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Fellow Crystallographers!

[Sven Lidin] Sven Lidin

Let me begin my first letter by thanking you all for the trust you have put in me by electing me the president of the International Union of Crystallography for this triennium. I consider it an honour and I know it is a challenge.

The IUCr meeting in Hyderabad in August showed to all of us the meaning of an international union with participation of delegates from across the globe. We leave with many fond memories and look forward to our next congress in Prague in 2020. The IUCr has taken great strides towards becoming a truly international union. We have a strong presence on all continents (well Antarctica is lagging behind, but we may have to learn to live with that). What is important is that the hard work done by all of you has started paying off. The IYCr initiative was an important catalyst and helped us along, but what we are seeing is the fruition of a long lasting effort to make our science global. The family of Regional Associates, the American Crystallographic Association, the Asian Crystallographic Association and the European Crystallographic Association were joined by the Latin American Crystallographic Association in 2013 and I believe that they will be joined by the African Crystallographic Association in the near future. The challenge lies in the funding of our endeavor. The finances of the union do not define our purpose but they define our possibilities. The more we want to achieve, the more we need to invest and we need not only the will to do it but also the means. Our main source of income is our publishing activities and we need to maintain these thriving scientifically and economically. We are a scientific union and a publishing house. The two are inextricably linked and the health of one depends on the health of the other. The world of publishing is changing, as is the world of science and we must work hard to stay ahead. We have a unique position to maintain and we are well poised to do so. Thanks to all of you, the science of crystallography has never been more prolific and thanks to the hard work of our Chester staff and our dedicated editors we provide a publishing service second to none.

The International Union of Crystallography should be inclusive. What started out as X-ray crystallography has over the years branched out to encompass a much wider field of science. The keynotes from the Hyderabad meeting encompass a cornucopia of methods: scattering of neutrons, X-rays and electrons, imaging and spectroscopy, and the questions asked range from the life sciences to the material sciences. Our field is rich and varied and we have all reasons to feel proud.

There is, however, a certain danger in this scope. If we do everything, then where is our identity? What is crystallography in the year 2017? And, more importantly, what will it be in the future?

The answer is up to you. You are the IUCr. Crystallography is what we make it to be. It is a science of its own but it is also an enabling technology. Crystallography asks it own questions but it also answers those of the other sciences. We must embrace this.

We do not need to make crystallography great again. It always was and it still is.

Let's keep it that way.

Sven Lidin (