Friday, March 30, 2012

General Strike Disrupts Spain but Our Conference Poster Makes It Through

If you have international collaborators, colleagues, and friends, you may hear of world news events before any official news reports.

This happened to me this morning, when I received a message from Professor Tina Wakolbinger of the Vienna University of Economics and Business. She was to present, with her doctoral student, a poster based on the paper that we have been working on, along with another co-author, Dr. Fuminori Toyasaki of York University in Canada. Both Tina and Fuminori had been my doctoral students at the Isenberg School of Management and are doing terrific research in supply chains and sustainability as well as in the financial funding of humanitarian organizations.

The title of our paper that was to be presented in poster format was, "The Influence of Technical, Market and Legislative Factors on E-Waste Flows" and the venue was the International Closed-Loop Conference in Zaragoza, Spain. A clip from the poster is featured above.

The message from Tina said that she had made it to Zaragoza, Spain and was at the International Closed-Loop Conference. The agenda for the conference can be downloaded here.

There was a general strike yesterday in Spain, so the trains did not run and they drove over a thousand miles by car (that is academic dedication). According to Mapquest, this trip is estimated at 19 hours!

Then Zaragoza was blocked because of people walking and striking, so they drove around for 2 hours.

They finally made it to the hotel around 10 PM.

Then the Internet did not work ....

Several of the conferees could not come because of cancelled flights (including Dr. Toyasaki). Other speakers were planning on Skyping in because they could not come as well.

Later, I read online about the general strike that had crippled Spain and that had brought transportation to a standstill. At least 58 had been arrested and there have also been injuries. The strike is against austerity measures of the government.

But our conference poster made it through, thanks to Professor Tina Wakolbinger and Thomas Nowak.

Now, they have to make it safely back to Vienna!