Mediterranean Studies Association Update
May 26, 2020
Dear MSA Colleagues,
Since Louise and I were scheduled to arrive in Gibraltar a few days ago to finalize details for the 23rd Annual MSA Congress, it seems an appropriate time to write you. First and foremost we both hope this communication finds all of you safe and healthy in the wake of the terrible pandemic currently ravaging the world.
It was a most difficult and painful decision to postpone the Annual Congress, but in retrospect that was clearly the most prudent decision that could have been made. In the context of the crisis in which over 330,000 people have lost their lives, it was indeed a small sacrifice to protect our colleagues from the dangers of Covid-19. As in the example of their history, our Greek colleagues appear to have handled the Coronavirus masterfully. At this writing Greece has less than 3000 confirmed cases and less than 200 deaths nationwide. We also acknowledge our South Korean colleagues who have perfected a testing model for Covid-19 that we in America can only dream had been implemented in the USA. There will tragically be over 100,000 deaths in the United States by the time you receive this communication. These are very difficult times for the USA which is paying dearly for too long ignoring the danger and suffering a lacuna of leadership and lack of a nationwide plan.
As the world awaits the eventual recovery from the pandemic, we must also wonder what our adopted home, the Academy, will look like when the Coronavirus tsunami finally recedes, I fear that many traditions and some of our institutions, particularly in the USA, will not survive this crisis. I sincerely hope I am wrong. In the meantime I suggest we ignore what the politicians have to say and follow the wisdom of our scientific community. Let’s continue social distancing, keep washing our hands frequently, and like Louise and I are doing, wear a facemask (if only to protect others) when in public venues.
We hope to see you all in Gibraltar next May for the delayed celebration of the 23rd Annual Congress. Finally, Louise offers her profuse thanks to the many of you who did not request a refund for the Post Tour and other activities related to the Congress. The amount of work the postponement engendered for her was substantial, and not having to make hundreds of refunds was most helpful and appreciated. Thanks to all of you for your understanding and support.
Please be safe,
Mediterranean Studies Association