Word From the Outgoing Scientific Secretary

Dear Colleagues,
My term as scientific secretary is coming to a conclusion after four years. It says in our constitution that "The term of office of the Scientific Secretary shall be four years starting from the time of a World Congress of the Society." At the world congress in Singapore, my term was concluded. Our president works on the nomination of a new secretary, who will be appointed by the council. This procedure is also used for the new Treasurer.
It has been a great pleasure and an honour to serve as scientific secretary of the BS. I started when Don Dawson was president, and served together with president Peter Jagers and now with president Jean Jacod. During these four years, we tried to renew BS, to find new vigour, try new ventures, while keeping our strong traditions in terms of international conferences, standing committees and our journal. The most important decisions have been related to move the production of the Bernoulli journal to IMS. I was among the very few to favour a different solution, which would have given a much better economy to BS, necessary to start to be more active. The economy we have now does not allow us to do things.
The world conference in Singapore was our most important production, together with IMS, and was a very big success, with 600 participants. Bernoulli News has been a good instrument of communication and an interesting read. Our journals have high quality, thanks to excellent editors and associated editors. We have started to look to new areas of the world, where BS should fulfill its mission. We have taken part in the ongoing restructuring of ISI, within which BS will continue to play a strong role.
Besides several successes, it is unfortunate that today BS faces many of the same problems it had when I started as secretary, possibly even worse. I am worried for BS, and believe that major action has to be taken if we wish to give to this society a future. We have tried in several directions, but we have failed to reach our goals. We did not succeed to implement policies that could increase our membership, attract younger statisticians, and make BS play a role internationally where needed. The economy of BS is insufficient to do things, except occasionally, while continuity would be needed. We discussed merger with younger societies, we tried new ventures with little success. The way we communicate through our web page is insufficient. The European Young Statistician training camp in Oslo was a very good experience for more than a hundred young friends, but it was not followed up by more events of the same type.
Friendship and collaboration with IMS are important and a plus for BS. IMS is a very lively and rich society. While US based, it has an international mission (see recent China move). It has been lead by excellent leaders, who have never favoured domestic themes, and always had an autonomous standing with respect to US national politics. Despite this, I believe that we need a truly international society, like the ISI and BS represent. There are situations, as we saw in our history, where it simply matters to be international.
What are the problems: lack of mission, lack of funding, and competing societies. It is good to have traditions, but we need more out-look. Statistical science is evolving and changes in our discipline need to be followed up by BS in terms of its role.
Hence, I hope very much that BS can continue and grow! ISI is changing and BS will find in this ISI a new home, a way to start acting. As a member of BS, I will continue to do my part.
With very best regards,

Arnoldo Frigessi


The deadline for the next issue is March 30, 2009. Please email submissions as plain text to the Editors:
Erik van Zwet and Eric Cator.