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New Year’s Message to the GLOBE Community from GIO Director Dr. Tony Murphy

Dr. Tony Murphy and son, Seamus

Hello Everyone and Happy New Year!

I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 has been a year like no other in our lives. In the effort to protect ourselves and our families, we have spent a very large part of the year on the inside looking out. And, while we crave the days ahead when friends can gather together, work together and make plans together, we should remember what we accomplished and what we learned during this period of isolation and reflection.

2020 is a year that tested us. Could we continue to maintain our objectives, support our students and teachers, and maintain our connections within the GIO and around the world? Our first major program-wide substitution challenge was GLOBE’s Annual Meeting. Cancelling our plans for a 25th Anniversary celebration in Washington D.C., and hosting an online event, required great effort on the part of all involved. Regions followed suit with their own virtual regional meetings, which were also remarkably successful and, by virtue of being held online (like the annual meeting), even more inclusive than in the past. In partnership with our four sponsors, we provided online learning resources on a specially built COVID webpage and, in the case of NASA, a video showing how to do GLOBE activities at home with simple household items. The Regional Coordination Offices (RCOs) also added resources on COVID pages specially tailored to their countries. We kept students engaged through the International Virtual Science Symposium (as we will in 2021, albeit with some concessions). We facilitated the important work of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, and recruited a cohort of new Working Group members associated with this initiative. We also supported the Working Groups, as some brought tasks to a closure (trainer certification, science protocol deactivation). We maintained and, with your assistance, continued data submissions for the Zika Education and Prevention Project. We produced our Annual Review, and kept you informed with more than 250 news items. Furthermore, the GLOBE Observer team continued its work on campaigns, satellite matches, and app suggestions, while the SSAI team worked tirelessly to launch the latest upgrade, Liferay 7.2, to the system. We welcomed new members to the GLOBE family and, for the first time ever, there was a virtual signing ceremony bringing the Republic of Slovenia into the fold and making it the 124th member country. All this was accomplished despite the backdrop of the global pandemic, and with sensitivity to the hardships endured by our community everywhere.

So amidst all this activity, what have I learned in 2020? I have learned that kindness and patience matter; solidarity and friendship and community matter; staying alert and being open to the many realizations and ideas that have come to me during this time matter. If I can act on all of the hope for the future that I have been imagining; if all of us can act on our sincere yearnings for a better, kinder, more united world through the work we do, then we may indeed become a better world.

The toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on human life is not over. We know that some of you have lost loved ones and our thoughts and hearts are with you. The impacts on parents and students are not over; nor is the work of teachers, scientists, and administrators to whom the public looks for information. We have learned that indeed we are all in this together, that indeed we are stronger together, and that we are fortunate to have this experience of being part of the GLOBE community -- a great global family -- in which we genuinely care about one another and recognize our common humanity.

Reflecting back on 2020, I would to express my gratitude for the good work done by all of you. 

  • I am grateful for the dedicated work of the RCOs, our Country Coordinators and U.S. Partners, our collaborating organizations, and our Working Groups who have kept the program intact and even excelling, this year;
  • I would like to express my deep appreciation to the DEI Task Force, the GLOBE International STEM Professionals Network (GISN), the tech team at SSAI, our colleagues at the GLOBE Observer, and our Sponsors, who have -- all working together -- made 25 years of this extraordinary program and community possible; and
  • I am very thankful that I have such a wonderful team in place at the GLOBE Implementation Office (GIO) who have been able to keep our program going strong while responding to the community’s shifting needs. Together, we make GLOBE a force for Earth science education and meaningful research that impacts communities; we have overcome every challenge this year in order to maintain our commitment and connection to the program’s community.

Turning to 2021, we know that COVID will likely impact us for much of the year. With the vaccine, we also know that COVID can be managed so that we can return to some semblance of normality. Hopefully at that time, we will begin to reconvene as the GLOBE family in our face-to-face meetings. Until the safety threshold for the virus has been crossed with the vaccine, our regional and annual meetings will continue to be virtual.    

And so, at this juncture of the two years, as we reflect back and look forward to the year ahead, I want to wish you all, on behalf of The GLOBE Program, its sponsors, those who work with GLOBE across its 124 countries, and all of us who work to move it forward, a very happy and healthy COVID-free New Year.

Please stay safe and be well in 2021.





Tony Murphy, PhD
Director of the GLOBE Implementation Office
01 January 2021

News origin: GLOBE Implementation Office