If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Comment: Making ACS stronger and more inclusive with international perspectives

by Sergio Nanita, chair, ACS Committee on International Activities
October 6, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 33


Sergio Nanita.
Credit: Christine Schmidt
Sergio Nanita

ACS Fall 2023 in San Francisco offered many exciting outcomes for the Committee on International Activities (IAC) and the American Chemical Society’s international members. I was thrilled to see the progress ACS made at the meeting to advance its core value of diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect (DEIR).

Most pleasing was the petition presented by the Committee on Nominations and Elections to add international representation on the ACS Board of Directors, which passed at the ACS Council meeting. Although this is an encouraging step forward, the final hurdle is for ACS members to ratify the petition. If you haven’t done so already, please vote. This vote is part of the ACS fall election process and runs through Oct. 20, noon (CDT). If the petition is ratified, the international representative will provide the board with much-needed global acumen. Implementation will give ACS members outside the US the opportunity to participate in electing a director to the board for the first time.

The IAC petition to charter an international chemical sciences chapter (ICSC) in Singapore also passed at the council meeting during ACS Fall 2023. This petition now awaits final approval from the board. ACS members in Singapore are eager to launch their chapter and officially become the 27th ACS ICSC.

The ACS brand has significance and prestige around the world. It fires up our members and validates the volunteer efforts of the international student chapters and ICSCs.

Over the past year, IAC has made other significant progress to advance its mission of “enabling diverse communities of chemical practitioners worldwide to achieve their goals.” Efforts include conducting three ACS International Leadership Summits in partnership with the ACS Global Engagement Office. These meetings were in Rio de Janeiro in November 2022; Marrakech, Morocco, in December 2022; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in March 2023. The summits provided leadership training for 110 ACS international volunteer leaders from executive committees of 28 international student chapters and 14 ICSCs. Attendees offered innovative ideas, and international student chapters and ICSCs established new collaborations.

In March 2023, ACS approved a suggestion submitted by IAC and the Global Engagement Office to the Innovative Development and Expansion to Advance ACS (IDEA) portal. The project, titled Interim Funding Mechanism for International Chemical Sciences Chapters, provides temporary annual funding for ACS ICSCs for three consecutive years (2023, 2024, 2025) using a model similar to that of ACS local sections. IAC will monitor the benefits and outcomes over this period to enable ACS to make data-driven decisions on permanent annual funding for ICSCs.

IAC also ran a campaign this year to encourage international members to serve on ACS committees. An ACS Committee on Committees report confirmed the campaign’s success: significantly more international members submitted a committee preference form than in previous years. I look forward to the value international members will bring to the society by serving on committees and contributing to the diverse ranks of volunteer leaders at ACS for years to come.

My time as IAC chair ends in December. My tenure has involved countless conversations with the global community of ACS members. I have found every interaction enriching, especially those with members whose backgrounds and trajectories are different from mine. I would like to share a few insights that stand out from these conversations and my service with IAC:.

The ACS brand has significance and prestige around the world. It fires up our members and validates the volunteer efforts of the international student chapters and ICSCs.

Interactions with role models across the diverse leadership of ACS have a positive impact. Volunteers (students and professionals) can be energized through relatively minor outreach, yielding moments of long-lasting inspiration.

Working by consensus, as done by committees, requires patience and a lot of effort. At times, this process may seem time consuming or even tedious, but it is worth it—particularly when the outcome fulfills broad needs.

Long-term strategies are important when implementing DEIR initiatives. Engaging students, new ACS members, and emerging leaders of the society in developing these strategies is imperative for sustainable change.

The global perspectives of international members, including ICSCs, are largely untapped, which is why appointment of an international member to the board, participation across committees, and representation on the council are so important. Appointments throughout ACS governance will allow our society to unleash this potential and to listen more closely to the ideas of our international members.

On the topic of listening to ideas, please let us know what IAC can do better for the society. We are heading to our strategic planning retreat on Oct. 28 and welcome your input. Please contact us with your comments at


Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.