The 54th annual conference of the North American Vexillological Association – Association nord-américaine de vexillologie (NAVA), abbreviated NAVA 54, was held under special pandemic travel restrictions, using a “virtual meeting room” in WebEx. was hosted by the U.S. Library of Congress.
The conference was opened by NAVA President Peter Ansoff, and as a special guest, the participants were addressed by the President of the International Federation of Vexillological Associations (FIAV) Željko Heimer, who addressed contemporary challenges in vexillology, both external, such as pandemics and internal coverage. vexillological field of activity, which has been particularly questioned in the United States in recent years.
The conference featured a dozen scientific presentations on topics covering the development of the Iraqi flag (John Andrews), vexillological philately (Edwin Jackson), police association flags (Scott Mainwaring), church flags (Benjamin Nickodemus), U.S. Revenuw and Customs flags. and (David B. Martucci), an exploration of the symbolism of the fouled anchor from biblical times (Bard Cosman), a controversial display of flags in San Francisco in the 1980s. Rachel Phelan, a restorer specializing in flags, came from her studio in Ireland and presented the items that are in her workshop these days.
The long tradition of NAVA meetings are the so-called Vexi-Bits – in which participants briefly (up to 5 min) Present individual points of interest from their vexillology research – either a single flag or event, or simply an interesting story they experienced or heard about flags. Their “vexi-bits” were presented by seven to eight participants in breaks between other lectures, moderated by Jack Lowe.
Of particular interest was the participation of Roman Mars, an American radio host who, with his video in a series of TED lectures on the poor design of flags of some American cities, launched an avalanche of activities to adopt or change inadequate municipal flags across the United States. Interview with Mr. Mars was led by Ted Kaye.
The working part of the meeting was chaired by President Ansoff who presented his work report. WebEx platform hostess Elizabeth Brown from the Library of Congress presented her work on research opportunities through the Library’s web portal.
At the end of the day, one of the organizers of the next conference, Amber Atteberry, gave a short presentation of the meeting place of NAVA 55 in St. Augustine of Florida.
These conferences usually end with a joint gala dinner, at the beginning of which a toast is held in memory of the deceased members of the society. Although a joint meal could not be held, a commemoration ceremony was held together.
At the very end, prizes were awarded. The Driver Award, named after Captain William Driver, who coined the flag of the American flag “Old Glory” for the best presentation at the conference, was given to Scott Mainwaring for his lecture The American Thin Blue Line Flag: A Controversial Success Story. The Vexillionaire Award, which is occasionally awarded by the Executive Board for significant work and promotion of vexillology, was given to Roman Mars, for his work on spreading awareness of flags in the United States.
After the formal closing of the conference, an ad hoc meeting was organized using the Zoom platform for joint photography, which then took place in informal chatting in free form and in some way compensated for an important social element of such live meetings.
(Photos: NAVA https://nava.org)