On March 23rd a bomb exploded on a busy street in Jerusalem, killing one person and injuring over 30 others, including a 19 year old woman from my hometown of Cleveland. I have thought a lot about this bombing in no small part because on Friday, I will leave for Israel, to speak about health information technology at a conference there. I have also thought about the unrest in Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, all of which border Israel. The Middle East is a far less quiet place than it was when I accepted the invitation in November. Yet, I am still going. I look forward to seeing friends and relatives, but I also have a notion that having made the commitment to participate, it would be wrong to pull out barring a personal emergency or a “clear and present danger.”
Has anyone else attended international conferences despite unrest in the region? Does our participation make any meaningful difference in supporting and encouraging academic endeavors in other parts of the world? Do we, as academics, have an ethical or professional responsibility to support research and share knowledge outside the U.S.? I would welcome your thoughts and experiences.
Because I will be busy preparing for my trip, this may well be my last post. I have very much enjoyed my two months as a guest blogger and appreciate everyone’s valuable comments.