INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF LIBRARY ASSOCIATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS (IFLA) CONFERENCE 1999: Libraries as Gateways to an Enlightened World
Bender, David R., Scheeder, Donna, Information Outlook
The sixty-fifth IFLA Council and General Conference convened in Bangkok, Thailand at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre, August 20-28, 1999.
The official opening of the conference provided the occasion for delegates to meet IFLA's new Secretary General, Ross Shimmon. IFLA President Madame Christine Deschamps introduced Shimmon, who assumed the position on May 15, 1999, leaving his position as Chief Executive of the Library Association (United Kingdom), which he has held since 1992. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presided over the opening ceremony and delivered the keynote speech. In her opening comments, President Deschamps stated, "The sixty-fifth IFLA Council and General Conference is the most appropriate world forum for the international library and information professionals. Of course, August 1999 is almost the last moment before the dawn of the twenty-first century. Nevertheless, this is not too late, taking into consideration IFLA's remarkable victory over the main obstacles to access to information, the prompt action to harness information technology, to build up a network for resource sharing, the attempt to fill up the gap between the book hungry and the book millionaires, and other activities to make Books for All and All for Books."
Following the official opening, the conference began with an array of satellite meetings, various board functions, committee events, and national caucuses. One event, worthy of special note for it seldom is a part of the official pre-opening events, was a greeting from a member of the Royal Family. At the invitation of IFLA, forty association executives were presented to Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn at the Chitralada Palace. Her Royal Highness the Princess welcomed her guests saying, "His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadei has graciously accepted this conference under his patronage because he recognizes the significance of such a conference. He appreciates your determination to mobilize all efforts to ensure equal access to knowledge for every member of the world community. Your commitment to narrow the gap between the have and have-not countries in terms of knowledge will hopefully make the approaching millennium one that is characterized by its ethical approach to knowledge and pea ce for all." At the conclusion of her remarks, several associations presented gifts to Her Royal Highness the Princess. SLA was one of the associations, with our gift intended for use in the nationwide campaign for establishing rural libraries.
More than 150 papers were presented throughout the open program sessions and workshops at the conference. The papers were also made available on CD-ROM and were posted on IFLANET (www.ifla.org). Simultaneously, a three-day exhibition was held from August 23-25 with over one-hundred exhibitors-including SLA-displaying their products and services. A varied social and cultural program was provided so each attendee would have an opportunity to have a giimpse of traditional Thai everyday life and to meet and exchange ideas with their colleagues attending from over 120 countries in a more informal and relaxed atmosphere.
During the conference, a Thai-U.S. seminar was held and joined forty U. …