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Saturday October 14, 2017


Michael Gurstein was born on
October 2, 1944 in Edmonton,
AB, to Emanuel (Manny) and
Sylvia Gurstein, later moving to
Melfort, SK where he graduated
from Melfort Composite
Collegiate Institute. He got his
first degree from the University
of Saskatchewan. Mike's drive to
learn about the world motivated
his PhD in Sociology at the
University of Cambridge, UK.
While a student, he began his
lifelong exploration of the world,
with trips through North Africa
and from Southeast Asia
overland back to the UK.
   Mike worked as a senior civil
servant under Barrett's NDP
Government in BC and under
under Blakeney's NDP
Government in Saskatchewan.
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 and Marc. They jointly
established a consulting firm,
Socioscope, and built a real
estate portfolio. In 1992, they
moved to New York to work 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 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
experiences in rural
Saskatchewan and Cape Breton,
Mike's work provided the
conceptual framing for
'community informatics,' the
social appropriation of ICT. In
2000, Mike returned to New
York, to work at the New Jersey
Institute of Technology. In 2006
he established the Center for
Community Informatics Research
Development and Training in
Vancouver. Through this
platform, he traveled the world
to consult with governments and
civil society organizations,
present at conferences, and
conduct research.
   Mike was a commentator,
speaker and essayist/blogger,
articulating a community
informatics perspective in the
areas of open government data
and internet governance. He was
the founding editor of the
Journal of Community
Informatics and was Foundation
Chair of the Community
Informatics Research Network.
He held appointments at several
universities and institutions
around the world. He served on
the High Level Panel of Advisers
of the UN's Global Alliance for
ICT and Development, and the
boards of the Global Telecentre
Alliance, Telecommunities
Canada, the Pacific Community
Networking Association, and the
Vancouver Community Net.
Through all his work, Mike was
motivated by a commitment to
democratizing access to the
tools of information technology
and the advancement of civil
   Mike passed away at home on
October 8 after a two-year battle
with prostate cancer. The family
would like to thank Dr. Lutsky
for his exceptional care. Mike is
survived by his wife Fernande,
his mother Sylvia, his sister
Penny, his children Rachel and
Marc, their spouses David and
Vicki, his step-children Bruno
and Nina, his grandchildren
Emmanuelle and Daniel, step
grandchildren Patrick, Emilly,
Jessica and Erica, and niece,

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