Thursday, September 06, 2007

2007 WSA Grand Jury Croatia (8)

This morning the sky is overcast with clouds; a scarce ray of sun is showing. The WSA Polar Bear swimming club is not on sunshine strength, but some of the members of the running team are out making their kilometres on this nice island.

Yesterday afternoon we had a chance to see the island. The jurors and the staff were picked up by a theme park train for a ride through the nature park. It is paradise, although this has not always been the case. In the beginning of last century, Brijuni was covered with swamps for some thirty percent, spreading malaria. The island was at that time in possession of an Austrian owner. The last Austrian owner could not get the island financed and shot himself. Then it was taken over by the government and in Tito’s time used as a residence. You still can discover three hospitality buildings for presidents and heads of state. Tito himself had a smaller island around Brijuni just for himself, completely covered in green. He has brought a safari park to the island. Whenever heads of state visited him they gave him exotic animals such as an elephant, a zebu, a Shetland pony from Queen Elisabeth II. There were more exotic animals such as tigers and lions, but they were no longer allowed on the island when a law on exotic animals was accepted by the Croatian government, when the country gained independence in 1991; the animals were moved to the zoo in Zagreb.
The history of the island goes back to at least the Romans. They left their traces of houses, a temple and a harbour on the island. Given the swamps, it is clear that they settled near the sea.

It was a strange day as we were confronted with the news from outside the island. Of course we are not living here in splendid isolation, but time for viewing television is hardly present; and when there is time, Peter Bruck, the chair, will think up a meeting either about the future of WSA or about collaborative projects. But it was sad to hear about the death of the Italian singer Pavarotti, who died of cancer. And closer to home was the news of the hurricane that hit Nicaragua, as Cornelius Hopmann comes from that country. He asked the jury five minutes to commemorate this disaster.

It was a heavy day. We still had to go three categories. And the first one, e-Learning, delivered many questions and problems as to teaching and learning as well as administrative software platforms vs content. But by the afternoon the list of winners was resolved. Then followed the category e-Business; the members of the jury had looked for some new business models. Funny enough it were not the likes of YouTube to be honoured, but more the economic activities with a social character. Last but not least was the category e-Inclusion. This of course is one of the critical areas for the WSA: how can you involve groups in society that do not have access to ICT and ICT devices to lift themselves up to a living standard. After some heavy voting over the last place of the five winners, the list was complete. The Grand Jury had finished her task and you could see the relief among the jurors. The evaluation of entries was over as well as the voting in favour or against. No more Roberts’ rules for handling a meeting. No more motions and seconding of at least two jurors and friends and no more counting. And this time we will miss the closing remarks of Cornelius Hopmann: End of intervention; as if he was calling himself to halt in the stream of thoughts. The jurors and staff members went happily for dinner.

BTW There is an official WSA blog and there will be daily photographs.

Blog Posting Number: 859

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