ICMI 2012 - Message from ICMI President

Dear ICMI Community,

Welcome to 2012, and thanks to everyone who has served us all in 2011.

2011 was a major year for ICMI. Two events of far-reaching significance occurred, although both may have been invisible to many in the community. The ICMI Permanent office within the IMU Permanent Office in Berlin has meant that suddenly ICMI can expand its activities in a way that has been impossible in the past. Many routine tasks accomplished voluntarily by ICMI office-holders are now part of the work of those in the Permanent Office, notably Lena Koch, but aided by others in the IMU secretariat. Many thanks, Lena, for accepting this position and willingly taken on a diverse range of tasks and initiating others on our behalf.
The second event was the Mali Programme of ICMI’s Capacity And Networking Project (CANP). CANP is a joint ICMI/IMU/CDC/ICIAM development initiative, supported by UNESCO and other agencies. It is designed to promote mathematics education in developing regions, and has as its centre a two-week workshop in a different region each year. The French West Africa programme, held in Mali, was the first instance of CANP, and its success is primarily due to Michèle Artigue, who was strongly supported by a regional organising group and colleagues from Grenoble University. The programme was a great success, and bodes well for the 2012 programme (in Central America) and 2013 programme (in South East Asia).
2011 also saw the publication of the ICMI Study 18 volume, a tribute to the dedication of Carmen Batanero, and the ICMI Study 21 conference thanks to co-chairs Mamokgethi Setati and Maria do Carmo Domite. Volumes for Studies 19 and 20 are well advanced, with final proofs of the former now with the publisher thanks to many hours of work by Gila Hanna and Michael de Villiers.
These major events are a long way from representing all the work done within ICMI for the community. For example, every conference in our field represents hours of unpaid work by the organisers, and outstanding in 2012 in this respect was the convening by Angel Ruiz of the 13th conference of the Inter-American Committee of Mathematics Education (IACME–CIAEM) in Brazil.

The new year will see our four-yearly conference, ICME-12, in Seoul in South Korea. My thanks and respects go to Sung Je Cho, Hee-chan Lew, Oh Nam Kwon and their many colleagues on the LOC, plus the International Programme Committee, TSG chairs and others who have been working over the past year to make this a success. I am looking forward to seeing you all there—although I understand the financial difficulties of many in the community in these austere times. I acknowledge all those who are making sacrifices to attend.
Speaking of ICME, the announcement was made recently for the venue of ICME-13: Hamburg Germany. Gabriele Kaiser and the German mathematics education community have a huge task ahead. Our thanks to the bid committees of the two cities who missed out—both Durban and Prague presented excellent bids, and convinced us of the viability of each city to host our conference. Unfortunately only one bid can be successful.
The new ICMI Study (#22 on Task Design) will have its first IPC meeting in Oxford in January: we should give our appreciation in advance to Anne Watson and Minoru Ohtani and their team for the work ahead. We also hope to launch Study 23 on a Primary Mathematics theme in this coming year.

Finally I want to express appreciation to the ICMI Executive, especially Jamie Carvalho e Silva, the General-Secretary. These are voluntary positions, but involve considerable work on top of busy lives. The S-G, especially, needs to be “on call” on a daily basis, and Jaime has done a lot more behind the scenes than produce the Newsletter and maintain the web-page (the clearly visible parts of his work).
At the ICMI General Assembly to be held in Seoul prior to ICME-12, a new Executive will be elected. Many of us will relinquish our current roles, and we wish our successors the pleasure we have had in serving our community—a pleasure that far outweighs the extra work.

So a big “Thank You” to all those in the community who have worked and are working for the benefit of us all. As ICMI becomes an enlarged organisation with significant development roles there will be more opportunities to engage in interesting international work in our field.

Best Wishes for the New Year

Bill Barton

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