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:

(Slides can be found on the ACS Committee Website)

At its meeting in Washington, DC on Saturday, August 19, 2017 and through the volunteer time, energy, talents and networks of its members and its partners, the Committee on International Activities (IAC) continued to advance a pathway forward for ACS.  We work to refine ways for ACS to be more welcoming of chemists, chemical engineers and chemistry educators with international interests and for connecting our members with the global practice of chemistry.

The Committee 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, and ACS Chemical Sciences International Chapters, and International Student Chapters.

At our luncheon, the Committee welcomed the ACS President Elect who – referring to the Society’s constitutional principles on international engagement (slide #1) - challenged the Committee to think about what ACS will look like in ten years in terms of its global presence and member service.  The guiding questions are presented on the following two slides   We have also shared these questions with our member-leader colleagues representing ACS committees.  IAC requests and welcomes input from our ACS Councilor colleagues to help inform IAC strategic planning and ‘futuring’ efforts.  (slides 3 & 4; Pause). Please visit our website found in the slide footer to share your ideas and learn more about ACS International Activities.

The Committee heard reports on its key programs and activities, 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 the IAC’s grants programs. 

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

The Committee heard an update on the ACS Asian Pacific International Chapters Conference, November 5-8, 2017 in Jeju, South Korea.  We are pleased to announce the participation of the 2017 ACS President and a Nobel Laureate (slide #5).  Registration and abstract submission remain open.  Please do plan to join us for this meeting organized jointly by ten ACS International Chapters in the region.  

At our Sunday IAC Welcome Reception, we hosted over 500 international meeting attendees.  We also organized a pre-reception networking event for conference attendees and  science attaches representing foreign embassies.

IAC collaborated with the ACS Divisions of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and Professional Relations to contribute technical content to the DC National Meeting.  With EUCHEMS, IAC organized a Sunday symposium on “Preparing for Employment in a Global Workforce”.

Finally, IAC received with appreciation annual reports from our 19 ACS International Chapters and awarded three Chemluminary Global Engagement Awards to the Greater Beijing ACS Chapter, the Agricultural and Food Chemistry Division, and the Midland Local Section.