Volume 85 Issue 28 | p. 43 | ACS Comments
Issue Date: July 9, 2007

Borders Are Increasingly Incidental To ACS Members

By Nina I. McClelland, Chair, ACS Committee on International Activities
Department: ACS News
Credit: ACS
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Credit: ACS

THE AUGUST 1937 CHARTER of the American Chemical Society is a truly remarkable document. Did its authors foresee that chemistry would increasingly operate beyond national frontiers? Did they imagine that ACS members would promote all branches of chemistry through research and education in collaborative and borderless environments?

Although they might not have envisioned the ease of international air travel and the communications wonders of the Internet, I like to think that it was their deliberate intent to create space for international scientist-to-scientist interactions in the support and practice of our chemical sciences. I also believe that the next five years hold historic opportunity for ACS members to engage internationally and contribute to global scientific communities in telecommunicated, virtual, and place-based settings.

Made up of ACS members with international interests and networks, the ACS Joint Board-Council Committee on International Activities (IAC) is tasked with informing and guiding this journey for ACS. The committee works with the ACS Board of Directors and its International Strategy Group to set short- and long-term international directions for the society.

Here are just some of the activities IAC is helping to move forward: Last month, I attended meetings at the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters and at the U.S. Embassy in Paris to begin planning for an International Year of Chemistry in 2011. At these meetings, I was reminded of the value of partnering with our sister societies and colleagues worldwide. Meetings were attended by John W. Jost, executive director of the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (IUPAC); Tony Ashmore and Stanley Langer of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Natalia Tarasova of the Mendeleev Russian Chemical Society. Together, we began the process of seeking UNESCO-perhaps even United Nations-support for IUPAC's International Year of Chemistry proposal. Just imagine the national and international outreach and partnership opportunities for ACS members. I will keep you informed on our progress.

In Asia, ACS has collaborated with sister societies in China and India to provide workshops and symposia on chemical biology, green chemistry, and chemical innovation. For 2008, we are moving forward with the Chinese Chemical Society for joint gatherings on nanomaterials and bioenergy.

In Europe, we continue a tradition of excellence with the Transatlantic Frontiers of Chemistry, which has grown to include sister societies in the U.K. and in Germany. The ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry is collaborating with IAC and the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry to offer workshops this fall on "Advances in Synthetic & Medicinal Chemistry" in St. Petersburg, Russia, and "Frontiers of Medicinal Chemistry" in Siena, Italy. And we are working with the support of the National Science Foundation to develop international research experiences for undergraduate chemistry students.

In the Americas, ACS is very fortunate. Since 2004, IAC has supported ACS involvement in the Organization of American States as a science and technology civil society organization. This has helped catalyze a Latin American women chemists network; U.S./Brazil biofuels chemistry research road map; and with the ACS Education Division and our sister societies in the region, teacher-training workshops in activity-based chemical education in Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Chile, and Argentina.

The ACS Puerto Rico Section has for many years cultivated student involvement and leadership. We have all been touched by the enthusiasm of Puerto Rican students participating in ACS national meetings. At a new world-class convention center in San Juan, the ACS Puerto Rico Section is hosting the 2009 Southeastern Regional Meeting. In 2008, the Colegio de QuÍmicos de Puerto Rico (CQPR) will host the biennial FederacÍon Latinoamericana de Asociaciones QuÍmicas (FLAQ) meeting. ACS has a long history of working with FLAQ to help organize symposia at these meetings as well as at three Pan-American Chemical Congresses hosted by CQPR in Puerto Rico.

As an IUPAC national adhering organization, CQPR has also tendered a bid to host the 2011 IUPAC World Congress & General Assembly in Puerto Rico. If awarded, this will be the first IUPAC World Congress in Latin America. ACS has committed to working with its technical divisions to bring cutting-edge science to the gathering and to contribute expertise to the organization of technical meeting content.

I would venture that not a day goes by when an ACS member does not receive e-mails from colleagues or browse websites from around the world in the cause of advancing and sustaining the chemical enterprise in its many forms. Borders are increasingly incidental to these processes and products.

We appreciate the truly outstanding skills, interests—and commitment—of ACS members, my colleagues on IAC, our staff liaison, and the strong support and direction of our board and our senior staff. Be assured that ACS and IAC will continue their leadership roles "to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of the Earth and its people."

 

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.

 
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