President's Column

A Lookback at 2022 and Forward to 2023

15 December 2022
Stephen Penneck

As we come to what for many of us is a Festive Season, and a time for giving, and also look forward to a New Year, it makes sense for me to reflect on these things for ISI.

The increased materialism of recent decades and the move to internet purchasing, especially during the pandemic, is beginning to generate a reaction, I think. Encouraged also by increases in the cost of living, many families are beginning to question the need for high spending during the coming holiday season, and whether charitable giving is not a better way?

The ISI is here to help! We have a number of ways you can advance our capacity building goals, by making a donation. Click here to see how you can benefit through the ISI or our Associations. I particularly invite you to look at the Outreach Fund.

As we come to the end of the year, we look back on what the ISI has achieved during 2022

The Public Voice Committee, chaired by Kerrie Mengersen, has come up with some great ideas to ensure our public voice is raised:

  • We have plans to provide a sustainable future for the Statisticians React to the News blog, as well as greater diversity in content, by putting out a general call for contributions, and also targeting some of our members who are active on social media to contribute and join a Public Voice Consortium to help take this work forward.
  • We are setting up a programme of online regional panel discussions around the world on topics of interest – the first of these, focusing on issues facing Australasia was held on 13 December with more than 145 participants.
  • We will be establishing Wiki pages of high-profile ISI members and updating the ISI Wiki page.
  • We will be encouraging ISI members to let us have short video clips of themselves – an elevator pitch on why they are involved in the ISI, or why they are going to the WSC.

So, if any ISI members are interested in supporting any of these initiatives, please let Kerrie know, though our contact page.

Much of our time has been spent preparing for next year’s World Statistics Congress. We are all excited at the prospect of meeting again at our first face-to-face Congress after four years, in Ottawa in July. I am delighted that we have approved 200 Invited Paper Sessions, and we have a very healthy number of Contributed Papers and Posters. It looks to be a very stimulating scientific programme. You will see information on accommodation, visas and tourism information on the WSC 2023 website.

Registrations are now open and I hope you will take advantage of the Early Bird rates. This will primarily be an onsite conference and presenters will need to be in the conference centre to participate. An attractive short course programme has been put together by our colleagues in Canada. These will be held at the University of Ottawa, and we are grateful to them for their support.

Looking more broadly, the ISI has made good progress in providing facilities for its members to network and share their learning with each other.

The online courses advertised on our website have now been extended with new courses going through into 2023. If you have ideas for new courses, please contact the Online Course Committee chaired by David Banks. Similarly, if you want to hold a webinar through the ISI system, please contact the Permanent Office.

We are keen to set up community networks within ISI. These would be online communities based around common interests such as the Special Interest Groups, or on a regional basis to support the Outreach Committees and provide regional networks elsewhere.

In the New Year, we will be making available a new feature, which we are calling ISI Communities. This will enable groups within ISI to register themselves as a Community, and invite other members to join them. The members of these online communities will be able to exchange news and ideas and plan activities. The new system will be fully compliant with Data Protection legislation and will greatly enhance members’ ability to interact with each other.

For established groups, such as the Associations, Special Interest Groups and the Committees, I expect the demand for this new facility to be immediate. Setting up regional communities will require a group of members to get together and make it happen. We will use our Regional Conferences to help stimulate this.

This leads me to our Regional Statistical Conference in Zambia, held jointly with the IAOS, on 4-6 April next year. Its theme is ‘Better Lives 2030: Mobilising the power of data for Africa and the world’, which will be of interest to many. Also we are looking at promoting regional conferences in the next few years in East Asia and Latin America.

Don’t forget to put WSC 2025 in The Hague, 13-17 July 2025, in your diaries, and we ask ISI members to let us have your views on where the WSC 2027 should be held!

Finally, let me congratulate the new members who will be joining the Executive Committee and Council after the WSC in July, especially Fabrizio, Denise and Jessica who will join the EC. There is plenty to do, and let me close by thanking our Director and Permanent Office, and also all our members who volunteer their time, for taking these important initiatives forward.

With best wishes for the Festive Season and the New Year


Stephen Penneck
President, ISI