Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 26 - Saying Goodbye

IDDS 2008 officially drew to a close this morning as we converged on room 16-160, the room in which the conference began over four weeks ago. Each team were presented with certificates signed by Amy, Ben and Harald and there were more than a few moist eyes during the speeches that were made. Alvaro had been elected by his fellow participants to speak on their behalf at this final event and he spoke beautifully about how humbling an experience IDDS had been for him. He imagined himself getting smaller with every fantastic person he met and inspiring story he heard. Yet, despite this, he says he will leave MIT and IDDS full of belief in the art of the possible. I certainly agree with this sentiment and have spent the summer realizing just how within our grasp positive change in the world really is.

Amy spoke about her delight at having gotten to know all of us and her sadness at having to say goodbye so soon. She told us that at IDDS she had expected to create technologies but never thought that she would help create a family. The exceptionally close bond between all the participants and organizers is mind boggling given that we have only known each other for less than four weeks. The common purpose, the common driving force that Suprio talked about in his speech, most certainly had a large hand to play in this family's creation. Amy used an oft quoted line from Margaret Mead to wrap up the conference , "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has", but added that she really felt it was appropriate to the IDDS group.

IDDS was a superb experience for all involved, not least myself, and we can now look forward to the advancement of projects created at this years conference and the planning and organizing of next year's in Ghana. It seemed to me a little odd that an English major from Ireland could never really find the right words to describe a conference that is unequivocally unique. That right seemed to be reserved for physicists from France, bike mechanics from India and even a certain mechanical engineering lecturer in MIT. Nevertheless, I hope you have enjoyed my attempts over the past eight weeks and I look forward with anticipation to seeing IDDS continue to grow and develop. I'll finish with a a sneak preview of two of next summer's main protagonists...

Crossman and John plan for the future in Ghana

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