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ACS International Activities

by H. N. Cheng, Chair, International Activities Committee
July 7, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 27

Credit: Courtesy of H. N. Cheng
H. N. Cheng, Chair, International Activities Committee
Credit: Courtesy of H. N. Cheng

In an effort to keep the community of American Chemical Society members—wherever they may practice their chemistry—informed about the progress of the International Activities Committee (, I am dedicating this Comment to some updates on IAC activities. Let me begin by recognizing the outstanding volunteer efforts of my fellow committee members and associates at IAC, supported by the very capable ACS staff in the Office of International Activities (OIA).

IAC aims to be a resource for initiating, catalyzing, promoting, and implementing ACS international activities and initiatives pertaining to chemistry education, research and development, public appreciation of chemistry, and enhancement of its image. We are concentrating on six priorities for 2014 and beyond: building the International Younger Chemists Network, providing support for student exchanges and programs, helping with scientific mobility issues, interacting and collaborating with sister chemical societies, supporting developing countries, and increasing worldwide awareness of chemistry.

At the ACS national meeting in Dallas this spring, the ACS Council approved the establishment of ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapters in South Korea and Malaysia. The ACS Board of Directors added its approval on April 15. I am pleased to report that both chapters are now operational and join a community of six established ACS international chapters ( In addition, IAC has formed a Task Force on International Chapter Development Strategy, which met via conference call in April. The task force hopes to produce a report before the fall national meeting in San Francisco.

During the San Francisco meeting, IAC will present three ChemLuminary Awards for accomplishments in international activities by local sections, technical divisions, and international chapters.

As in past years, we have awarded Global Innovation Grants for proposed activities with significant international components that advance IAC strategic interests and priorities. Any ACS group, including local sections, divisions, international chapters, and others, can apply for the grants. This year we received a record 19 applications, and we gave out nine awards, ranging in value from $1,000 to $4,000.

IAC appreciates its ongoing collaborations with many other ACS committees, including Membership Affairs, Divisional Activities, Public Relations & Communications (CPRC), Younger Chemists, and Senior Chemists (SCC). This year, IAC, the Society Committee on Education (SOCED), and the Committee on Professional Training formed a working group that will focus on opportunities related to international education and chemical employment, both for U.S. students working abroad and for international students in the U.S.

Working with OIA, IAC has put together a general-purpose presentation and a poster ( to help describe ACS international activities to society members. The first two opportunities for presentation of the material will come during this year’s northwest and central regional meetings.

Since 1995, IAC has worked with the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry & Applied Spectroscopy and its sponsoring organizers to facilitate participation at the conference by early- and midcareer analytical chemists from developing and transitional countries. Funding from Pittcon and its sponsoring organizations subsidizes the travel and registration costs of these attendees. Approximately 100 early- and midcareer chemistry practitioners from more than 70 countries have benefited from this program. This March, IAC chose eight delegates from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam to attend Pittcon in Chicago.

IAC is also working with CPRC in an effort to internationalize the ACS Chemistry Ambassadors program ( The plan is to initiate the overseas version of the program among our eight ACS international chapters and then propagate it to other places later.

In addition, IAC looks forward to working with SOCED to ensure the success of its pilot program to establish ACS International Student Chapters. The education committee approved the program during the ACS national meeting in Dallas.

We hope you will take time to join us at IAC-related symposia in San Francisco. They include the following:

◾ ACS International Opportunities for Study & Career
◾ Asia-America Chemical Symposium: Global Stewardship & Chemistry Innovations for Sustainable Agricultural & Food Products
◾ Innovation from International Collaborations
◾ Next-Generation Ambassadors of Chemistry
◾ Women Leaders in the Global Chemistry Enterprise
◾ Global Stewardship by Increasing Climate Science Literacy
◾ An International Student Summit on Global Climate Change
◾ Redefining the Mole & Kilogram: Impact on Chemistry

These events have been organized by IAC as well as the Brazilian Chemical Society; the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies; ACS’s Nomenclature, Terminology & Symbols Committee, SCC, and the Women Chemists Committee; and ACS divisions including Business Development & Management, Chemical Education, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry, Professional Relations, and Small Chemical Businesses.

In addition, we plan to host an international reception on Sunday, Aug. 10, 5:30–7:30 PM at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. The International Lounge Open House will take place on Monday, Aug. 11, from 2–3 PM at the Moscone Center. Please join us if you have time. We need your participation, input, and energy as we work together to “cooperate with scientists internationally and … be concerned with the worldwide application of chemistry to the needs of humanity” (Article II, Sec. 3, ACS constitution).

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


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