News on the 2015 WEA conferences front
The WEA Conferences format designed by Edward Fullbrook and Grazia Ietto-Gillies makes full use of the digital technologies in the pursuit of the commitments included in the World Economics Association Manifesto: plurality; competence; reality and relevance; diversity; openness; outreach; ethical conduct; global democracy. The Online Conferences seek to increase the relevance, breadth and depth of economic thought, considering: (a) the variety of theoretical perspectives; (b) the range of human activities and issues which fall within the broad domain of economics; and (c) the study of the world’s diverse economies.
The Greece conference has just ended last December. Many thanks to Yannis Dafermos, Marika Frangakis and Christos Tsironis for organizing it. There have been several excellent papers. It should be noted that some papers which have no or few comments still had a considerable number of hits and downloads which shows interest in them.
We must also highlight that last December, a book from a conference on The economics curriculum: towards a radical reformation was published (details here). The conference was led by Maria Alejandra Madi, Jack Reardon, David Wheat and Halyun Zhao and took place in May-June 2013. The volume is, appropriately, the first in the WEA series in collaboration with College Publications. We hope that the volume will make a contribution to the debate towards changing the curriculum and towards changing attitudes in mainstream economics. Indeed, the problems and issues around the economics curriculum are among the most pressing ones in the profession. Moreover, their ramifications spread throughout economies and societies.
Future plans include a conference on Rethinking Bretton Woods for the 21st century that will be organized by the distinguished Profs Oscar Ugarteche and Alicia Puyana from Mexico. Work is in progress and it will certainly be scheduled in the first semester of 2015.
Besides, Prof. Grazia Ietto-Gillies has already announced a conference on The nuclear industry after Fukushima led by Profs Ken-Ichi Oshima and Chikako Nakayama. Work is also in progress but the dates have not been fixed yet.
One more conference is under discussion on The debt crisis that will be led by the distinguished professor Victor Becker from the University of Buenos Aires. It is still at early stages.
In 2014, WEA members may have noted that we have lengthened the Discussion Forum period for our conferences. We noticed that many conference papers continued to have a substantial number of hits well after the closing period of the original 6 weeks Forum. This prompted us to change our strategy and allow a longer period for people to think and actively participate through their comments. We really benefitted from many of the open comments that the 2014 conferences attracted and we would like to thank all the contributors to the debates.
Online conferences brought deeper changes. The new ability to track downloads and other uses of the online content have raised important questions about the new approaches to the dissemination and discussion of research in economics. Thus, the WEA attempt reflects the current challenges that are being faced by academics, professionals and students around the world.
In the recent past, the papers of the conferences have been downloaded by many more people than usually attend sessions of location conferences, resulting in more interaction within the scholarly and professional community. This success has come about because the WEA fills a gap in the international community of economists: the absence of a professional organization which is both broadly international and pluralist.
Indeed, I am delighted with the opportunity to lead the organization of the WEA Conferences. It has been my privilege to work closely with Grazia Ietto-Gillies since 2013. I have enjoyed the opportunity to watch and learn from her knowledge and experience. She has given to me friendly encouragement and support throughout the organization of a couple of conferences and the development of the book The economics curriculum: towards a radical reformulation. Her frequent valuable insights will be always appreciated. I would really like to express my deep gratitude to Grazia.
Looking forward, we hope the future WEA Conferences could be an opportunity to continue the path for increasing networking within the international community of economists as an essential aspect of the online experience.
From: p.14 of World Economics Association Newsletter 5(1), February 2015