The Colombian Chemical Society invited Dr. Javier Garcia Martinez, Bureau member and recently appointed member of the Membership Relations Committee, to give a lecture at Colombian National University and to meet with the Executive Committee of the Colombian Chemical Society on 17 February 2014. The invited lecture, entitled “Discovery and commercialization of nanomaterials for energy applications,” was held at the Juan Herkrath Auditorium and attracted much attention as the country is keen on the opportunities that nanotechnology brings as well as sustainable production and use of energy.
After his lecture, Javier gave a presentation to faculty, students, and invited personalities about IUPAC mission, activities, and goals, which was very well attended. Meetings with some relevant chemists and university officials were also held. In a working meeting with the Executive Committee of the Colombian Chemical Society, the potential application of a Colombia National Adhering Organization was discussed. Several issues were treated to ensure quick and effective incorporation of Colombia into IUPAC. The challenges are important, especially in countries where the chemical industry is concentrated in a few companies and professional chemists and scientific societies have limited funds, but the proposal to apply as an NAO was moved and approved.
Some days later, Javier gave an invited lecture at the National University of Costa Rica and met with faculty and students where we stayed to participate in TEDxPuraVida. He had the opportunity to meet with Dr. José Roberto Vega-Baudrit, Director of National Nanotechnology Laboratory (LANOTEC-CeNAT) in San José, Costa Rica, and other officials of the National Center for High Technology of Costa Rica (CeNAT). Similarly, issues about the incorporation of a new country into IUPAC were discussed, highlighting the convenience of a country keen on sustainable development and innovation such as Costa Rica to become part of IUPAC. Costa Rica has also decided to apply for NAO status in the following months with the goal to be part of the General Assembly in South Korea in 2015. Vega-Baudrit thinks that in Costa Rica, where there are four state universities highly related to the chemical sciences, it is important to have an ally like IUPAC, in order to be supported with a global entity on issues related to chemistry.
From 14-17 October 2014, Peru will be hosting the XXVII Latin American Chemistry Conference in Lima. This will be another great opportunity to have face-to-face meetings with representatives of the Chemical Societies of the region to explain the benefits of becoming members of IUPAC, and to present our activities and some relevant projects to a very large audience.
Latin American is a thriving region with a growing chemical industry, traditionally centered in mining and raw materials buy increasingly focused in biomass valorization, added value products, and a more sustainable use and transformation of its abundant natural resources. Human capital is, however, the main asset of the region. A large youth population, which constantly demands more, better paid jobs doesn’t find the opportunities it deserves. Chemistry has a lot to offer to the region and IUPAC must be present to help with practical solutions and to serve as a forum for chemists from the region to collaborate, interact, and lead in the international arena.