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Letter from the President

[Bill Duax] William L. Duax
It is a pleasure and an honor to have been elected to serve the crystallographic community as President of the IUCr. Now, more than at any other time in history, it is important that we set aside national interests and embrace the principles of the International Union. Those principles include free circulation of scientists, education of the new generation of scientists everywhere, and assistance to emerging nations. Emerging nations can benefit from the use of the powerful techniques of X-ray crystallography in order to analyze, understand and use the unique natural resources within their countries whether mineralogical, chemical, or biological in nature.

It is noteworthy that the Union consistently uses its financial resources to support countries in need and students everywhere. I urge you to support all of the activities of the IUCr. Consider publishing some of your best work in Acta or starting a personal subscription to an Acta Journal. Establish a collaboration with a research scientist on another continent in order to advance science and support international communication. Consider volunteering to assist one of the Commissions of the Union in achieving its objectives. If you have ideas, concerns or opinions about the activities of a Commission of the Union, please express them. If you think that there are areas vital to crystallography and crystallographers that might be served by a new commission, a new publication, or a new volume of the International Tables, address your ideas to me or the individuals you consider best qualified to evaluate and implement your requests.

The Regional Affiliates of the IUCr have become powerful resources to advance the goals and principles of the Union. The European Crystallographic Assn has a vital African Initiative, the American Crystallographic Assn has a Latin American initiative and the more advanced countries in the Asian Crystallographic Assn are helping to strengthen crystallography in their region. When you travel to another country, consider yourself an ambassador for crystallography. Contact crystallographers in the cities you visit and find out what they are doing and, where appropriate and feasible, offer your support and assistance. This is especially important if you visit a country that is not now a member of the Union. Presently, 38 countries are members of the IUCr and are listed on the IUCr website. Other international scientific societies have membership of as many as 90 countries. Many of these other countries would benefit from IUCr membership. The easiest way to spread the word about the IUCr is to have the IUCr Newsletter distributed to individuals who may be interested in crystallography and science libraries in nonmember countries. If you have friends, colleagues, or collaborate in countries that are not now members of the IUCr, please send these names and address to the IUCr office so that they can be added to the mailing list.

Perhaps the best thing each of you could do for yourself, your science and others would be to volunteer for a leadership role in a scientific organization, work for international cooperation, and encourage young people to become involved.

Bill Duax