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Chemistry International
Vol. 24, No. 2
March 2002

 

Secretary General's Column


Broadening Active Participation in IUPAC Activities

Edwin D. Becker
IUPAC Secretary General

After two years in transition from our traditional commission-based organization to the project-driven system, IUPAC is now operating fully in this new mode. Our eight divisions have been restructured, with the inclusion of National Representatives in the Division Committees. Several Standing Committees have also been reorganized, most notably the Committee on Chemistry Education.

The President's message in the January issue of Chemistry International laid out a list of activities for the current biennium. Among our priorities are broadening active participation in IUPAC activities. Several of the following initiatives are already underway, while others will be undertaken soon.

New Member Countries
As reported previously in CI, a Membership Development Committee was formed in Brisbane. Committee members have visited organizations of chemists in several prospective member countries to describe the advantages of becoming a National Adhering Organization (NAO) and to try to help resolve the financial difficulties that membership in IUPAC entails. Mexico and Uruguay have recently become Associate NAOs. There are several promising prospects for countries upgrading to full NAO status.

Affiliate Member Program
The AMP was launched in 1986 to promote two-way communication between IUPAC and individual chemists throughout the world. After an initial surge in interest resulted in the enrollment of more than 7800 Affiliate Members in 1987, the program has declined to its present size of about 4800 in 65 countries. We will work with our NAOs and national chemical societies in many countries to reverse this trend and to revitalize the AMP. As described in the January 2002 issue of CI, we now offer a free sponsored affiliate membership to a chemist in a developing country for each new paid member. For many in the developing world, the AMP provides a communications "lifeline." Here is a way to help extend that lifeline.

If IUPAC is to be successful in representing worldwide chemistry, it needs to foster synergistic relationships with the global community of chemists.

Many readers of CI are already Affiliate Members. We want to hear from you about your ideas for new IUPAC activities, including formal projects, and your reaction to current activities. An email message to <secretariat@iupac.org> will suffice, but we also welcome letters to CI to be published in the IUPAC Forum.

IUPAC Fellows
While we are encouraging broader participation in IUPAC activities, we do not want to lose track of those chemists who have already contributed to the Union's activities and may well do so again. Our "alumni," designated as IUPAC Fellows in appreciation of their contributions, receive CI and other benefits. As a number of people have recently completed formal service in IUPAC bodies, the number of Fellows is expected to double from last year's size of about 450.

National Representatives
To broaden the geographic representation on each of our eight Division Committees, the IUPAC Council approved an amendment to the Bylaws that allows up to six NRs on each Committee and makes them full participants in the work of the Committee. In addition, I have invited each NAO to designate a specific contact to each Division Committee to facilitate communication and bring additional chemists into the mainstream of IUPAC activities. Also, the new Committee on Chemistry Education has a very large number of NRs—potentially involving every NAO in the IUPAC efforts in education and the public appreciation of chemistry.

Associated Organizations
IUPAC consists of about 40 international organizations, in various specialized fields or with specific geographic coverage, that have been formally recognized as IUPAC Associated Organizations (AOs). We have close ties with some AOs, especially those associations and federations that represent chemists or chemical societies in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. However, we should improve our interactions with many of the AOs in chemical specialties. IUPAC Conferences Each year IUPAC sponsors a large number of conferences, as readers of CI know from the conference calendar that was distributed with the January issue. We are planning stronger efforts to publicize IUPAC activities at these conferences and to encourage active involvement of conference attendees in proposing and participating in formal IUPAC projects.

IUPAC Projects
A major objective in initiating the project system was to create within IUPAC a more dynamic environment, in which any chemist in the world can contribute. If IUPAC is to be successful in representing worldwide chemistry, we need to foster the synergistic relationship between the global community of chemists and the one organization that represents the chemical sciences worldwide. Let us hear from you!

 

Edwin D. Becker has been IUPAC Secretary General since 1996 and has been a member of various IUPAC bodies for almost 30 years. He is presently a scientist emeritus at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

 

 

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