Il N'y a ni Mauvaises Herbes ni Mauvais Hommes

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Il N'y a ni Mauvaises Herbes ni Mauvais Hommes

Ahmed Tewfik

A little over a century and a half ago, Victor Hugo wrote “Il n’y a ni mauvaises herbes ni mauvais hommes. Il n’y a que de mauvais cultivateurs,” which translates to “there are no weeds and no bad men. There are only bad cultivators.” These two sentences provide a stark reminder of the heavy responsibility we all bear, as parents, educators, mentors, members of professional societies, and citizens of states, nations, and earth. Indeed, arguably our main goal as a professional society is to help develop our human capital. Everything else flows from there. As we empower our members and help them innovate and flourish, we advance the state of the art and make our world a better place for all of its inhabitants. This also underlines the importance of careful strategic planning and execution.

By the time you read this “President’s Message,” the IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) will have completed the first phase of its strategic planning. That first phase was led by several ad hoc committees made up of volunteer members of the Society and members of its Executive Committee and Board of Governors. In the second phase, the SPS will engage with all of you in a series of interactive webinars, centered on finances, conferences, innovations, publications, membership, and education, to finalize its plans by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

The operations of the SPS - including, publications, conferences, technical initiatives, committee support, and staff and member services—are supported essentially by income it derives from IEEE Xplore subscriptions and conferences. Because of the peculiarities of IEEE accounting and finance rules, the Society has consistently run a surplus, which at times has been substantial due to favorable IEEE investment returns. However, the changing publications and conference models are raising concerns about the sustainability of our current revenue streams. As such, it behooves us to carefully consider the financial implications of these changes and begin to invest in new revenue sources. These new revenue sources will also force the Society to make sure that it offers services that industry and society at large value and are willing to pay for through new channels, such as grants and funds designated to support specific or general Society activities and initiatives.

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