Dear Members of ISME,
Greetings from Nairobi, Kenya, trusting that you are keeping well.
Since the virtual General Assembly on Thursday 6th August 2020, I have nursed a sense of awe and gratitude, covered in great admiration for the ISME members and professional team. Pulling off that global event virtually was an unparalleled achievement, thanks to the technical team. I wish to congratulate all who facilitated and appreciate all who participated.
I recall from reading the chat, an indication of which parts of the world those in attendance had logged in from, and the diversity and spread was remarkable. That led me to check the various time zones. I realised that whereas some people had woken up very early to attend the GA, some stayed up late (well, really into the next morning) to attend, and yet others probably had to take time off work to be present. It was definitely a very exciting moment, and a joy seeing so many of us together despite the distance created by prevailing circumstances.
I guess the value that we, as music educators (and members of the human race), attach to maintaining social ties was demonstrated by our presence at the meeting. The GA was a time for reports of accomplishments and presentation of plans for the future – a reflection of the past as it ushers in the future. What a busy two years – gauging from the list of accomplishments! This provides much to build on for the next two years.
One of the things that struck me at the GA was, again, diversity, this time in the form of the makeup of the new board. Coming from Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Kenya, Shanghai, Taiwan and the USA, the members bring on board a mix of cultural and professional contexts and experiences that should go a long way in propagating the ISME ideals under the stated values of networking, internationalisation and advocacy.
But, a general feeling of ‘all is not lost’ pervaded the session. Clearly, we missed Helsinki. But we were not defeated, and our coming together stressed that optimism. That speaks to resilience that, I know from my interaction with African music practices, is developed and reinforced by participation in communal activities. I am persuaded that we shall rise from the disruption of Covid-19 a stronger society, thanks to members’ determination as evidenced in our taking of time to participate in the GA and the virtual commission seminars.
So wherever your work takes you, whatever your hands find to do, I wish you fulfilment, success and enjoyment as you walk into the next biennium as a member of ISME. Please stay safe and carefully guard your health.
Emily Achieng’ Akuno
ISME President, 2020-2022