First, I must note with considerable sadness that this will be the first issue of the Journal of Third World Studies to appear without the name of Harold Isaacs as editor, a position he held from the journal’s modest inception in 1984. Having known the man for a quarter century, I can say that he would not want us to dwell on his departure, but rather would urge us to move forward and work to take the Association and its journal to even greater heights. Inevitably, they will both evolve over time, as Dr. Isaacs understood. An individual of vision, he was quite willing always to change and adapt, as he understood that growth and change are essential to the vitality of any organization. What I do not expect to see change are the core values that brought together the exceptional group of people who compose and sustain our organization – a commitment to further knowledge and understanding between peoples, to foster more social justice, peace, and better living conditions globally.
One thing that will soon change is the name of our organization; the name of our journal will be amended accordingly. There has grown over time a consensus among our membership that the label “Third World” is both anachronistic and pejorative, though our Association members never used the term to infer anything negative or demeaning. Still, the name has acquired negative connotations and we believe that this fact necessitates a change of name to better reflect our Association’s values and purposes. Our current president, Dr. Jyotirmaya Tripathy, has called on our members to make suggestions for a new name. While it is unlikely that hundreds of members will unanimously agree upon one preferred name for our Association and the journal, this open process I believe will produce a name that the vast majority of us will find acceptable and even appealing.
It is now up to us to keep the Association and the journal relevant and thriving. New members must be steadily recruited and willing to step forward into positions of leadership and responsibility. I think we have every reason to feel optimistic that our Association and its journal will survive all of us who are current members. Perhaps I feel this way in part because I am familiar with many of our members and I have seen what they can do when called upon. Like our founder, they tend to be people with exceptional talents and abilities, possessing great vision and large hearts to match. While it was daunting for me to step into the breach when Dr. Isaacs passed away, and I might easily have stumbled, I found myself supported by a deep pool of wonderfully helpful Association members. [End Page 9] Without their aid and encouragement, I could not have managed half as well. Though I cannot possibly mention everyone who has contributed, I would like to thank of number of them.
Bill Head has been a mainstay of the Association for virtually its entire history, having drafted its constitution. He continues to provide support, encouragement, and good advice to the rest of us in the organization. He is an inspiration. Paul Rodell deserves credit for having spearheaded the tributes section of this issue of the JTWS. Like Bill, he has been an Association leader for many years; and he took it upon himself to collect and edit the papers honoring our late founder, which were presented at the Quito conference. Michael Hall, who did the groundwork for the conference (and for several other past conferences) volunteered to serve as the new book reviews editor for the journal. He has been a huge help, as well. Our Association’s Executive Director, Bill Pederson, has been a steady source of wisdom, equanimity, and support through times both stressful and trying. Doyin Coker-Kolo has served for nine years as our treasurer, a demanding job as I know well (having served in the position during the previous nine years). All of the members of the Association owe her a great debt of thanks as a newly-elected treasurer, Funke Fontenot, assumes this position of responsibility. We are grateful to her for taking over as treasurer. Abdul...