To the members of the ASTM family and to our friends who have suffered personal losses as a result of the events of Sept. 11,we extend our deepest sympathy. The best way we know how to honor those that were lost, and those who mourn them, is to carry on. And this we shall do, with more dedication and resolve than ever before. It is in this spirit that I recount the events below.
In the days shortly after the tragedy, two conferences on standardization were held in Germany, one in Berlin (1) and one in Hamburg. Many in this country had been forbidden to travel. As it happened, an ASTM colleague and I were the only Americans to attend either conference. In Hamburg, the Universität der Bundeswehr held its Third Interdisciplinary Workshop on Standardization Research, organized by Professor Wilfried Hesser, Head of the University’s Department of Standardization. Professor Hesser’s call for papers asked his colleagues to consider the impact of different standardization approaches in the European Union and the United States on regionalization and globalization. In particular, he invited them to address the question, “What is an international standard?” Following are some of the extraordinary statements that came out of that workshop.
These statements, all made by European academics, were supported by market research, case studies, and astute observation. For example, the statement concerning “unrecognized” international standards referred to Internet standards, an example that in itself speaks volumes. (2) Considering the candor, openness, and impartiality with which our European colleagues have shared their findings, I’d say we have something very positive to talk about next year. It could be that we will come to accept the wide world of standards and how its differences make it dynamic and useful; or perhaps we will discover that our differences are not as great as we thought they were. Maybe we’ll be able to agree more than disagree. Maybe the word “harmony” will take on a whole new meaning. And if this year has brought us closer to that, the standards community may be forging the sense of cooperation and unity we hope for in the rest of the world.
A safe holiday season to all.
James A. Thomas
President, ASTM International
Copyright 2001, ASTM International