28 No. 3
Raising Awareness of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Multiple Uses of Chemicals
the end of October 2005, Moscow was the setting for the first
workshop assessment of educational material produced for the
project on the multiple uses of chemicals and professional
codes of conduct (see
Mar-Apr 2006 CI, p. 23). Some 25 academics, high
school teachers, and chemistry students gathered at the D.
Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology to consider four
papers. Produced over the months following the project start
in August 2005, the papers covered the following topics: an
introduction to multiple-use issues, background on the Chemical
Weapons Convention (CWC), toxicology of selected chemical-warfare
agents, and codes of conduct. All of the papers were translated
into Russian for the workshop, and readers were asked to judge
their suitability as teaching aids.
This first workshop was a trial run. The papers were introduced to the audience, who were then asked to break into smaller groups to consider a number of questions. These questions concerned the specific subject matter of the papers, but also extended to consideration of the control of chemicals, the availability of relevant information, and the responsibilities of those who use chemicals. Peter Mahaffy and Alastair Hay led the workshops, with Natalia Tarasova translating. Discussion was enthusiastic, and the feedback sessions equally so. Overall, the participants enjoyed the workshops, finding them lively, dynamic, and democratic. A wide range of opinions was expressed, and the topics clearly generated a great deal of discussion, as intended. As for the working papers, all were determined to be suitable as teaching aids, with some slight modifications required on two. These changes have since been made.
Two presentations on the work covered by this IUPAC project were given by Alastair Hay to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague. The OPCW oversees the CWC internationally. A meeting of national authorities at the OPCW was the venue for the first presentation, on 5 November 2005. These national authorities are responsible in their individual countries for conducting the day-to-day work of collecting data, organizing inspections, and upholding the CWC. The second presentation, on 9 February 2006, was made to the Scientific Advisory Board of the OPCW. Both groups of attendees endorsed the work of the IUPAC project group and offered to help in whatever way they could.
Further workshops are to be held over the next few months in Russia and at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom to increase the audience reached. The Leeds workshops will test different approaches to using the prepared written material. Feedback from the workshops, together with the working papers in what is hoped will be their final form, will be presented at the 19th International Conference on Chemical Education in Seoul in August 2006.
For more information and to submit comments, contact Task Group Chairman Alastair W. Hay <email@example.com>.
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