FIAT/IFTA World Conference 2013 Dubai, Opening speech, President Jan Müller

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Given on October 26th 2013. "Let me return a moment to FIAT/IFTA’s mission, which is based on helping and inspiring. Our federation meets once a year – to get inspiration, to discuss new ideas and concepts, and to hear one another’s stories. Three days filled with inspiration – the main goal of our world conference."

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FIAT/IFTA World Conference 2013 Dubai, Opening speech, President Jan Müller

  1. 1. Opening speech 26 October 2013 Good morning everybody! I hope you all enjoyed the opening party last night, and for those who just arrived: welcome to Dubai, welcome at 2013 World Conference of FIAT/IFTA. First of all, I would like to express my thanks to the organiser and host of this World Conference, Al Arabiya News Channel. We are very grateful for the way in which you have provided FIAT/IFTA with temporary accommodation here in Dubai for people from 40 different countries. I am certain that this conference will be a memorable one. On behalf of all those concerned with FIAT/IFTA – many thanks. Last year, at the World Conference in London, I had the honour of addressing my first speech to you as president. Under the presidency of my predecessor Herbert Hayduck, some impressive steps were taken with regard to our image and corporate identity, the growth of our organisation and our financial affairs, which are looking healthier than ever. When taking over the presidency, I said that FIAT/IFTA was ready for the future. And I did not say so lightly. Last night, I had a talk with Nakhle El Hage, director of Al Arabiya News and Current Affairs. He told me about the challenges Al Arabiya is facing, about the influence of social media, which are forceful channels in Arab countries too. Actually, we were talking about the effects of being part of the digital domain, the place where we all act, or will act soon. We – and now I’m talking about us as archivists - are in a period of transition. We are all experiencing what it means to enter that digital domain. Some of us are already in full flow, while others are treading carefully, having just left the analogue era. Whatever the case, we can state without a doubt that the world of audiovisual and broadcast archives has entered exciting yet complex times.
  2. 2. But these have now become preconditions in the light of which we all shape our own strategies. And despite all the restrictions and complexities, an extremely inspiring era is unfolding before us. Unexpected opportunities present themselves when parties get together and collaborate. This is facilitated more than ever before by the achievements of the digital domain. From that perspective, FIAT/IFTA has re-evaluated its own mission and vision. Within the Executive Council, and in close cooperation with the commission heads and members, we defined FIAT/IFTA’s goal for the coming period at a joint strategic session in Hilversum this springtime. Let me return a moment to FIAT/IFTA’s mission, which is based on helping and inspiring. Our federation meets once a year – to get inspiration, to discuss new ideas and concepts, and to hear one another’s stories. Three days filled with inspiration – the main goal of our world conference. There are many other ways in which we lend a helping hand. There is the new website, for example, and the regional conferences and joint seminars, which are often practical in character as well. And since the beginning of this year we have the addition of two wonderful new initiatives. I cannot tell you how proud I am of our FIAT/IFTA project Save Your Archive; a programme especially developed by a small team within FIAT/IFTA under the auspices of the Executive Council, to help the survival of endangered audiovisual collections. The official starting signal was given to the programme on the first of May this year, accompanied by the request for candidates to apply and for our members to help identify such endangered collections. FIAT/IFTA wants to contribute to saving audiovisual heritage all over the world. So we see UNESCO’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage on the twenty-seventh of October as an ideal occasion for announcing the selected projects. I am looking forward to it very much! The Executive Council also took a decision on another project, which still has the working title the ‘Knowledge and Training Team’. Like the Save Your Archive Programme, this initiative is also based on helping our members. It assists with the funding of their studies and training in the field of media and archive management.
  3. 3. And finally, there is this long-standing FIAT/IFTA initiative: the Achievement Awards, which encourage the creative use of archive material. This year, tonight, we will be presenting the Awards for the twentieth time! A milestone in the history of our world conferences and also something we are really proud of. The FIAT/IFTA Awards have produced a long line of illustrious winners, each impressive in their own right and distinguished by the fact that audiovisual collections have formed the basis for their productions. To celebrate twenty years of the FIAT/IFTA Awards, we will pay special tribute in the conference lobby to all the past winners. And tonight, on the evening of the award ceremony, we are expecting a special guest as copresenter. You are all here today because you want to go further – and rightly so. You want to hear new things and learn from your colleagues and from the speakers. You have been looking forward to a few days of annual immersion in a pool of information and inspiration. For the first time this year, many of our members have helped to put together a programme that I am sure will fulfil everyone’s inspirational requirements. Last night, at the opening party, I said something about the fact that our archives are our collective memories. Without them, we would miss an important part of our cultural heritage. We would loose a part of our identity. The theme of this World Conference is about that: about our task to Keep the Past recent, that’s what we do and that’s what we want to discuss, to learn and be inspired about. We are keeping memories; we help remember. On behalf of the whole Executive Council, the organisers, the host, the sponsors and the speakers, I wish you a very successful conference. Enjoy!

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