Letter from the President
This column marks a transition as we prepare to 'close out' our celebration of the International Year of Crystallography and shift our full focus on building for the future. As I write this column plans are being finalized for Crystallography for the Next Generation: the Legacy of IYCr, a conference jointly organized by the IUCr and the Moroccan Crystallographic Association being held in Rabat, Morocco on April 22-24, 2015. This conference will serve as our closing ceremony for IYCr and help define its legacy as we move forward. What many of you may not be aware of is that we originally were aiming for the year 2013 to be the IYCr, and a Bragg Symposium held in Adelaide, Australia in December of 2012 served as an unofficial kick-off to begin celebrating IYCr. Thus between our unofficial opening and unofficial closing, we have been able to celebrate our international year for nearly two and one-half years - who knew that crystallographers were so good at how to party! Crystallography is enjoying a 'celebrity' status it has long deserved. This popularity is evidenced by the over 500 IYCr activities that have been documented on our IYCr website and the hundreds of additional events never reported. Whenever I have given talks or demos on the basics of crystallography and the benefits of crystallography to society for public exhibits or school children, the result has always been uniformly positive. More people now have heard of crystallography and have an appreciation for the myriad ways crystallography contributes to so many more fields than ever before.
The message I want to impart here is to encourage everyone to build on the momentum we have enjoyed during IYCr, and to keep doing what you have been doing. There is no reason we should stop promoting crystallography just because our International Year has run its course. The benefits from us sharing our excitement and enthusiasm for our science are many. The image that comes foremost to my mind is the smiles of the kids as they discover and learn about crystallography.
The legacy of IYCr is manifold - from public outreach activities for school children to training for young crystallographers that participated in the sixteen Open Labs that have been held in developing parts of the world. One consequence of our success is that our Union Calendar Committee is getting a record number of requests to support young scientists to attend conferences, another is the expansion of our number of Regional Associates with the formation of the Latin American Crystallographic Association. I will report on the Legacy Conference and on our future plans in the next Newsletter, but wanted to draw your attention to the fact that it takes time, talent and resources to support these wonderful activities. The initial funding for IYCr was done as a one-time expense as the IUCr dedicated a portion of its reserves to support IYCr. Successful fund raising and volunteers have multiplied many-fold the impact that those funds have had. However, the IUCr cannot afford to sustain these activities without developing new sources of revenue. Your Executive Committee (EC) is fortunate to have the counsel of its Finance Committee (FC) who worry about the budget. In addition to monitoring the status of our various journals and operations, the FC makes recommendations to the EC on where to spend as well as how to generate and grow IUCr funds. An example of this was the creation of the IYCr Legacy Fund. I am happy to report that over $40,000 has been donated so far, and I again encourage those who can, to include giving to this fund to support the many worthy initiatives launched during IYCr. Two new initiatives discussed at the recent FC meeting that you will be hearing more about in the future and will be considered by your EC are proposals for an IUCr Associates program and to create IUCr Data to handle more routine structural papers.
Finally, I would like to remind everyone of the upcoming Regional Associate meetings, ACA (Philadelphia, USA; July 25-29), ECA (Rovinj, Croatia; August 23-28), LACA (São Paulo, Brazil; September 9-11), and AsCA (Kolkata, India; December 5-8). Of course, plans are well underway for IUCr 2017 in Hyderabad. The EC will meet in August to appoint the International Programme Committee.
I will report on the meeting in Rabat, Morocco in the next issue. I urge you again to help keep the momentum of IYCr going. Please do not hesitate to contact me or any member of the EC with your concerns, comments or suggestions for how the IUCr can work more effectively to serve you.Marvin L. Hackert