A Word from the President:

We are very pleased that The Once and Future World: Making and Breaking History conference was a smashing success. Some photos from the event can be viewed on our Facebook page linked on the right widget.

Please take a moment to read a note from the AGIC president (our benevolent dictator), Ildikó Glaser-Hille:

Today’s presentations have truly been an embodiment of this year’s theme. Together, we broke known boundaries and made history, with papers coming from not only all over Canada, but also from the United States and from the four corners of the world. Today, we have ended the world as we know it. After all, academia has always been pivotal in understanding – and then surpassing – what societies has deemed to be its limits. In the talks given today, exemplified by Dr. Lorenzo DiTommaso’s keynote address, we have seen that this is true on the most fundamental level of any given civilisation. As we forge our future, we are at once breaking our history, as well as preserving it, thus creating a new world.

If anything, we hope that this conference provided you with an environment that engendered a feeling of mutual respect, facilitating the sharing of research, that enabled you to discuss ideas and encouraged you to make and break your own personal histories and boundaries and delve deep into realm of thought as you continue on your journey of your own scholarship; hopefully, a little more richer and a little more inspired.

The success of this conference could not have happened without the help and encouragement of so many people, and I ask you to bear with me as I attempt thank those who have worked so tirelessly in order to make this year’s conference possible.

First and foremost, we’d like to thank Munit and Tina, who gave us the encouragement that we needed, and the occasional reality check. They are the very soul of this department, and without them, we would all be hopelessly lost. Thank you, ladies!

We’d also like to thank the faculty of Concordia’s Department of Religion, for their support and for their understanding, particularly in the recent weeks when we were not always focused as we would have liked to be.

This conference could not have succeeded without the hard work and dedicated commitment of the committee: Shaun Turriff, my so-called left-hand man, and his calm and levelheaded presence was a true blessing at the times when we were ready to rip our hair out. Shaun was often my sounding board, and reminded us to be practical when the ideas got to be slightly on the wild side.

Sophia Warshall, the catering goddess who personifies the very word ‘hospitality’ did everything to ensure that we were not only well fed at lunch today, but also satisfied. She worked tirelessly to find loopholes in order to make sure that our food would not only be on budget, but would appeal to our discerning palates, which is a feat and a half.

Orenda Boucher-Curotte – the Communications Liaisons. It was she who kept track of all our presenters, making sure that each and every need was met, caring that everyone would be well equipped to not only meet the mercurial nature of Montreal weather but also be well prepared to meet the challenge of Concordia’s construction season.

Andrew Khoury, who was in charge of the volunteers, the baby of the conference and self appointed ‘goon’. His enthusiasm was – and still is – infectious, and he often reminded us why we are doing this in the first place.

Annie Ross, our Financial officer, who had the task of keeping all of our receipts in order, reminding us to bring in those receipts, badgering us to get those receipts. Her sense of humour and light hearted comments made the meetings bearable, and she often became the calm light house in stormy times.

Sam Senecal, who did our publicity and was the printing mistress. Her calm rationality helped us to be on time, ensuring that we all took the occasional deep breath and to take each day as it comes.

Esther Mayer, who designed our poster and provided us with the art work that is on display, gave us an injection of colour, warm uniqueness and inspired creativity.

Cimminnee Holt, the funding guru, the Queen Midas had the daunting task of navigating the Byzantine systems, and somehow managed to survive the labyrinth and kept us on track, pulling funding and stretching our budget to limits unimaginable. Not only did she magically find funding in the more remarkable places, but she also took care of those minute details that seemed to have slipped our minds.  Without her and her creative touch, we would not have been able to pull off such a professional and high-class conference.

A thank you also goes to Laurie Lamoreux-Scholes and Marie-Paule Martel-Remy, our past conference coordinators, for their insight and their words of wisdom. They have built this conference to work as a smooth, tireless machine. Without such a strong foundation, we would never have able to build the conference to such a level. It’s truly because of them that AGIC exists.

Finally, this conference could not have happened without the help and time of our volunteers. It is they who enabled the smooth running and making sure that everyone felt welcome, by providing an atmosphere in which we all could feel comfortable to share our ideas.

And finally, thank you to our presenters and guests. Your participation has been key in defining the 2012 Annual Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference. Without you, we would have only empty rooms. It was you who truly made this experience enjoyable. We merely provided the space – it was you who created the spirit of this incredible conference, and thus helped to make a new history.

We hope to see you again next year.

Thank you,

Ildikó Glaser-Hille