26 No. 2
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IUPAC Officers Meet with Chemistry Leaders in Kazan
As mentioned by President Steyn in the President’s Column in the Nov-Dec 2003 CI, there is a strong desire in the republics of the former Soviet Union to renew contact with IUPAC and become involved in various IUPAC activities. Discussions to this effect were held among IUPAC President Steyn and Vice President Sydnes and chemistry leaders from the republics during the XVII Mendeleev Congress held in Kazan in September 2003. At the roundtable discussion, officially titled the State and Development of Chemical Science in the Former Soviet Union Countries, it became clear that the financial situation in the republics is so difficult that extraordinary measures should be taken to facilitate their participation in IUPAC initiatives and projects.
Countries of the Former Soviet Union Represented at the Roundtable Discussion
At the end of the meeting the participants were not in a position to outline a clear action plan for the future. However, progress was made on several of the items raised. The following summary reflects the major issues discussed.
The Chemistry Clearing House project, which was proposed by dedicated chemists in Moscow and aims to become an important component of chemical education in Russia, would like to involve chemists from the other republics. The chemical community in each of the republics should come forward with names of one or several chemists who would like to become involved in the project and contact the task-group leader to get started <www.iupac.org/projects/2001/2001-003-5-050.html>.
Since it will be next to impossible for most of the republics to pay the full membership fee for National Adhering Organization status, for the time being, the republics were advised by IUPAC officers to opt for associate membership, also known as Associate National Adhering Organization (ANAO) status.* Discussions on full membership could be pursued later. Estonia, Latvia, and Ukraine are already ANAOs; only Russia is now an NAO. (see Jan-Feb 2003 CI, p. 10) An alternative solution discussed at the roundtable was to establish a regional chemical society, which could then apply for membership in IUPAC. IUPAC representatives promised to discuss the proposal as soon as possible.
IUPAC supports a number of initiatives (e.g., conferences) of chemists in emerging and developing countries that are members of IUPAC. If the republics were to opt for associate membership in IUPAC, they would be able to benefit from some of this funding.
From the discussions it emerged that there was too little knowledge about IUPAC in the chemistry community in most of the republics. The suggestion was made that a meeting between the IUPAC president and the chemistry community (representatives from the chemistry society and the national Academy) in the republics would be most fruitful. As president-elect Sydnes has indicated he would be more than willing to visit the republics, provided dates could be found and programs could be worked out.
As a result of the meeting, the IUPAC officers understand the difficult situation being experienced by the republics emerging from the former Soviet Union, and realize that the union has to take a fresh look at its relationship with these countries.
*Generally speaking, ANAOs have observer status in IUPAC. An ANAO may be a national chemical council, a national society representing chemistry, a national academy of science, or any other institution or association of institutions representative of national chemical interests.
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