International Year of Chemistry, 2011

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International Year of Chemistry 2011


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Welcome to the IUPAC 2011 World Congress

July 21, 2011

On every odd-numbered year, IUPAC holds its International Congress and its General Assembly. This is a very important moment in the life of the Union and a significant occasion for the welcoming city, country, and organization.

Nicole Moreau, IUPAC President

As for the General Assembly and Council, it is the opportunity for the officers and active members to explain to attending national representatives what happened during the biennium, and to collect their advice and requests. This is also the time when IUPAC elections are held for officers and members of the Bureau. The Congress is special because it is a large, international, general conference, not a specialized one, which is, I thing of the utmost importance.

This year, the Congress and General Assembly will be unique events thanks to the the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) 2011. With IUPAC and UNESCO at the helm of the event, chemical societies and other chemistry-related bodies throughout the world have organized thousands of interactive, entertaining, and educational activities and events for all ages. Although these activities are certain to stimulate an interest in appreciation for chemistry, we must look beyond 2011 and develop a common strategy in order to ensure that chemistry is acknowledged by the public, stakeholders, and politicians as one of the keys for a sustainable future.

As far as IUPAC is concerned, it is organizing three cornerstone events in celebration of IYC, the launch, the closing ceremony, and this biennial Congress, further proof of its significance. Since 2011 began, I have had several opportunities to speak about IYC to younger chemists, and each time I encouraged them to attend general rather than specialized conferences. They are at the beginning of their careers, ready either to choose a post-doc or to enter a professional position. If they don’t want to be “in a rut” in their Ph.D. discipline, they must be open to other sides of chemistry and of science. What better opportunity for such exposure than our IUPAC Congress? And this year, thanks to IYC, the Congress will present even more topics than normal. Of course, it is too late to encourage more younger chemists to decide to attend the San Juan meeting, but not to encourage them to carefully look at the program and to choose sessions that connect them with other aspects of chemistry and with some of the brilliant people who will present their work and views. And also, for all young chemists in attendance, this could be an opportunity to become an IUPAC member with access to an international network of scientists always ready to share their knowledge and ideas. As we develop a strategy for beyond 2011, it will be important to hear from younger chemists as well as the more experienced.

The IUPAC GA/Congress is a maze of interesting events and symposia.
- see the IUPAC website for the GA schedule @
- see the Congress website for the program @
- see Congress highlights at this activity page