Letter from WAPOR President

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Marita Carballo, WAPOR President

Dear WAPOR Members,

This is my first letter to you and I want to thank you for the opportunity and the mandate you have given me. It is a great honor and a big responsibility to be elected as WAPOR President for the next two years. I will work very hard, together with the Council, to help grow the organization.

Since my first Conference in Stockholm in 1989, WAPOR has given me the opportunity to interact with outstanding personalities in our field, and I would like to give tribute to all of them for being an inspiration and for their commitment to the Association. The list would be too long, so I will mention a few that have left us:  Hans Zetterberg, Hélène Riffault, Jean Stoetzel, Jan Stapel, Seymour Martin Lipset, Helen Crossley, Eric Da Costa, Juan Linz and Wolfgang Donsbach. Thank you!

I strongly believe in our constitutional principle that “public opinion is a critical force in shaping and transforming society” and that at WAPOR we face a huge mission to make the voice of the people heard. The world today faces many challenges and uncertainties, public opinion is polarized and volatile and governments and elites have more difficulty to understand and represent society. Our surveys are fundamental in this context, to inform, understand and explain. Our responsibility is to do it with rigor and transparency.

We must be the leaders of high professional standards and ethical practices in the field; we should promote the right to conduct polls and to publish scientific research in every country in the world, and we must improve international cooperation and exchange between academics, pollsters, journalists and political actors.

During my term as President, I will continue the strategic plan we designed together with Claire Durand for the period 2017/2021, and make sure we complete all we have projected. A lot has been done and I want to thank Claire and the Council for that. Yet, there is still a lot to do!  Here are the goals I would like to achieve:

1) Growing expansion of WAPOR in all parts of the world, increasing membership so that we become a larger and stronger organization. Regional Chapters and active National Representatives have an important role in this, and we plan to work together very closely to reach our goals.

2)  Continue building and improving existing relations and liaison with other organizations, and reaching out to new ones. We must strengthen cooperation and exchange with other research associations, international NGOs and foundations, universities and governmental organizations, as well as contribute to international survey projects.

3) Making WAPOR recognized as the organization that sets standards for Public Opinion research in the world. It should be the place to which public opinion pollsters, students, academics and journalists refer to know which standards to look for in surveys and where to learn about survey research. Hence, our plan is to offer more courses and an education platform.

4) Strengthening Communications with our members and with the World. This is an aspect that we want to improve and for this reason we will soon be hiring a Social Media Coordinator.  We envision a constantly updated and more active web, as well as a growing social media presence of WAPOR, to improve communication with our members and the outside community.

5) Continuing and increasing the number of conferences and seminars in all parts of the world.

The complete Council will be meeting on March 8th and 9th for a two-day intensive work reunion in London, to plan our activities and priorities. I am very grateful to all of them for their commitment and their work.

I have a challenging time coming, but working with this very strong Council, good staff and collaborating members, I am sure we can meet our goals and move WAPOR to higher heights.

I look forward to seeing you at Toronto next May at our 72nd Conference.

Best wishes,