The President is coming to Venice this fall on an official visit! He will be bringing a message of Hope and Progress for our beleaguered city that this week has seen its population drop below the 60,000 mark.
Could this visit inspire us to look for real alternatives to the mass tourism economy that monopolizes our lives? Could Venice really become the new capital for "immaterial production" as was once again discussed at "Venezia Camp 2009" this past weekend? Or are Venetians doomed to extinction as many fear? Are we going to become mere amusement park entertainers hired by Disney to give visitors a verisimilitude of authenticity?
Are we expecting too much of our president?
We shall see.
President Berkey of WPI will be hosting an alumni event in Venice on Thursday November 12, 2009, to mark the end of our 20th anniversary celebrations. He will be in attendance, together with his wife Cathy and Dexter Bailey, WPI's Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations.
This is the first time a WPI president visits the Venice Project Center, so it will be an honor for us to have a chance to show him, and all alumni who will attend the event, what we have accomplished in our twenty-one years of operation since the distant 1988, when we humbly started our quest to "leave Venice better than we found it". I think we can confidently say "Yes we did!" and, with his influence and stature, we also hope that he can help ignite the next phase of our pursuit for a lasting legacy in my hometown: Venice 3.0. A new era of applied research for Venice, based on the solid foundation of knowledge that we have established thus far. A legacy that will hopefully outlive me... and the president.
Can we inspire a radical new direction of progress in this gem of human artistry and engineering and inject new hope in its dwindling population?
Yes we can! (and we will...)