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Posted June 5, 2012

Congress 2012 - Recap

A coda for Congress 2012

Waterloo - Congress 2012 has come and gone, with hundreds more delegates than expected and a number of events that were jammed with capacity crowds over the eight conference days.

To recap:

Congress 2012 kicked off with a major funding announcement from the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology: $70 million for projects funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.

The Congress’ marquee events, the “Big Thinking” lectures, featured such notable speakers as Margaret Atwood, Chris Hedges, Don Tapscott, Jane Urquhart, and Thomas Homer-Dixon, and were also streamed live from Congress to hundreds of online viewers. The first Big Thinking lecture was a moving call for more collaboration between universities and communities from His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. Most of the lectures can be viewed on the CFHSS's YouTube channel.

More than 80 exhibitors participated in Congress, as well as nearly 70 associations encompassing the social sciences and humanities—disciplines including literature, theatre, sociology, geography, education, population studies, and much more.

A documentary film crew filmed all aspects of Congress 2012, and interviewed speakers, delegates, organizers and volunteers alike.

“This year’s Congress was a true tour de force,” said Graham Carr, President of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, organizers of Congress. “We couldn’t have done it without the phenomenal hospitality of Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, and the people of the Kitchener-Waterloo area, who welcomed Congress delegates for the week.”

And here's a final message from Congress 2012 academic co-convenor, James Skidmore:

"7,500 delegates. 631 volunteers. Two very proud and happy universities, and one ecstatic Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences. That’s the net result of Congress 2012, which drew to a close on Saturday.

None of this would have been possible without the hard work of a core group of staff whose jobs – and lives – were taken over by Congress 2012. On behalf of President Feridun Hamdullahpur and Congress Co-Chair and Dean of Arts Doug Peers, I’d like to offer sincere thanks to the following individuals:

To the hundreds of student, staff, and faculty volunteers – an amazing job! Delegate after delegate remarked how kind and helpful everyone was.

To the staff of the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences who settled in Waterloo for over a week: Graham Carr, Jean-Marc Mangin, Alison Hebbs, Alison Faulknor, Jessica Gustafson, Mara Juneau, Donna LeLièvre, Ann Miller, Gabrielle Etcheverry, Jessica Clark, Milena Stanoeva, Karen Rees, and all of your other employees. You folks sure know how to put on a wonderful conference.

To Police and Parking Services: Dan Anderson, Sharon Rumpel, Ed Danhousen, Alan Binns, and all the constables who provided security and a friendly welcome at the Beer Tent.

To Food and Conference Services: Lee Elkas, Rex Coffin, Rob Sexton, Daniel Lemay, Roland Lynn, Wilma Balvert, Simon Chan, Mike Carbage, Karen Majaury, Erika Larocque, Nick Fuller, Phil Bland, Susanne Keppler, Carlie Wardell, Shannon Moir, Amanda Reinhart, Brittany Shields, Timothy Bettino, Jacklyn Chung, Tashrif Alam, Katie Rehkopf. The food was first-rate, and everyone who needed a bed got one!

To Plant Operations: Tom Galloway, Nelson Carillos, and the entire staff who made the campus look great, installed all the signs, and cleaned up the garbage.

To Central Stores: Stan "Butch" Shantz and his team who managed all the classroom and venue setups teardowns, and last-minute setup requests, in the process moving countless tables and chairs.

To IST and ITMS: Andrea Chappell, Dwight Schmidt, Tammi Beaulieu, Michael Davenport, Marcel David, Derek Madge, Doug Sutherland, Rick denBroeder, Randy Boehm, Scott Charles, Dianne Naughton, Alan Kirker. You handled crises big and small with aplomb, made sure all of our guests had access to internet services, and did a wonderful job live streaming the Big Thinking lectures held at Waterloo.

To the Registrar’s Office: Ken Lavigne, Charlene Schumm, Tanya Pompilio, and Ann Wendt: without your great work we wouldn’t have had any rooms for the associations to meet!

To Retail Services and its manager, May Yan, for keeping their locations open as a convenience for delegates.

To the Library: Mark Haslett, Susan Routliffe, and especially Nancy Collins, for extending its hours and being a refuge to all delegates during Congress.

To the Waterloo organizers of the Congress Career Corner: Kerry Mahoney, Elisabeth Adrian, Svitlana Taraban-Gordon, Trevor Holmes, Donna Ellis. You and your workshop leaders/panelists helped graduate students gain a little more confidence as they face a tough job market.

To all those from Student Success, the Federation of Students, and Housing involved in coordinating volunteers and special events: Jessica Bondy, Kathryn Christie, Nga Tran, Chinye Osamusali, Samantha Wiebe, Katie Eley, Laura McLellan, Jane Kolb, Gabrielle Smith. The volunteers were amazing, and the Presidents’ Receptions and ConnecTent were enjoyed by all who attended.

To Communications and Public Affairs: Ellen Réthoré, Mellissa McDonald, Stacey Ash, Pamela Smyth, Brittany Stacey, Karen Mason, Julie Millard, Shelley Grandy, Karen Kawawada (now in Environment) Brandon Sweet, and Aaron Miller: You’ve provided fantastic support, great ideas, and wonderful dancing partners throughout this process.

To staff in the Faculty of Arts: Wendy Philpott, Angela Roorda, Sherilee Diebold-Cooze, Lynne Jelokhani-Niaraki, Xing Liao, and Janet Vaughan, and all the volunteers at the Waterloo booth at the Congress Expo: you all helped whenever asked, and you were asked often!

To our partners and counterparts from Wilfrid Laurier University: Ryan Lloyd Craig, Megan Malcolmson, David Playfair, Susan Mackenzie, Gary Wagner, James Emary, Cam Terry, Heather Matlashewski, Yolanta Difelice, Meg Wiles, Lori Chalmers Morrison, Kevin Crowley, Ryan Lannan, Sue Dawson. It was a pleasure getting to know you and work together for a common goal. We should do that more often.

And finally to Congress Central Command, the folks who brought the vision to life: Eleanor Ty, Laura Davey, Chinye Osamusali, Dan Dawson, and Sheldon Pereira. The hundreds of hours were worth it. We did it!"

Congress 2013 will be hosted by the University of Victoria, and returns to Ontario in 2014 when Brock University plays host.

Finally, I received word from David John in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies that I missed announcing one of the awards handed out to Waterloo researchers during the Congress proceedings. James Skidmore, also of Germanic and Slavic Studies, and who has been working crazy hours as Congress academic co-convenor, received the prestigious GO (German Online) Award for his development of German 271/272, an "outstanding example of online teaching design, materials, and effective instruction in our field." So, on top of the congratulations for a Congress well done, congrats on your award, Skid!

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