On the road to Cape Town 2017
Pretoria & Cape Town, South Africa, June 2016
Preparation for the 2017 International Population Conference (IPC) continues. France Meslé and Mary Ellen Zuppan recently travelled to South Africa to meet with host country organisers to review preparations for the Conference. The trip coincided with the 5th ISIbalo Conference of African Young Statisticians, hosted and organized by Stats SA, which has as one of its missions to build statistical capacity on the continent. The Conference brought together 106 participants from 18 African countries.
Initiated by Stats SA in 2009, in association with the 57th Session of the International Statistical Institute in Durban, ISIbalo has as its objective to develop the capacity of young statisticians on the African continent via several ongoing training programmes and an annual conference. The 5th conference took place from 13 to 17 June 2016 at the Saint George Hotel in Pretoria. The conference began with an opening ceremony marked by songs and dancing with speeches by several imminent African statisticians. Pali Lahohla, Statistican General of South Africa, gave a speech in which he argued for the need for open, publicly accessible data and the capacity to analyse and use this data. The Conference was organized around several training workshops taught by international and South African experts including IUSSP members Sally Findley and Mark Collinson as well as Graham Kalton, Lehana Thabane, and others. The objective of these workshops is to provide young African statisticians with the tools needed to design and carry out research projects, analyse data and communicate the results to the scientific community, policy makers and the public. The objectives of the ISIbalo Conference fit perfectly with the organization of the next IUSSP Conference in South Africa, which will also contribute to training and capacity building in Africa on population issues. It is hoped that many of those participating in the ISIbalo workshops will also participate in the 2017 IPC.
During the conference, Mary Ellen Zuppan and France Meslé met with Stats SA collegues in charge of organising the 2017 IPC to discuss strategic and practical aspects of the future IPC including the recruitment of sponsors, the organization of side meetings and exhibits, food service at the Conference Centre, visa requests, and the recruitment of a Professional Conference Organizer… They then traveled to Cape Town with a few members of the NOC to meet with the person in charge of our conference at the conference centre in Cape Town (CTICC) to review various logistical questions in order to ensure the best possible arrangements for all participants at the Conference. There remain many more items to handle, but this visit greatly assisted in ensuring that we are well on the road to a successful IPC in Cape Town.