[IRPCoalition] Fwd: Michael Gurstein

Marianne Franklin m.i.franklin at gold.ac.uk
Tue Oct 17 12:57:14 EEST 2017

Dear IRP Coalition.

I am fowarding to you all the sad news that Mike Gurstein has passed
away: an obituary is below.

Mike served on the Steering Committee of the IRPC in the early years and
contributed to the drafting processes that led to the IRPC Charter, and
the Ten Principles. He was also an active member of the IRPC list during
this time and on other lists. Mike had firm views, he was willing to
share those views and argue his corner with verve, and passion.

We wish his family strength at this time.

best wishes

Marianne F

Michael Gurstein  October 2, 1944 - October 8,2017

 Michael Gurstein was born on October 2, 1944 in
 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to Emanuel (Manny) and Sylvia
 Gurstein.  While still an infant, the family moved to
 Melfort, Saskatchewan where Manny grew up and his family
 still lived.  In Mike’s youth, Manny and Sylvia ran a
 successful retail store.  There, the family grew with a
 younger sister, Penny. Mike excelled at
 school.  He spent his summers working at a golf club in
 Waskesiu and graduated from Melfort Composite Collegiate
 Institute high school, and then completed an undergraduate
 degree in philosophy at the University of Saskatchewan in
 Saskatoon.  Mike was driven by pragmatism and curiosity
 about the wider world that motivated his doctoral studies in
 Sociology at the University of Cambridge in the U.K.  While
 a student, he began his life-long exploration of the world,
 with trips through North Africa and a long journey from
 Southeast Asia through Afghanistan and Iran and back to the
 U.K.  Upon Mike’s return to Canada, he worked
 in politics and policy, as a senior civil servant for the
 Province of British Columbia under Barrett’s NDP
 government (1972-4) and for the Province of Saskatchewan
 under Blakeney’s NDP Government (1974-5).  While teaching
 at York University, he ran unsuccessfully for the NDP in the
 riding of Parkdale. 

Mike moved to Ottawa in
 the late 1970s where he met his wife, Fernande Faulkner. 
 Together they had two children, Rachel (1981) and Marc
 (1983).  He and Fernande established and ran a management
 consulting firm, Socioscope, which studied and guided the
 social aspects of the introduction of information
 communication technology.  In Ottawa, Mike also built and
 managed a real estate portfolio.  In 1992 the family moved
 to New York, where Mike and Fernande worked for the United
 Nations.  In 1995, Mike became Associate Chair
 in the Management of Technological Change at the University
 College of Cape Breton.  There, he founded the Centre for
 Community and Enterprise Networking (C/CEN) as a community
 based research laboratory exploring applications of ICT to
 support social change in one of Canada's most
 economically disadvantaged regions.  Grown out
 of his early experience in rural small town Saskatchewan and
 his later experiences in impoverished but culturally and
 communally rich Cape Breton, Mike's work provided the
 conceptual framing for “community informatics”. He
 published the first major work in the field, and introduced
 the term "community informatics" into wider usage
 as referring to the research and praxis discipline
 underpinning the social appropriation of ICT. Within the
 area of community informatics a major contribution has been
 Mike's introduction of the notion of "effective
 use" as a critical analytical framework for assessing
 technology implementation superseding approaches based on
 the more commonly accepted frameworks such as that of the
 "digital divide".In 1999, the family
 moved to Vancouver to be closer to Mike’s parents and

 In 2000, Mike and Fernande returned to New York,
 to work at the New Jersey Institute of  Technology and the
 UN, respectively.  Mike returned to Vancouver in 2006 and
 established the Center for Community Informatics Research
 Development and Training (CCIRDT).  With this platform, he
 traveled the world to consult with governments and civil
 society organisations, present at conferences, and conduct
 research.  Mike was the founding editor of the
 Journal of Community Informatics and was Foundation Chair of
 the Community Informatics Research Network.  He was at the
 time of his death the Executive Director of CCIRDT, and
 formerly an Adjunct Professor in the School of Library and
 Information Studies Vancouver Canada, and as well as
 Research Professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology
 in Newark, New Jersey, and Research Professor at the
 University of Quebec (Outaouais). He was also a member of
 the High Level Panel of Advisers of the UN's Global
 Alliance for ICT and Development. He has also served on the
 Board of the Global Telecentre Alliance, Telecommunities
 Canada, the Pacific Community Networking Association and the
 Vancouver Community Net.In recent years he was
 active as a commentator, speaker and essayist/blogger
 articulating a community informatics (grassroots ICT user)
 perspective in the areas of open government data and
 internet governance. 

Through all of his work, Mike was
 motivated by his commitment to democratising access to the
 tools of information technology and the advancement of civil
 society.Mike passed away peacefully at home on
 October 8 after a two year battle with prostate cancer.  He
 is survived by his wife Fernande, his mother Sylvia, his
 sister Penny, his children Rachel and Marc, his
 step-children Bruno and Nina, his grandchildren Emmanuelle
 and Daniel, step grandchildren Patrick, Emilly, Jessica and
 Erica, and niece,

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