University of Limpopo to Commemorate Statistics2013 as Host of SASA
Maseka Lesaoana, Local Organizing Chair
The South African Statistical Association (SASA) recently announced that the University of Limpopo will host its 2013 national conference, SASA 2013, November 4–8.
The 2013 conference marks the association’s 60th anniversary. The annual conference is an important component in the efforts of SASA to achieve its mission of facilitating the advancement of statistical knowledge and promoting applications of statistical theory in all spheres of life, hence contributing positively to the development of South Africa.
Hosting this conference, which is the premier statistics conference in South Africa, is both an honor and opportunity for the University of Limpopo. Various highly respected universities and research councils in South Africa—at times in collaboration with industry—have taken turns hosting the conference. In addition to participants from all over South Africa, the conference is expected to attract attendees from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Tanzania, Madagascar, Swaziland, Lesotho, Kenya, Zambia, and Uganda.
A Brief History of the SASA
The first president of SASA was Barend de Loor (1953–1956), a founding member of the association. The link between SASA and industry and the global world can be traced to its inception and de Loor’s positions on both the Statistics Council and various advisory committees of the Council for Scientific Industrial Research.
From its inception, SASA established connections with the international statistics community, enjoying long-term relationships with colleagues and societies in The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, United States, Spain, Dubai, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland.
SASA 2013 and the University of Limpopo—Establishing New Partnerships
2013 marks the first time a historically disadvantaged university will host a SASA conference. The conference will enhance the quality of learning for the University of Limpopo’s students and help establish further collaborative work with other institutions of higher learning and industry. The faculty of the university already work in close collaboration with colleagues and institutions from several other African countries, including Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia.
The university’s partnerships extend beyond the African continent, however. It is associated with James Cochran of Louisiana Tech University, Michael Noble of the University of Oxford, UK, Santosh Kumar of the University of Melbourne, Australia, Ray Chambers of the University of Wollongong, Australia. The university’s long association with Cochran and Kumar have contributed substantially toward increased research output and postgraduate throughput in the University of Limpopo.
SASA 2013 and Statistics2013
SASA 2013 gives the University of Limpopo and the South African Statistical Association the perfect opportunity to observe the International Year of Statistics and increase the public’s awareness of the powerful and far-reaching effects the statistics discipline has on everyone. Three activities SASA is undertaking include participating in appropriate processes and structures that affect South African society; being accessible to, and supportive of, the users of statistics in the broader community; and actively cooperating with organizations and societies associated with disciplines that are broadly related to statistics. The SASA 2013 theme, “The Power of Statistics on Society,” supports the objectives of both SASA and Statistics2013.
Public promotion of SASA 2013, its plenary speakers, and several sessions with great potential public appeal will increase the public’s mindfulness of the impact of statistics on all aspects of society; however, the conference also will emphasize nurturing statistics as a profession among young people.
In addition to giving a plenary talk, Cochran will organize and chair the first SASA doctoral colloquium. This colloquium is designed to help students successfully make the transition from student to academician or practitioner with minimal difficulty, as well as to encourage doctoral students to take on research projects with the potential to strongly affect society.
For more information about SASA 2013, email SASA2013@ul.ac.za.