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Bangkok Hosts Asian Chemical Congress

International: Meeting draws some 1,800 attendees in Bangkok

by A. Maureen Rouhi
September 9, 2011

Credit: Denise Creech
Jackson (from left), FACS Immediate Past President Chunli Bai, and Tantayanon signed the ACS-FACS memorandum of agreement in Bangkok.
Credit: Denise Creech
Jackson (from left), FACS Immediate Past President Chunli Bai, and Tantayanon signed the ACS-FACS memorandum of agreement in Bangkok.

The Federation of Asian Chemical Societies (FACS) kicked off the 14th Asian Chemical Congress yesterday in Bangkok. The conference will run through Thursday at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.

Organizers expect participation to reach 1,800 speakers, exhibitors, and delegates from 43 countries who will have a choice of five workshops, eight general sessions, and 23 symposia built around the theme of “Contemporary Chemistry for Sustainability and Economic Sufficiency.” The theme reflects the key role of the chemical sciences in addressing global environmental, health, and energy challenges, said Supawan Tantayanon, chair of the organizing committee and president of FACS. She added that the congress gains special significance because it’s occurring during the International Year of Chemistry.

Attendees were disappointed that Thailand’s Princess Chulabhorn, a Ph.D. chemist and patron of the Chemical Society of Thailand, was unable to preside over the opening ceremonies as planned.

“Chemistry in Asia is a vibrant mixture of truly established powerhouses of chemistry together with countries and regions in which chemical enterprise activity is more recently emerging and developing,” noted David Black, secretary-general of the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry, in his remarks at the opening ceremony. “Some other parts of the world are struggling to appreciate the continuing value of education and research in the hard sciences,” Black continued, whereas “countries in the Asian region see scientific activity as providing the key to their material future. Consequently, an Asian chemical congress is always a great source of innovation and of innovative, exciting, and enthusiastic science.”

Also yesterday, FACS admitted the Cambodian Chemical Society to the federation and completed the signing of a memorandum of agreement with the American Chemical Society for a three-year collaboration.

The Cambodian Chemical Society is just over a year old and has about 100 members, according to Chek Sotha, the society’s president. “We lack instruments, we lack funding,” she told C&EN. By being part of FACS, she added, “we hope to get support,” both material and intellectual.

The agreement between ACS and FACS “comes from a shared interest in engaging Asian/U.S. chemical communities in collaborations, research, education, and meetings in recognition of the need for chemists to address the challenges humanity faces,” ACS President Nancy Jackson told C&EN. “We are a global community of scientists who share the responsibility of addressing the critical issues confronting us all: energy, sustainability, clean water, food, and health, and it will take global collaboration to successfully meet these challenges.”



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