News & Press: InSider

A Message to the Members of AIS

Tuesday, January 31, 2017   (3 Comments)
Posted by: Brook Pritchett
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Following the recent Executive Order on Immigration in the United States, many members have reached out to me and the Association’s leadership team to express concerns about how recent changes in the global political landscape:
  • affect members’ ability to participate in Association for Information Systems (AIS) conferences;
  • undermine members’ ability to engage in free and open academic inquiry; and,
  • to ask AIS to speak out against the Executive Order, as it hurts academic freedom.

Please accept my thanks for sharing your thoughts and your many expressions of support for sustaining our inclusive, global Information Systems community. 
That AIS supports free and open exchange of ideas, as well as the free and open movement of our members as they seek to do so, should not be questioned.  We are a global Association, composed of more than 4,400 members, who work in 107 countries, and who represent many more nationalities. As an Association, we thrive from the diversity of social, political and cultural beliefs that shape the intellectual culture of our field, and are represented at our conferences. 

However, because of our diversity, AIS has a long standing best practice that restricts our officers from taking a position on national or regional political issues on behalf of the Association, no matter how personally repugnant leadership may find a policy. 

While the global political landscape may have changed, the AIS leadership team remains true to the Association’s core values of inclusiveness, diversity and open exchange of ideas.  We are dedicated to furthering the Associations’ primary mission, of growing and sustaining an inclusive, diverse, global information systems community. 

To that end, we remain committed to:

  • Requiring the location of our largest conference, the International Conference on Information Systems be held on a different continent each year, thereby creating opportunities for our members to learn more about different cultures and ways of doing things.
  • Rotating our leadership, such that AIS Presidents and most AIS Vice Presidents are drawn from different regions of the globe every year, thereby ensuring diverse views and voices are represented in policy decisions.
  • Providing an accessible dues structure that ensures IS academics from the lowest income countries can afford to participate in the Association. 
Further, we support:
  • Conserving scholarly artifacts from all regions of the world in the AIS e-library, as a means to ensure all members’ work has a permanent and globally-accessible repository.
  • Hosting conferences and workshops in all regions of the world, irrespective of the dominant faith, creed, or ethnicity, thereby supporting the growth of our scholarly community.
  • Growing diversity in our Association, through Colleges such as the AIS Women’s Network and SIGs, such as SIG Inclusion, that afford opportunities for all members of the IS discipline to fully participate in our Association; and,
  • Exploring alternative means of conference participation, particularly for members who are unable to participate due to restrictions on movement.

For 22 years this global mission and principles have been the bedrock of AIS. I encourage AIS members to join us in supporting these initiatives – and to suggest more – because by doing so, we enable better scholarship, more effective pedagogy, and strengthen our global Information Systems community.  


Jason Bennett Thatcher
Association for Information Systems


Aviv Shachak says...
Posted Thursday, February 2, 2017
In light of the executive order and the uncertainty re what would happen next, I'd urge AIS to move ICIS 2018 from San-Francisco to a different country
Florian Allwein says...
Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Thanks Jason! Can you nevertheless address the concerns you listed at the beginning? This is not about taking a position on political issues, but about the practicalities of hosting international conferences.
Matthew L. Nelson says...
Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Outstanding message Jason! Thank-you for providing this. Thanks also for your service and leadership in the association for so many years!

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