Report of the International Committee
for the Year ending June 30, 2002
This year the Committee met on 2-3 March 2002 in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. During the meeting, the Committee received an update on Sigma Xi's Packard International Science Networking Initiative, supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, to facilitate interaction between scientists in developing countries and research colleagues around the world. The Committee also discussed the creation of Sigma Xi International Partners; the possibility of augmenting existing Sigma Xi programs; developing new programs and tools for international researchers and networking; the status and activities of current international chapters; the participation of international guests from the networking groups in the 2001 and 2002 Forums and Annual Meetings; and the relationship between the International Committee and the Canadian/International Constituency Group.
In its discussions, the Committee recognized the need for shifting the focus of the Packard Initiative toward offering a framework of services and programs that can connect with the maximum number of individual researchers in a cost- and time-effective way, thereby best achieving the goals of the Packard Initiative. While internal goals still include the formation of Sigma Xi chapters, it is now clear that the real strength that Sigma Xi brings to this effort is the existing network of chapters, programs, potential International Partner groups and infrastructure upon which the Society is building strong, sustainable networking tools that will benefit individual scientists and groups of researchers in developing countries around the world.
A review of the overall Packard Initiative objectives and activities to date was presented and discussed. It was noted that four Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) to make $2500 networking awards had been signed over the past year. A listing of these awards is given below.
|Location of group
||Focus of award
|Buenos Aires, Argentina
||Research awards to students, paying dues, poster competition for high school students, meetings and symposia
||Competitive science exhibition for secondary school students
||Developing a Web site and Internet information exchange between several institutions in the field of solid state and supramolecular chemistry
||Undergraduate research competition, seminars and meetings of the Networking group
The Committee agreed to informally review all future Memoranda of Understanding before they are approved for funding.
As part of the Society's efforts to expand its network of local groups to countries around the globe, Sigma Xi's Board of Directors approved a pilot program to provide an alternative way for groups in certain countries outside North America to become officially-recognized "Sigma Xi International Partners." The establishment of a Sigma Xi International Partner enables a group to set and collect their own annual dues in their local currency, which is intended to assist groups where the cost of US$54/member/year prohibits the formation of a local Sigma Xi group. The International Committee approved a fee schedule for a one-time initiation fee, a yearly administration fee, and optional benefits for a five-year pilot program so that the yearly basic administrative fee would be ~$5/member for groups of 20.
The Committee approved a new version of the previous Sigma Xi Ambassador program where members can add their names to a database of possible Ambassadors and be contacted quarterly to solicit their plans for upcoming travel to a developing country. Sigma Xi Ambassadors are then selected based on the location and timing of their trips, and the Society will reimburse up to $500 for the extra day's expenses (including hosting a reception, etc.) after the proper forms and receipts have been transmitted to Sigma Xi's administrative offices. The Committee also suggested resources that should be made available to Ambassadors, such as PowerPoint presentations on the Society and the Packard Initiative.
With respect to augmenting existing programs, the Committee approved the idea of creating a low-bandwith text archive of American Scientist articles and allocating modest amounts from the Packard Initiative for developing country Grants-in-Aid of Research and Distinguished Lectureships. They also suggested having a Forum dedicated to the theme of International Science Policy, Practice and Education. Later, the Society's Committee on Meetings approved a recommendation that the theme of the November 2003 Forum in Los Angeles involve international science, possibly with an emphasis on developing or transitional countries.
The development of new programs was also discussed, and the Committee advocated creating an online information repository, an international newsletter, and a collaboration/peer review database, and offering Sigma Xi's own workshops on topics such as preparing scientific manuscripts for international publication. The Committee enthusiastically recommended the continued involvement in the Forum and Annual Meeting of international guests from the Packard Initiative networking groups.
Finally, the roles of the International Committee and the Canadian/International Constituency Group were clarified. The International Committee is responsible for making recommendations on the international affairs of the Society, membership and program activities outside the U. S. and Canada, and the establishment of chapters outside the U. S. and Canada. The Canadian/International Constituency Group oversees the performance and activities of existing chapters outside the U. S. and Canada and provides support and advice to these existing groups for their activities.
This year, Drs. Christopher Lange, Emir Macari and Sarah Ngola complete their terms on the Committee and depart with robust thanks for their work and counsel over the years on the Committee's behalf. Joining the Committee on 1 July 2002 will be Dr. Dorothy Boothe, Ms. Magdalena Navarro and Dr. Antonio Pita. Dr. M. A. (Tony) Whitehead will continue to serve ex officio on the Committee as the Director of the Canadian/International Constituency Group. The Committee members for the year ending 30 June 2002 were:
James F. Baur, Chair
David D. Cass
Miguel A. Jimenez
Emir J. Macari
John H. Moore
Sarah M. Ngola
Christopher S. Lange
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