Committee on International Activities

Photo of ACS Committee on International Activities in San Francisco, 2017
ACS Committee on International Activities in San Francisco, 2017

The 15-member Joint Board-Council Committee on International Activities (IAC) was established by action of the ACS Board of Directors on June 27, 1962 and was upgraded in 1974 to a joint Board-Council Committee. The IAC is responsible for studying and recommending appropriate SOCIETY participation and cooperation in international undertakings pertaining to chemical education, professional activities, and scientific matters of interest to chemists and chemical engineers, and coordinating its efforts with those of other organizations.


The mission of the Committee on International Activities is to assist scientists and engineers worldwide to communicate and collaborate for the good of the chemical and chemically related sciences, chemical engineering, and their practitioners.


Through their enduring volunteer service and commitment, members and associates of the Joint-Board Council Committee on International Activities continue in their remarkable efforts to further the obligations expressed in Article II, Section 3, of the ACS Constitution, "the SOCIETY shall cooperate with scientists internationally and shall be concerned with the worldwide application of chemistry to the needs of humanity."

Through its subcommittees on Africa and Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia Pacific Basin, the Committee continues its work to help ACS be more welcoming to chemists and allied scientists and engineers with global interests and advance its strategies that serve the international priorities of the Society.

For 2017, we as a committee are well positioned to work in the following areas to assure success and impact as ACS continues on its journey towards a relevant, science-driven, and sustainable global presence.

  • Advance and serve the growing community of ACS International Chapters.
  • Review ACS membership structures, policies, and activities that can accelerate and/or hinder fulfillment of the ACS brand promise to our member volunteers, chemists, chemical engineers, and chemical educators with global interests.
  • Expand awareness and presence of ACS International Activities across ACS technical divisions, local sections, committees, meeting attendees, award recipients, ACS Fellows, and editorial and author communities.
  • Assure a committee environment that welcomes and supports open communication and service opportunity where a diversity of thought, opinion, and contribution is nurtured.

The following is the IAC's 2017 Washington, DC Council Report:

ACS Joint Board-Council Committee on International Activities (IAC)
November 30, 2017
Washington, DC USA

At its meeting in Washington, DC, the Committee on International Activities (IAC) welcomed dignitaries from our sister societies and partners from Australia, Germany, South Korea, and the UK, as well as leadership of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies, the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences EUCHEMS, and ACS Chemical Sciences International Chapters, and International Student Chapters.

ACS President Elect, Peter Dorhout was the IAC invited luncheon speaker.  He challenged the Committee to think about what ACS will look like in ten years in terms of its global presence and member service. 

  • What are ways ACS Local Sections, Divisions, Committees, and Chapters can coordinate development, structure, delivery and evaluation of their international priorities and interests?
  • How can ACS better identify and further member global scientific networks and relationships?
  • What are opportunities for IAC to engage global youth development communities (like BSA) to help in promoting STEM and chemistry?
  • How can ACS be positioned to further the contribution of chemistry to attain the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN?
  • How can IAC more broadly disseminate the contributions and successes of its flagship offerings – International Center, Global Chemists Code of Ethics, CS3, Global Innovation / Stopover Grants, ACS PITTCON Delegations, and IREU?

The Committee heard reports on its key programs, including the ACS International Center, our work with the US Department of State for early career scientist training in chemical security and responsible conduct, our Global Innovation Initiative programs, the ACS National Science Foundation (NSF) Chemical Sciences and Society Symposia, and IAC’s research collaboration, exchange support.  The Committee reviewed annual reports from ACS International Chapters and the five-year reports (with recommendation for continuation) for the Shanghai and Thailand Chapters.

IAC also heard remarks from the S&T Attaché from the German Embassy who addressed the Committee on “Science Diplomacy: Opportunities for Cooperation with Professional / Learned Societies”.  

The Committee received an update on the ACS Asian Pacific International Chapters Conference, to be held November 5-8, 2017 in Jeju, South Korea, including announcement of the participation of the 2017 ACS President and a Nobel Chemistry Laureate.

At the IAC Welcome Reception, IAC hosted over 500 international meeting attendees.  We also organized a pre-reception networking event with science attaches representing foreign embassies to meet with ACS National Meeting attendees.

IAC collaborated with the ACS Divisions of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and Professional Relations, and with EUCHEMS, organized a Sunday symposium on “Preparing for Employment in a Global Workforce”.

Finally, IAC approved applications and recommended Council approval of two new international chapters: Jordan and Qatar; and recognized the Greater Beijing ACS Chapter, the Agricultural and Food Chemistry Division, and the Midland Local Section with Chemluminary Global Engagement Awards.

Other Activities

IAC Stopover Grants 
The IAC Stopover Grant program is for ACS members to make "stopover" visits during planned international travel.  Grants (up to US$500) are available to reimburse costs of local travel, accommodations, and incidentals for visits to work with existing and prospective scientific partners (and their students) for the purposes of conducting lectures, training, and building research collaborations. The grant program launched as a pilot in 2016; the 2017 grant cycle is currently open and accepting applications. 

International Chemical Sciences Chapters 
With the ACS Board approving three new ACS Chapters at its December 2016 meeting, the number of ACS Chapters now stands at 19, with the additions of Greater Beijing / Tianjin, Southwest China and Iraq.  The staff management and operational support for ACS Chapters has moved to ACS Member Communities in the ACS Membership Division.  Chapter development, application, and annual report review will stay with IAC and IA.  Two new chapter applications from Qatar and Jordan were presented to and acted upon by IAC at its meeting in Washington, DC.

ACS Science and Human Rights 
In an effort to increase member engagement, ACS Science and Human Rights has established an alert network to notify members of changes to ACS monitored human rights cases. Over 200 ACS members have registered for this email list and receive links to partner petitions, notifications for ACS science & human rights events such as webinars and symposia, and other relevant information. ACS International Activities staff and Dorothy Phillips, the ACS Board representative for Science and Human Rights, continue to work with AAAS, UNESCO, Scholars at Risk, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to gain information on the post-coup situation in Turkey and to further establish relationships with science and human rights related partners.

ACS International Center 
The ACS International Center encourages, engages and support international exchange of scientific information at all levels. Authorized by the Board’s Committee of Budget and Finance in 2012, the ACS International Center (IC) aims to facilitate the exchange of resources and opportunities for the globally curious STEM practitioner. The ACS International Center has information on nearly 600 programs across 16 geographic regions (including one for ‘global’) and six career experience levels. To assist in connecting the ACS community with global providers, the IC currently works with 29 organizations that serve as ACS International Center Affiliates. Affiliates work with the IC to promote their opportunities and resources and participate in the community by organizing webinars or other outreach events. The International Center hosts quarterly webinar series dedicated to providing the STEM community with information relevant to upcoming opportunities and trends in global education. The ACS International Center (IC) web analytics annually show traffic and unique visitors to the site ranging 36,000 unique visitors, 42,000 daily unique visitors and 111,000 page views. Phase II of the International Center development is underway with a “Global Collaboration” tab featuring videos from industry leaders on the important role of international science mobility and collaboration as well as articles from leading science journals and other resources.  On June 28, IC working with the ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety hosted a webinar “Going Beyond Borders: Lab Safety Around the Globe” which focused on the complexity of international lab work. The webinar presenters, Ralph Stuart of Keene College, New Hampshire and Sammye Sigmann of Appalachian State University, shared their perspective on international lab safety.

Chemical Sciences and Society Summit (CS3) 
ACS International Activities completed its seventh year of participating in the Chemical Sciences and Society (CS3) summit. The summit explores topics in frontier chemistry which have global impact and typically are relevant to food, energy, health or water. CS3 is unique in its organization in that it involves a trifecta of participants-chemical societies, funding agencies, and leading researchers. CS3 is composed of five leading nations, the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, China and Germany. The last CS3 summit was held in Leipzig, Germany on the topic of Water and Chemistry. The 2017 program was held September 5-8, hosted by the Chinese Chemical Society in Dalian, China. The topic was Solar Energy and Photonics. The 2017 ACS CS3 Delegation was chaired by Suljo Linic (University of Michigan). Delegates include: Harry Atwater (California Institute of Technology); Vivian Ferry (University of Minnesota); Jerry Meyer (University of North Carolina); Gordana Dukovic (University of Colorado at Boulder). 

International Research Experience for Undergraduates (IREU) 
The 2016 IREU program cohort presented their 2016 summer research findings at the 2017 San Francisco Meeting.  The program hosted 16 students from across the United States at research sites in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Singapore. Students presented their work at the IREU program symposium, in poster form at the ACS Undergraduate Poster Session as well as at the International Welcome Reception. A proposal to NSF for a continuation of IREU 2018-2020 was submitted in September.

With support from the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (SACP), the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (PITTCON) and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, ACS International Activities coordinated competitive selection of the 2017 ACS PittconTravel Grant with 10 participants from Latin America – 6 women and 4 men from Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay to attend Pittcon 2017, March 4-9, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  India and Pakistan were selected by IAC for the 2018 PITTCON countries and applications reviewed and awardees selected for Orlando next year.

Global Innovation Grant (GIG)
The ACS International Activities Committee sponsored Global Innovation Grant assists ACS Technical Divisions, Local Sections, International Chapters and Committees with travel, projects and events. Grants between $1,000 and $5,000 are available annually (pending budget approval) in support of IAC strategic interests and priorities and to catalyze new international collaborations and partnerships dedicated to solutions to global challenges. In 2017, 12 applications were received and 5 applications awarded.

Global Innovation Imperative (Gii)
ACS International Activities staff worked with an International Activities Committee review panel to select the 2017 Global Innovation Imperative project. There were 7 applications received and reviewed; the 2017 awardee is the International Chemical Sciences Chapter in Malaysia that is planning an event for late November that focuses on “contaminants of emerging concern” (CECs) regarding aquatic environments. The 2016 Global Innovation Imperative project’s white paper is titled “Green Chemistry Experiments for Remote Locations.” The 2016 project was submitted in partnership with the ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapter in Brazil and focused on green chemistry in rural areas. For 2017, Gii was awarded to the ACS Malaysia Chapter on the topic of “Exploring Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Malaysia through Water Chemistry, Microbiology and Public Health” and will be carried in November.

Dine Globally
International Activities staff coordinates a quarterly event titled ”ACS International Roundtable: Dine Globally” which features global aspects of ACS with a target audience of ACS staff. The first event of 2017 featured Dr. Tom Connelly who provided details about Global ACS Alliances and Partnerships and how they relate to the ACS Strategic Plan. Nearly 200 ACS staff members attended the event in person or via live-stream. The second event of 2017 featured Dr. Brian Crawford of ACS Publications and attracted over 160 participants in DC and Columbus.  On September 6, International Affairs staff coordinated the third International Roundtable: Dine Globally event featuring CAS President Manny Guzman. Manny discussed the international aspects of CAS and how they coordinate with the ACS Strategic Plan. Fifty-two staff members attended the event and 22 people completed the evaluation. The survey responses indicated the following: 100% of attendees would like to attend another Dine Globally event, there was an 82% increase in awareness of the topic, and there was a 55% increase on the importance of the topic.

6th FASC Conference in Arusha, Tanzania on September 8-15, 2017
Hosted by the Tanzania Chemical Society (TCS), the Conference was co-convened with the 3rd Annual TCS International Conference, and a pre-conference, locally organized ACS Festival took place.  ACS President-Elect Peter Dorhout attended the gatherings and presented to the FASC General Assembly and Executive Committee on the topic of ACS activities and interests in Africa and opportunities for engagement.  Staff also met with ACS members at the conference chemical society leadership in northern, southern, and eastern Africa.  Dorhout also participated in the student poster judging, and the participants and winners received a joint ACS/FASC Certificate. 

Global Chemists Code of Ethics 
Funded entirely by a grant from the US Department of State's Chemical Security Program,

in 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ACS International Activities organized a three-day workshop for participants to develop a Global Chemists’ Code of Ethics (GCCE). Using its network of leaders in chemistry from around the world, ACS worked with the Pacific Northwest and Sandia National Laboratories, the US Department of State, and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to organize this workshop. The Code is currently available on the website.  ACS International Activities organized and facilitated the first Global Chemists' Code of Ethics (GCCE) Science & Technology Leadership Institute (STLI) workshop in Rabat, Morocco, from February 6-10, 2017. 17 participants from Egypt, Nigeria, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco took part in the event, which trained them in a variety of presentation tracks on topics related to ethics, such as Safety & Security, Communicating Science, and Publishing Research. Participants are now tasked with conducting an event in their home university based on the workshop presentations. The second STLI was held in Nairobi, Kenya May 15-19 and trained early career chemists, chemical engineers, and allied professionals in topics related to the Code with the remit for them to host their own workshop upon returning to their home country. The 25 participants came from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Turkey, Iraq, Yemen, Algeria, and Kenya. This event was coordinated with assistance from members of the Federation of African Societies of Chemistry (FASC) and the Kenyan Chemical Society.  Twenty participants from Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Jordan, and the Philippines attended the 3rd Global Chemists’ Code of Ethics (GCCE) workshop in Melbourne, Australia from July 18-22. In addition to ACS International Activities staff, the event was facilitated by Dr. Ellene Tratras Contis, chair of the ACS Committee on International Activities, and Dr. Kabrena Rodda of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. This event was coordinated with assistance from ACS members in Australia and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) and was held in conjunction with the Asian Chemical Congress, which is hosted by the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies (FACS). The GCCE workshops train early career chemists, chemical engineers, and allied professionals in topics related to the Code with the remit for them to host their own workshop upon returning to their home country. These events are funded entirely by the U.S. Department of State’s Chemical Security Program.

ACS Visa Policy Statement 
IAC is leading the process of revisiting and revising by year end the narrative of the Society’s  policy statement last revised in 2014, IAC, the Society Committee on Education, Committee on Science, and Committee of Corporation Associates have been asked to work on this effort, and the IAC Chair has been tasked with leading the writing team to revise the current document in consultation with professional and learned societies including the  National Academies of Science, American Association of Universities, National Association of Foreign Student Affairs, American Geophysical Union, and the American Physical Society.  The statement is scheduled for review and approval by PA&PR at its December 2017 meeting.