International Year of Chemistry, 2011

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Moving Ahead

by David StC. Black

April 1, 2009

In my previous column (July-August 2008 CI), I wrote about the proposal to stage the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) in 2011 and outlined the key aims. I also reported the progress at that time in seeking official United Nations (UN) approval and designation of the International Year. Many readers are now aware that in December 2008 the UN did officially designate 2011 as the IYC. IUPAC issued a press release at the end of December 2008 to this effect.

Because IYC 2011 is now official, we can move ahead with greater purpose and certainty. The reason for the much-earlier-than-expected approval is that the initial recommendation of the UNESCO Executive Board was introduced (by the vigilant Ethiopian delegation) under the banner of the UN long-term program on Sustainable Development. The designation immediately gave IUPAC a clear thematic focus that not only is a key element in the prospectus but is also completely in harmony with the capacity of chemistry to deliver.

This year has seen increasing engagement with leaders of national chemical societies to inform them on progress and to seek their ideas related to IYC 2011. These meetings will continue, and ideas are being generated. But, before I proceed any further, I should say that the main purpose of this column is to seek input from individuals about innovative events that can make IYC 2011 a spectacularly successful achievement.

Read more at Chemistry International, May-June 2009.