. There will be prizes for the best posters and our intention is that this should be a fun part of the conference, at which we particularly welcome contributions from students and other young statisticians.
13 April 2009 Submission of the final manuscripts of invited papers. If the paper has not been received, the IPM Organiser may withdraw the author from the programme. 27 April 2009 Deadline for each IPM and STCPM Organiser to provide the Local Programme Committee with a meeting schedule, indicating the order of presentation and specific time allocated for each author and discussant, for inclusion in the Conference Week Programme 15 May 2009 Registration deadline for all authors of both invited and contributed papers, invited meeting organisers and discussants, as well as poster presenters 30 June 2009 Local Programme Committee to notify organisers, authors and discussants of date and time of meeting, order of presentations within meeting and to put the programme on the website. 25 Sept 2009 Dissemination Embargo date. Final papers of registered authors to be available for viewing via the Session website
African Legacy Projects
The ISIbalo Capacity Building Programme has been designed to facilitate participation of Africa’s statistical community in the debates over key issues on measurement, monitoring and evaluation of development and to encourage the improvement of statistical methodologies and foster innovations. Its five focus areas aim to mobilize and build the capacity of the African statistical community in preparation for the 57th Session of the ISI in order to ensure that the ISI leaves a lasting legacy on the continent. They cover:
• Statistical Research and Capacity Development;
• Training and support for Young Statisticians (see the report on the Young Statisticians Conference here);
• Maths, Stats and the Girl-Child;
• The Statistical Education Programme;
• African Women in Statistics.
Events and activities in relation to these African Legacy Projects are being designed to take place at the ISI Congress and we are seeking ways to involve participants in these.
Social Programme and Tours
The Social Programme will be a highlight of the 57th Session of the ISI and is designed to provide participants with an opportunity to relax and experience a taste of South African cuisine and culture and maximize networking opportunities.
Durban is an excellent location for a family holiday and there will be many options for half and one day tours during the ISI Congress for participants and accompanying people. Wednesday afternoon is free for exploring the city, lazing on the beach or taking trips to the beautiful surrounding country.
South Africa is “A World in One Country” – one of breathtaking scenery and interesting history. Your ISI 2009 team has designed special ISI 2009 tours to many of our major tourist attractions. Please visit our website for a selection of tours or tailor-make your tour to your own requirements.
Opening and Closing Ceremonies
The Conference will open on Sunday afternoon (16th August) with a ceremony incorporating cultural displays and an informal dinner. It will close with an exciting closing ceremony followed by a gala dinner on Saturday evening (22nd August). All of these are included in the registration fee for all participants and accompanying persons. Plan your dates of travel well in advance to prevent missing out on these memorable occasions!
Requirements for entering South Africa
You will need the following:
• A valid visa, for specified countries (see information on visas below)
• Sufficient funds
• A return or onward ticket
• Yellow fever certificates if your journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America. Visit http://www.travelclinic.co.za for more information.
Please make sure that you have at least TWO EMPTY PAGES in your passport before travelling to South Africa and that your passport is valid for at least six months after your departure from South Africa.
Please access http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/visas.asp to view the list of countries whose citizens currently require a visa for South Africa. Note that this list is subject to change.
If you do require a visa, you must apply and receive your visa BEFORE your departure for South Africa. Visas are not issued at South African ports of entry and if you arrive without a visa, immigration officials will refuse you entry to South Africa.
Please check as soon as possible whether you need a visa and apply for one well in advance. We suggest that you check again before you travel to make sure that there are no changes to the list of nationalities exempt from visas. The ISI office in The Hague and the South African team are ready to assist with your application (such as supplying letters of invitation), but this help will be less effective at the last minute. Any enquiries can be directed to us by e-mail at email@example.com.
Security and Safety Information
The South African organisers of the Conference do appreciate that many participants, particularly those who have not been to Africa before, may be concerned about security and safety. Creating a safe and secure environment for our guests during ISI 2009 is of paramount importance to us and you can rest assured that detailed plans are in place to address this issue.
What actions are being taken to ensure that you have a pleasant and memorable visit to Durban in 2009?
• Participants to the conference will be met at their point of entry into South Africa, and guided though the airport formalities and - if they arrive at a different airport - will be helped with the transfer to Durban.
• Transport will be provided to and from the airport to the conference hotels.
• All the conference hotels have been vetted and are in acceptable locations.
• Transport will be provided to the International Conference Centre (ICC) from the conference hotels at key points in the day.
• In addition, there is to be a new public bus system by August next year that will be running a service around the centre of the city every few minutes.
• Briefing meetings have been held with the Durban City Metro Police who are very experienced at supporting international conferences and will be aware of our particular programme.
• The ICC is in a pleasant location and has excellent security systems and staff – participants and accompanying persons will have automated passes to get into the Centre.
• Security guidance will be provided to every participant and updates posted in the hotels and in the ICC.
• Security advice will be available in the ICC.
So… What makes Durban a great destination for ISI 2009?
• Durban, according to the latest published data, has the lowest crime rate of all the major cities in South Africa.
• It is a very popular holiday destination for families in South Africa.
• Durban has hosted many large international conferences without incident including the United Nations Conference against Racism and the 13th International AIDS Conference, both of which attracted more than 13,000 delegates. Other high profile events include the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Southern African Economic Summit, hosted by the World Economic Forum (for an unprecedented three years running) and over 70 international events since the ICC opened in 1997. More recently, the 2nd Pan Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning attracted Ministers and delegates from 60 countries.
• Durban was recently ranked as the No. 1 International conference destination in Africa by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) – testimony to its ability to host successful International events.
• ICC Durban was ranked as the No. 1 Convention Centre in Africa by the International Travel Awards in 2001.
For more information on Durban, please visit the website www.durban.kzn.org.za.
Report of the Programme Coordinating Committee for the 57th ISI Session
16-22 August 2009, Durban, South Africa
Committee and Subcommittee Chairs:
2009 PCC John Kovar firstname.lastname@example.org
ISI General Topics Committee Dennis Trewin email@example.com
Local Program Committee Timothy Dunne Tim.Dunne@uct.ac.za
Bernoulli Society Ursula Gather firstname.lastname@example.org
IAOS Nancy McBeth Nancy.McBeth@stats.govt.nz
IASE Helen MacGillivray email@example.com
IASS Leyla Mohadjer LeylaMohadjer@Westat.com
IASC Yutaka Tanaka firstname.lastname@example.org
and Stanley Azen email@example.com
ISBIS Vijay Nair firstname.lastname@example.org
TIES David Brillinger email@example.com
The ISI Programme Coordinating Committee (PCC) for the 57th Session of the ISI to be held in Durban, South Africa, is preparing the Programme of the Invited Paper Meetings (IPMs) for the Session. Below is an updated list of the proposed meetings with their titles and sponsors, and organizers along with their coordinates. Organisers of the IPM’s have made considerable progress in developing the programme for each meeting, inviting authors and discussants, and providing them with the necessary background information. A large number of speakers and discussants have already been identified and confirmed. The current state of progress from September 2008 is documented below. Please visit the web page for the most recent information on the IPM schedule: http://www.statssa.gov.za/isi2009/ScientificProgramme/Ipms.aspx.
Chair, ISI Programme Coordinating Committee
Invited Paper Meetings for the 57th ISI Session, Durban, South Africa (PDF)
ISI Officers’ Elections
The process of electing the future ISI President-Elect, Vice-Presidents and members of the ISI Council has now begun. All ISI members will be mailed a ballot upon which they can indicate their choices for the various ISI Officers to serve the 2009-2011 term and beyond. A listing of all candidates, and a statement indicating their expected contribution to the ISI if elected, is indicated in Volume 32, No. 2 (pages 17-19) of the ISI Newsletter and on the ISI website at https://www.isi-web.org/404?Nlet/NLet082.htm#07ISIOfficersElections.
Don’t forget to vote!
News of Members
Professor B.L.S. Prakasa Rao
Professor B.L.S. Prakasa Rao of the University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India, won the 2007-08 National Award in Statistics for Senior Statistician instituted by the Government of India. He is an ISI elected and BS member.
Professor Prakasa Rao, Jawaharlal Nehru Chair Professor at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Hyderabad, was selected for the National Award in Statistics for Senior Statistician in memory of Professor P.V. Sukhatme.
The Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, Government of India, has instituted the National Award for outstanding and meritorious research work in statistics in memory of Professor P.V. Sukhatme. The main objective of this award is to encourage independent and high quality research work in the field of applied/official statistics, particularly on issues and problems relating to the statistical system in the country. The P.V. Sukhatme Award is given to the Senior Indian Statisticians for their life time contribution to the development of statistical system in the field of applied/official statistics. The award carries an amount of one lakh Indian Rupees along with a citation.
Mr. Richard Barnabé, Assistant Chief Statistician, retired from Statistics Canada on 27th June 2008. Mr. Barnabé is an ISI elected and IAOS member. Mr. Anil Arora assumed the responsibilities as of 30th June 2008.
Professor George Roussas
Professor George Roussas was elected corresponding member of the Academy of Athens in the field of “Mathematical Statistics” during the Plenary Session of Thursday, 17th April 2008. Mr. George Roussas is Professor at California University at Davis. For further information about the Academy, please visit http://www.academyofathens.gr/ecportal.asp?id=1296&nt=105&lang=2. Professor Roussas is an ISI elected and BS member.
Arjun K. Gupta, Distinguished University Professor, Bowling Green State University, was recognized for his distinguished contributions to the field of multivariate statistics as the "Conference Honoree" at the International Conference on Multivariate Statistical Modelling and High Dimensional Data Analysis, which was held 19-23 June in Kayseri, Turkey. He also gave the keynote address "Ubiquitous Gaussian Distribution and Modelling Skewness". Professor Gupta was elected an ISI member in 1984.
Professor Ben Kiregyera receiving his award
In June 2008, an award was given to Professor Ben Kiregyera in recognition of his contribution to statistics development in Uganda and the world at large. At a colourful ceremony held at Statistics House in Kampala, a citation for Professor Kiregyera was read by Mr. John Baptist Mukasa, the Executive Director of Uganda Bureau of Statistics on behalf of the statistics fraternity in Uganda. In the citation, he underscored the achievements made by Professor Kiregyera. Professor Kiregyera has many accomplishments, including Professor at the Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics, Makerere University; published in many internationally recognized academic journals, books and manuals; national and international consultant on numerous projects and programmes; winner of the 2005 ISI Mahalanobis Award, ISI elected member and member of IAOS, IASE and IASS, among other professional organizations, past President of the Uganda Statistical Society, and from 1998 to 2007 the first Chairman of the Board of the Directors of Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS).
Professor Kiregyera, on receiving the Award, thanked the statistical community, the Uganda Statistical Society and UBOS for the Award. He also thanked UBOS for maintaining statistical standards established at its formation and praised management and staff for a job well done. He challenged NSOs across Africa to more effectively advocate for statistics. This, he said, will lead to better investment in statistical production and development and more conducive work environments.
(This announcement is a modified reprint from the African Statistics Newsletter:
Professor John Cleland has been awarded the CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to Social Science. Currently President of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, he joined the University of London’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1988, where he is Professor of Medical Demography since 1993. Previously Professor Cleland worked on the World Fertility Survey at the ISI.
Ravindra Khattree, Professor of Statistics at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, was awarded the Oakland University’s Research Excellence Award for his important and outstanding contributions to statistics and applied mathematics. This is the highest honour that the University bestows annually on only one of its faculty members.
Khattree is internationally known and well recognized for his contributions in the areas of statistical inference, multivariate analysis, experimental designs, biostatistics and industrial statistics. He is the co-author of two books, both with Dr. D.N. Naik, titled: Applied Multivariate Statistics with SAS Software (Second Edition) and Multivariate Data Reduction and Discrimination with SAS Software, both co-published by SAS Press/Wiley. He has also co-edited, with Dr. C.R. Rao, the Handbook of Statistics, Volume 22 - Statistics in Industry, published by North Holland and with D.N. Naik, the Computational Methods in Biomedical Research published by CRC/Chapman and Hall. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, an ISI elected member and a winner of the Young Statistician Award from the International Indian Statistical Association.
Moved or Retired? Don’t get lost for the ISI!
It is obvious that the correctness of any address, whether it is e-mail or postal, is vital to the ISI. Most of our members use their work address for ISI contact purposes. However, these addresses become obsolete when one moves to a new position or retires. During the last 12 months, I have detected some 50 members whose e-mails bounced back, because they forgot to inform the ISI about their change in address and other contact details. A consequence of this is that invoices and reminders do not arrive and that such a member is automatically removed from the membership after 2 years of non-payment (1 year only for Section members). Therefore, whenever you take up a new position or retire, please do not get lost and please inform Mrs. Margaret de Ruiter-Molloy (@cbs.nl) at the ISI Permanent Office.
Gerrit J. Stemerdink, ISI
The ISI regrets to announce the death of our colleagues:
Born Elected Deceased Professor Morgan A. Hanson 1930 1992 7 October 2007 Professor Mário A. Soares Madureira 1925 1974 7 September 2008 Professor Andrei Y. Yakovlev 1944 2001 27 February 2008
ISI Membership Elections 2008
We congratulate the 32 new ISI members, who were elected in the first round of the 2008 ISI membership elections. For those who wish to contact any of these individuals, please note that the ISI website contains a component including the names and addresses of all ISI members
(see https://www.isi-web.org/404?isimembers/isimembers.htm), and these new members are already in this list.
Alldritt, William Richard UK UK Basu, Sanjib India Bediako, Grace Afua Ghana Burman, Prabir India Carlsson, Lars Sweden Cascos, Ignacio Spain Davies, Neville UK Di Nardo, Elvira Italy Fabricio, Maria del Carmen Argentina Galpin, Jacqueline Suzanne South Africa Genton, Marc Georges Switzerland George, Varghese USA Jain, Rajender Parsad India Jensen, Donald Ray USA Künsch, Hans Rudolf Switzerland Levine, Felice J. USA
López, Maria Virginia Argentina López-Diaz, Miguel Spain Ograjenšek, Irena Slovenia Piepho, Hans-Peter Germany Ronchetti, Elvezio Switzerland Shirke, Digambar India Shlomo, Natalie Israel/USA Silva, Denise Brazil Song, Juwon South Korea Stamhuis, Ida Harmina The Netherlands Stevens, Don L. (Jr.) USA Tamura, Hirokuni Japan Tang, Wai Kong Leslie China Upadhyaya, Shyam Bhakta Nepal Welsh, Alan Hepburn Australia Yap, Bee Wah Malaysia
Awards, Prizes and Competitions
2009 IAOS Prize for Young Statisticians: Details can be found in the IAOS section here.
ERS IASC Young Researchers Award: Details can be found in the IASC section here.
Cochran-Hansen Prize 2009: Competition for Young Survey Statisticians from Developing and Transitional Countries: Details can be found in the IASS section here.
Jan Tinbergen Awards: Competition for Young Statisticians from Developing Countries 2009
The International Statistical Institute announces the fourteenth Competition among young statisticians from developing countries who are invited to submit a paper on any topic within the broad field of statistics, for possible presentation at the 57th Session of the ISI to be held in Durban, South Africa, in August 2009.
Participation in the Competition is open to nationals of developing countries who are living in a developing country, and who were born in 1977 or later (see https://www.isi-web.org/404?tinbergen/2009papers.htm). Developing countries will be defined as countries with an annual GDP per capita of less than US$ 4,000 (U.N. 2007); see the new list at https://www.isi-web.org/404?developing.htm.
Previous winners of the Award are prohibited to compete again. Papers submitted must be unpublished original works, which may include material from participants’ university theses. The papers submitted will be examined by an International Jury of distinguished statisticians, who will select the three best papers presented in the Competition. Their decision will be final.
Each author of a winning paper will receive the Jan Tinbergen Award in the amount of € 2,269 and will be invited to present his/her paper at the Durban Session of the ISI, with all expenses paid (i.e. round trip economy airline ticket from his/her place of residence to Durban, plus a lump sum to cover living expenses).
Manuscripts for the Competition should be submitted in time to reach the ISI no later than 1st January 2009.
The rules governing the preparation of papers, application forms and full details are available on request from the ISI Permanent Office. The address is as follows:
The Director of the Permanent Office
International Statistical Institute
P.O. Box 24070
2490 AB Den Haag
Fax: +31 70 386 0025; E-mail: @cbs.nl
Call for Nominations for the C.R. and Bhargavi Rao Prize for Outstanding Research in Statistics to be Awarded by Penn State University, Department of Statistics.
The C.R. and Bhargavi Rao Prize was established to honour and recognize outstanding and influential innovations in the theory and practice of mathematical statistics, international leadership in directing statistical research, and pioneering contributions by a recognized leader in the field of statistics. The Rao Prize is awarded by the Department of Statistics at Penn State University to a nominee selected by the members of the Rao Prize Committee.
Former Rao Prize recipients are:
2003 - Bradley Efron, the Max H. Stein Professor in the Department of Statistics at Stanford University
2005 - Jayaram Sethuraman, former Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor and current Professor Emeritus and Adjunct Professor at Florida State University
2007 - Lawrence D. Brown, Miers Busch Professor and Professor of Statistics at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
For additional information see
Nominations for the 2009 Rao Prize should be submitted by December 1st, 2008, to:
Chair, Rao Prize Selection Committee
326 Thomas Building
Penn State University
University Park, PA 16802-2111, USA
The Rao Prize shall be awarded every two years (odd numbered years) to an individual working in the United States. The award recipient will receive a medal, cash prize and an invitation to visit Penn State and give a talk.
Nominations should include a letter describing the nominee’s outstanding contributions to leadership and research in statistics, a current curriculum vitae, and two supporting letters.
C.R. Rao held the Eberly Chair in Statistics at Penn State University from 1988-2001. He now serves as Holder Emeritus of the Eberly Chair in Statistics. He was the founding Director of the Center for Multivariate Analysis. A President's National Medal of Science Laureate, Dr. Rao is recognized worldwide as one of the pioneers of modern statistical theory and as one of the world’s top five statisticians, with multifaceted distinctions as a mathematician, researcher, scientist and teacher. His pioneering contributions to mathematics and statistical theory and applications have become part of undergraduate and graduate courses in statistics, econometrics, electrical engineering, and many other disciplines at most universities throughout the world.
Proposals for ISI Service Certificates
ISI Service Certificates are to be presented biennially at the ISI General Assembly to recognise particularly distinguished service to the ISI and its Sections. Any ISI member has the right to make nominations to the ISI Service Certificates Committee.
The criteria for potential recipients include service over an extended period of time and in a variety of leadership roles (or exceptionally for distinguished service in one capacity for a truly abnormal length of time) including, but not limited to, official positions in the ISI, its Committees and Sections, editorial roles, organisation of the biennial conference or Section conferences and representing the ISI on external bodies. The award is intended to reflect services to the ISI itself rather than distinction in the field of statistics per se.
The recipients must be members of the ISI at the time of the award, but services rendered to any ISI Section before membership of the ISI is achieved may be taken into consideration in deciding to give the award. The number of awards shall not normally exceed five in any biennium. Members of the Executive and the Council of the ISI are not eligible for the award during their period of office. Recipients of the Adolphe Quetelet Medal are not eligible to receive an ISI Service Certificate.
Proposals should be sent to Ms. Shabani Mehta (@cbs.nl) at the ISI by 2nd of February 2009.
ISI Tokyo Session Memorial Programme for Financial Assistance
This Programme was established after the 46th ISI Session (1987) held in Tokyo to provide ISI Session participants of developing countries with financial support for travel and accommodation expenses.
Open applications are now under consideration for the 11th Round of the Programme in support of the upcoming 57th ISI Biennial Session to be held in Durban, South Africa, in August 2009.
Financial support is available for active Session participants from developing countries that are included in the ISI Developing Countries list (*1) or the latest DAC (Development Assistance Committee, OECD) list of ODA Recipients (*2). Authors of Invited Papers, Invited Paper Meetings Organisers and ISI Council members are especially encouraged to apply. Furthermore, in the case of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) of the DAC list, applications from Authors of Contributed Papers and Contributed Paper Meetings Organisers will be also considered. The grantees from the Programme within the past five years and ISI ex-officio members are ineligible. In principle, no more than one grant will be allotted to the same country.
(*1) The countries with an annual GDP per capita of less than US$ 4,000 (UN, February 2007: Refer to the ISI website at https://www.isi-web.org/404?developing.htm).
(*2) Refer to the OECD website at: www.oecd.org/dac/stats/daclist.
The applicant is requested to submit an estimate of:
• Anticipated travel expenses,
• Anticipated subsistence expenses (including accommodation and daily expenses),
• Duration of stay (days and nights).
The maximum monetary amount for a grant is 300,000 Japanese Yen (FYR, US$ 2,788 at the rate of 107.59 Yen to the US Dollar as of July 29th, 2008).
All applications are requested to save on costs as much as possible, using a discounted ticket for instance.
Application forms must be received by the Institute of Statistical Research in Japan, no later than April 10th, 2009. The screening panel will notify all applicants of their decision no later than May 31st, 2009.
Within two weeks of the closing date of the ISI Session, all grantees must submit documents issued either by the Secretariat of the Session, or by the Session Organiser to certify his/her participation in the said Session.
Application forms can be obtained from:
ISI Tokyo Session Memorial Programme
The Institute of Statistical Research
1-18-16 Shimbashi, Minatoku, Tokyo, 105-0004 Japan
Chairman, Steering Committee of the
ISI Tokyo Session Memorial Programme
Institute of Statistical Research
NOTE: The Institute of Statistical Research is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation operating under the supervision of the Director-General for Policy Planning (Statistical Standards), Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Government of Japan.
ISI Committee Matters: Sports, Astrostatistics, Forensic, Humanities
ISI Sports Statistics Committee
Under the direction of the new ISI Sports Statistics Committee Chair Professor Joseph Hilbe of Arizona State University, the Committee has a new web page containing information on Committee members, upcoming events related to the Committee, and the beginning of a directory of web addresses related to sports data. Data is the basis of Sports Statistics, and researchers need to know how to acquire the most accurate and comprehensive data for their analyses. Currently listed are the sites related to the Olympics, Athletics, and Swimming. It is hoped that those interested in sports can send information on data to the Chair for listing on the Committee website. All sports are of interest. The new site is: https://www.isi-web.org/404?COMM/SportsStats/ which is also linked from: https://www.isi-web.org/404?committees.htm.
ISI members as well as other statisticians having an interest in the analysis of sports are encouraged to contact the Chair at either Hilbe@asu.edu or Hilbe@aol.com. The Committee has a special contributed papers session at the upcoming ISI in Durban, as well as a panel discussion and general business meeting. Refereed publication of paper presentations is intended.
Astrostatistics Interest Group – Organisation
Dr. Joseph Hilbe, Arizona State University and Solar System Ambassador with NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is leading an effort to organize an Astrostatistics Interest Group (AIG) within the ISI. Those interested in this area of statistics plan to meet and more formally organize at the Durban Conference in August 2009. All those interested in being part of the AIG are asked to contact Dr. Hilbe at Hilbe@asu.edu or firstname.lastname@example.org. Participation in Durban is not necessary.
Chair, ISI Sports Statistics Committee
Special Interest Group on Forensic Statistics
During its August meeting in Denver, the Council of the ISI discussed a suggestion from ISI members to create a Special Interest Group on Forensic Statistics. Countries’ legal systems vary significantly and affect how scientific evidence should be organized, presented and used. Increasingly, international experts are called upon to analyse evidence using ever more sophisticated techniques. However, their conclusions will have little effect if not presented in ways which are not tuned to the local system. The impact of these experts could be enhanced considerably if they were to belong to a group properly supported by the ISI.
The Executive Committee wants to assess whether there is sufficient interest in the creation of a separate committee which would clearly benefit from establishing close links with the ISI Committee on Professional Ethics.
Members interested in such a special interest group should write to ISI President Denise Lievesley (email@example.com), preferably before 15th November 2008.
Special Interest Group on Statistics in the Humanities
Many professional bodies deal with the statistical aspects of their subject areas, for example, associations specialising in fields such as biometry, econometrics, sociometry and psychometry. However, there are disciplines where statisticians are ‘orphaned’ in that they have no special interest groups for the discussion of the statistical aspects of their fields. These include statisticians working in areas of the humanities such as music, history, literature and religion.
The ISI could play a valuable role by offering such statisticians a platform where they can meet and feel supported. If there is sufficient interest, the Executive Committee would propose to establish a Special Interest Group on Statistics in the Humanities.
Those interested in the formation of such a group should send their comments and suggestions to the President-Elect Jef L. Teugels (firstname.lastname@example.org) preferably before 15th November 2008.
Historical Anniversaries: Emile Durkheim
Emile Durkheim was born on April 15th, 1858, in Epinal, a small town in north-eastern France. The son of Moïse Durkheim, Epinal’s first rabbi, he gave up the Jewish faith as a teenager and turned to the teachings of philosophy. With this objective in mind, he entered the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris in 1879, where he received his agrégation in philosophy in 1882.
Durkheim was struck by the conflicts raging in France at the time (a defeat at the hands of the Prussians in 1870, the Paris Commune in 1871, etc.). These troubled times also witnessed the rise of industrial capitalism and a shift in the working class mentality.
Furthermore, Durkheim was aware of the advances made in physics and the natural sciences, fields that conferred greater importance to ‘the scientific mind’ as a way of thinking and behaving at the time. He subsequently decided to dedicate his teachings and personal reflections to the study of societies, and more specifically his own.
After spending a few years teaching philosophy to teenage students, Durkheim received tenure in 1887 at the Faculté des Lettres of Bordeaux before coming to Paris in 1892, where he held a professorship in science of education and sociology up until his death.
The period 1893-1897 was a crucial time in his career. He published three important works: The Division of Labour in Society (“De la division du travail social”) in 1893, Rules of the Sociological Method (“Les règles de la méthode sociologique”) in 1895 and Suicide (“Le suicide”) in 1897. He also founded the journal l'Année sociologique, which would allow him to create an actual school of thought around his ideas. He is considered one of the founding fathers of sociology for the impetus he gave the French school in the late 19th century.
In order to grant sociology its autonomy as a social science, Durkheim wanted to develop a methodology both specific to the field and objective in design. To this end, he looked to define the ‘social fact’ that must allow one to observe society in the way a physicist observes unknown phenomena.
According to Durkheim, “one must consider social facts as things” through inquiry and the use of statistical methods, and their comparison. In his study of suicide, he attempted to show that this ‘social fact’ depends not only on the individual himself but also on various ‘social factors’.
This methodology also allowed him to study the ‘social links’ as defined by the interdependent relationships and the complementarities of men within a society.
His use of appropriately designed statistical methods and the need for useful comparisons of these, highlights the importance Durkheim placed on the statistical approach in his study of human societies. In many ways, his methodology resembles that of Quetelet, however, Durkheim goes even further than him. Furthermore, his choice of language and the style in which he presents his ideas are closer to the sociologist’s way of thinking. In this, he has greatly contributed to enriching this new discipline in the field of social sciences through the use of data analysis, which he chooses to be as objective as possible. We can thus consider Durkheim a pioneer in quantitative sociology and a great defender of statistical analysis as a tool for rigorous investigation.
Emile Durkheim’s son André died in combat during the First World War in December 1915. He never fully recovered from this tragic loss, which probably precipitated his own death on November 15th, 1917, in Paris.
Christiaan Huygens Committee on the History of Statistics
The New Premises of the ISI Permanent Office
In August, the ISI Permanent Office moved into the new building of Statistics Netherlands.
A collage of photos can be seen here, including Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands who, along with other dignitaries, officially opened the building on 8th October.
Photograph of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix taken by: Mr. Marco Kuijpers
All other photographs taken by: Dr. Jurriën Vroom and Mr. D.J. Hoogerdijk
News from ISI Sections: Bernoulli Society IAOS IASC IASE IASS IFC ISBIS
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News from ISI Sections Volume 32, No. 3 (96) 2008
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