CHAPTER 5 Memories of a Key Meeting James Arthur “Rob Prichard. . . spoke with passion ... of the fundamental importance of mathematics to the modern world.” Lacking a diary, I looked over my CV for guidance in recalling the earliest days of the Fields Institute. I was surprised to see a number of formal duties and ties to the Institute over the years that had escaped my memory. I hope that this admission does not lead a reader to doubt the accuracy of my recollections below! In any case, I believe it was around 1990 that Bill Shadwick and others began to promote the idea of a mathematical research institute in Ontario. At that time, Canada had one such institute, the Centre de Recherches Mathématiques (CRM), at the Université de Montréal. It has been very successful and, even in 1990, had attained a widespread reputation for its many important conferences, workshops, and longer periods of specialized concentration, as well as for its visits from leading international mathematicians.