Meeting report

First North African Crystallographic Conference

Casablanca, Morocco, November 2010.

[Opening ceremony] Opening ceremony of First North African Crystallographic Conference. Left to right: Abdelmalek Thalal, President, Moroccan Association of Crystallography; Santiago García-Granda, President, ECA; Sine Larsen, President, IUCr; Abdelaziz El Jazouli, Chair, NACC1 Organizing Committee.
[NACC1 attendees] Participants at NACC1.

On November 23–26, 2010, over 120 scientists gathered in Casablanca, Morocco, for the First North African Crystallographic Conference (NACC1). The Conference attracted a world-wide audience, with researchers coming from Algeria, Australia, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Tunisia, UK, and USA.

The Conference was organized by Abdelaziz El Jazouli, Chair, along with Rahma Adhiri, Said Benmokhtar, Saida Krimi, Mouna Lamdaouar, Mohamed Mousseted, and Abdelmalek Thalal, Driss Zakaria, Abdella Boukhris, Lahcen El Anmari, and Mohamed El Azhari, all members of the Executive Committee of the Moroccan Association of Crystallography. The aim of this First NACC was to contribute to the development of crystallography in North Africa.

The conference was attended by Sine Larsen, President of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr); Judith Kelly, President of the American Crystallographic Association (ACA); Mitchell Guss, Past President of the Asian Crystallographic Association (AsCA); and Santiago García-Granda, President of the European Crystallographic Association (ECA). These representatives of international crystallographic associations expressed their great satisfaction with the scope and scientific aspects of the meeting, as well as its organization, and the commitment of their associations to the development of crystallography in Africa.

The topics presented were as diverse as the countries of the attendees. There was a major focus on the crystal structures of materials, nanomaterials and minerals, as well as sessions on fundamentals of crystallography, instrumentation and synchrotron resources, biological macromolecular crystallography, and crystallographic education. Accompanying over forty oral presentations were more than one hundred posters, the majority presented by student attendees. This international assembly provided a wonderful opportunity for broad-ranging discussions among researchers interested in the full gamut of diffraction science. People were able to share their results and explore possibilities for new collaborations. Topping off the scientific program was a tour of the fascinating city of Casablanca and a closing dinner at the Hotel Suisse, just off the Cornishe. Five poster prizes were awarded to students as the finale of the evening. The winners were: Youssef Aboufadil (Marrakech, Morocco), Meriem Benslimane (Canstantine, Algeria), Saida Kaoua ( Casablanca, Morocco), Anissa Mansour (Monastir, Tunisia), and Laura Menéndez Taboaba (Oviedo, Spain).

The Conference enjoyed broad financial sponsorship from the International Union of Crystallography, the European Crystallographic Association, le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique, Université Hassan II Mohammedia, Faculté des Science Ben M’Sik-Casablanca, Cambridge Crystallographic Data Center, Springer, Agilent Technologies, Bruker, Radaco, Rigaku, PANalytical, XENOCX, and Groupement d’Assurance du Superior_GASUP–MAMDA–MCMA.

Future NACC meetings are planned for 2011 in Algeria and for 2012 in Tunisia.

In parallel with NACC1, the second edition of a series of meetings titled 'Materials for Energy, Health and Environment: Research and Education - MEHERE' was held. MEHERE-2 was co-organized by Abdelaziz El Jazouli, from the University Hassan II Mohammedia-Casablanca; Abdou Lachgar, from Wake Forest University, USA; Mohamed Eddaoudi, from the University of South Florida and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia; and Santiago García-Granda from the University of Oviedo, Spain. The meeting was sponsored by the CNRST and by the European Office of Aerospace Research and Development (EOARD). The main motivation for the organization of the MEHERE series of meetings is to bring together academic and industrial researchers and experts from Morocco, the European Union, and the United States of America to discuss recent advances in research and education related to materials with potential applications in the fields of energy, environment, and health. At the end of the MEHERE-2 meeting, the participants agreed to create a Research and Education Network on Materials.

Judith Kelly