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CPSR 2005 Annual Meeting and Wiener Award Reception

CPSR hosted its annual weekend at the end of October. We dispensed with the standard content conference, and instead held a series of meetings with different groups to help us determine strategies for moving CPSR forward. While no magic solutions were discovered, we learned a lot about who we are and where we need to go.

group photo

Group photo taken at CPSR's Annual Meeting

Board met with consultant

First, the Board of Directors spent a half day with a leadership development consultant, Ann Danner, fulfilling one of the deliverables of our Ford Foundation grant. During this session, we learned quite a bit about ourselves and how a board in our kind of organization should concentrate its efforts. Then the Board met for a day to discuss the outcomes of that meeting, to review our budgets and audit, and to talk more about the Strategic Plan process. One significant outcome of this meeting was a commitment to re-energize board committees, to hopefully reduce the workload of the board as a whole.

Advisory Council discussed Strategic Plan with Board

On Saturday October 29, we spent the morning with the Advisory Council. As you may know, the formulation of this Advisory Council fulfills another of the Ford deliverables, as does the creation of a Strategic Plan for the organization. Thus, the principal authors of the Plan sit on the Advisory Council, and the primary reviewers are the Council members and the Board. We discussed the Plan and a schedule for completing its editing and delivery, including allowing more time for member feedback. Then we adjourned to a larger meeting room for main event of the day, our annual member meeting.

Membership meeting discussed future of CPSR

The member meeting was well attended by local and several national activists, and we discussed the Strategic Plan, and more generally, the future of CPSR. We spent the bulk of the time discussing how we organize our activism, and how we pick  program areas to focus on. While we need to support the current processes that allow initiatives to bubble up from the grassroots, some of our members and certainly the funding community and the public need to see a little more centralized thinking and planning regarding the program areas that CPSR pursues. We could certainly do a better job of synthesizing and communicating the various initiatives of members, to help find common interests and to build the strongest areas into organizational foci. However, we saw a need (and an opportunity) to do a better job of articulating what our most important work was, to even define one or a couple primary focus areas -- programs that capture the attention of members and of the funding community, and make it easier to tell people through concrete examples what CPSR stands for and works on.

The areas that attracted the most attention are these:

1) Electronic Voting - this has seen our most successful work in the US over the last year or two, although it doesn't necessarily apply to only the US; we see some good funding opportunities to be had over the next US election cycles, and if the program grows, there may be opportunities to expand internationally.

2)Technologies of surveillance and control - framing the leading privacy and civil liberties questions in a way that makes it clear what the unique contribution CPSR can bring, by examining the particular technologies and throwing into question the way that they are represented and used.

3) Internet Governance - this has been the most visible recent international program area, particularly surrounding the WSIS meeting; other international issues we currently work on fit well into (2) above, which is really the best area to bridge US and International activism.

As usual, program issues provided the most lively and interesting discussions with our membership, which makes it clear that defining and articulating and communicating widely our program remains the key to energizing the organization and keeping it viable into the future.

All CPSR members in good standing are invited to register for the website and comment on the Draft Strategic Plan through December 1. If you did not save or receive the emailed instructions from October, contact webmaster(a) with the Subject "Website Account Request" for details.

Weiner reception 2005

Terry Winograd, Joi Ito, and Douglas Engelbart at the Wiener Award Reception

Photos courtesy of Robert Guerra

We thank Cisco Systems for providing breakfast, lunch, refreshments, coffee, and sponsoring the Wiener Award Reception.                       

Created by hdihuyen
Last modified December 13, 2005 05:09 PM

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