The appointment of Australian Christine Mackenzie as President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) was celebrated at the Australian Embassy in Athens on 28 August.

Mr Jon Philp, Charge d’affaires of the Australian Embassy of Athens, formally welcomed an important number of high calibre Greek, Australian and international guests to mark the Athens meeting of IFLA in Athens. He embraced the conference’s proceedings, expressed his pleasure in hosting the event at the Australian Residence in Athens and congratulated Ms Mackenzie’s appointment as IFLA’s new President.

“Christine has had a long and successful career in public libraries,” he said.

“She has been Manager of Brisbane City Council Library Service, the largest public library system in Australia. She has also had a long association with IFLA, having been elected to the IFLA Governing Board in 2015 and having served as Treasurer from 2015-17. Christine’s appointment as President of IFLA is no small feat. I congratulate her on her appointment and wish her every success in her new role. As libraries around the world evolve to be able to meet changing demands, Christine’s track record of embracing disruptive technologies to innovate service delivery will be a great asset to IFLA, and to the world’s libraries.”

Ms Mackenzie also addressed the gathering of around 140 people, acknowledging 2019 as the year of indigenous languages and pointing out that had she been in Australia she would have also acknowledged the traditional custodians of the Australian land. The new IFLA President continued her speech by saying how honoured she was to be the second Australian to hold this position following Alex Byne.

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She stated that she felt privileged to be able to represent IFLA around the world and invited participants to work together towards implementing the group’s global vision for libraries following the launching of its new Strategy for 2019-2024. Focusing on the city of Melbourne and its Greek diaspora, Ms Mackenzie pointed out the Greek diaspora’s contribution to Australia’s well-established multicultural tradition and referred to the strong links that exist between Greece and Australia.

She expressed her gratitude to IFLA’s outgoing President Gloria Perez Salmerón, IFLA’s Secretary General Gerald Leitner, Governing Board members, past presidents of IFLA, the President of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Robert Knight, ALIA Board members, past presidents and members, the President of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand (LIANZA) Rachel Esson and LIANZA members. She also recognised the contribution of National Librarians Marie Louise Ayres and Bill Macnaugh, and sincerely thanked the sponsors of the event, Taylor and Francis Group (T&F) and Alexandra for supporting with loyalty such events for so many years.

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Dr Filippos Tsimpoglou Co – chair of the Greek National Committee and Director General of the National Library of Greece and Ms. Alexandra Papazoglou Co – chair of the Greek National Committee and President of the Association of Greek Librarians and Information Scientists were also invited to attend the event. Commenting on its successful completion, both congratulated the Australian Embassy and it staff for its impeccable delivery.