Letter from the President

Letter from the President

[Henk Schenk] Henk Schenk
In this letter I will inform you about the change of venue of the IUCr General Assembly and Congress 2002 from Jerusalem to Geneva.

The organisation required for a Congress as large as ours means that it is not easy to change to another venue at the last minute. Indeed, a lead time of more than a year is essential. Therefore, over the winter the Executive Committee and the Organising Committee have been discussing the present situation in the Middle East in relation to the 2002 IUCr General Assembly and Congress, scheduled to be held in Jerusalem. We concluded that with the present coverage of events in the area many potential participants would be reluctant to participate. Also the business of the IUCr would be affected as Commissions should meet, the General Assembly should discuss the next triennium, the Executive Committee should meet, etc. We decided that we had to move the meeting to an alternative venue in the event that no significant progress was made to improve the existing situation in Israel.

When we started the discussion about the situation with Joel Bernstein, the chair of the local Organising Committee, it was clear that our Israeli colleagues were all fully committed to organising an outstanding meeting in every way. Indeed, they even were already anticipating that an unfavourable situation might arise and that it would not be possible to organise the Congress in Jerusalem. When we later started to discuss a possible new venue we were also very happy to find the full understanding and support of our Swiss colleagues.

To our deep regret nothing significant had happened to improve the situation by the end of March. Therefore we have taken the decision to change the venue. We are well aware that this is very sad for our Israeli colleagues and feel very sorry for them as they were looking forward to acting as our host in Israel in 2002. However, as a vital and non-political organisation we have to move forward and cannot afford to lose momentum by having a partial General Assembly and Congress or, indeed, none at all.

We are happy that our Israeli colleagues are still enthusiastically involved in the organisation as can be seen from the following statements summarising the results of the discussions:
  1. The new venue will be Geneva, Switzerland, in the Palexpo Congress Centre.
  2. The 2002 General Assembly and Congress remains the 'Israeli' Congress, organised in another country by the agreed Committees.
  3. The Swiss National Committee for Crystallography agrees on the venue and offers help to the Organising Committee.
I wish to thank all the individuals involved in the extensive discussions and their support for the change.

We in the Executive Committee are convinced that our Israeli colleagues will organise an excellent 2002 General Assembly and Congress in this new setting and look forward to seeing you all from 6 to 15 August 2002 in Geneva.

Henk Schenk