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Letter from the President

[Duax] William L. Duax

The guiding principles of the IUCr include advancement of structural science, bringing structural science to emerging nations, and training young crystallographers for the future. The African Initiative of the European Crystallographic Assn (ECA), a Regional Affiliate of the IUCr, has been a model application of these principals. Thanks to the leadership of Jan Boeyens, Henk Schenk, and Claude Lecomte, Algeria, Morocco, Cameron, Kenya, and Tunisia are, or soon will be, members of the ECA and may soon join Egypt and South Africa as full members of the IUCr.

Andre Roodt, Demi Levendis, and the Crystallographic Assn of South Africa took a giant step in drawing international attention to the high caliber of crystallographic research on the African continent by inviting the ECA to hold its 21st annual meeting in Durban in 2003. It is a tribute to the ECA that they took the risk of holding their meeting so far from the center of their member population. I was pleased to be able to participate in this meeting, the first to be held on the African Continent.

The American Crystallographic Assn (ACA) has followed the example of the ECA in developing a Latin American Initiative, working together with leading laboratories in Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, and other Latin American countries to strengthen the crystallographic infrastructure there.

Before going to Africa, I attended the meeting of the Asian Crystallographic Assn (AsCA) in Broome, Australia. The meeting, held jointly with the meeting of the Crystallographic Assn of Australia and New Zealand (SCANZ), attracted 350 crystallographers from throughout the Asian region and covered all areas of crystallography.

The Executive Committee of the IUCr has often convened one of their business meetings concurrent with an ECA meeting and occasionally with an ACA meeting. This year for the first time, the Executive Committee held its annual business meeting at the site of an AsCA meeting in Broome, Australia. The major actions taken by the Executive Committee at that meeting include the following:

  • The Program Committee for the Florence 2005 Congress was approved. After much careful consideration, Carlo Mealli, the Program Chair, proposed a 21-member committee with representation from all the IUCr Commissions. The members of the committee are listed on Page 23. Suggestions for microsymposia topics, plenary lecture topics and speakers, and session chairs are invited from individuals as well as all national committees.
  • The Ewald Committee has been selected. Michiyoshi Tanaka of Japan, a former member of the Executive Committee has agreed to chair the committee. The other 6 members of the committee will be announced in the IUCr Newsletter once they have accepted the invitation. Rules concerning nomination for the Ewald Prize will also appear in the IUCr Newsletter and on the IUCr website. The membership of the Florence Program Committee and the Ewald Committee reflect a wide range of crystallographic expertise, as well as geographical and gender balance.
  • A plan for the development of a 2nd electronic journal, Acta Cryst F, a macromolecular analogue of Acta E, was approved. Acta F will cover crystal growth and protein genomics.
  • Hartmut Fuess of Germany was appointed as the new Chairman of the Commission on International Tables, an appointment critically important to the development of new Tables tailored to the needs of our rapidly growing, and highly diversified community.
  • The financial health of the Union is good and the budget allocation for the calendar committee was increased to allow expanded support for student participation in the meetings of regional affiliates, their satellites and intercongress meetings. Countries that have never applied for support should plan to do so. Instructions are on the website.
  • The Committee reviewed a proposal for expansion of the composition of the Executive Committee and the procedures for elections proposed by the Past President of the British Crystallographic Assn. The proposal will appear in a future issue of the IUCr Newsletter and may be a topic for discussion and action at the Congress in Florence.
  • This issue of the IUCr Newsletter includes a comprehensive review of crystallography in Latin America prepared by Executive Committee member Iris Torriani. Similar reviews concerning crystallography in Italy by Davide Viterbo, in Germany by Gernot Heger, in Russia by Leonid Aslanov, in Japan by Yuji Ohashi, and in China by Ze Zhang will appear in future issues. The Newsletter Editor welcomes articles about crystallography in other countries in the Union or its Regional Affiliates.

The Executive Committee voted to inaugurate a new series of IUCr awards to be presented at meetings of the regional affiliates and national crystallographic associations. The prizes include on-line subscriptions to Acta journals, copies of Crystallography Across the Disciplines and other IUCr publications. The Executive Committee advocates the awarding of these prizes to undergraduate or graduate students or crystallographers beginning a teaching career, but the final decision will be up to the meeting organizers. The first of these prizes were awarded at the AsCA meeting in Broome, the ECM meeting in Durban, South Africa, and the satellite, INDABA IV.

It is my opinion that the greatest strength of the IUCr in the next 50 years will come from emerging nations in South America, Africa, and Asia – countries rich in natural resources, new ideas, and bright young people. International communication and cooperation fostered by organizations such as the IUCr are the best tools with which to combat terrorism, ignorance and intolerance. Only education will empower people of all nations, making it possible for them to use their natural resources to improve their lives and promote peaceful coexistence and cultural and religious tolerance among all nations.

I ask all of you to assist me and the members of the Executive Committee of the IUCr and the Commissions of the Union to work to achieve the goals of our union. Please feel free to speak to or write to me or other members of the Executive Committee about your concerns and how the Union can better serve you. Most of all, help us to extend the benefits of the Union to nations not currently members.