International Chemistry Olympiads Reception
French Embassy, July 26, 2012.
Dear President Bassam Shakhashiri,
Dear President Elect Marinda Wu,
Dear Bill Carroll, Past-President of ACS and President of the ACS Board of Directors,
Dear Madeleine Jacobs, CEO of ACS,
Dear Eunice Heath, Director of STEM education programs at Dow Chemical,
Dear Mentors and Students,
It’s a great pleasure and honor for my staff and for me to welcome you tonight to the French Embassy for this very special event celebrating your success and talent, at the close of the International Chemistry Olympiads.
You are part of tomorrow’s generation of scientific leaders, and as you know France is a very science-friendly country.
As we are all aware, many of our countries are facing steep budgetary challenges. The current crisis requires an ambitious policy by our governments to determine the best use of our public funds. It is of paramount importance to make investment in innovation and research one of the main responses to the economic downturn. In this respect, make no mistake about it : innovation is France’s number 1, number 2 and number 3 priority. That’s why we founded a few years ago 71 competitive clusters (…).
That is also why we are promoting STEM education, especially at the high school and undergraduate levels. Our Minister of Higher Education and Research has made it one of the top items on her agenda.
It is also essential for
us to emphasize international cooperation as a means to boost the effectiveness of our public spending on research, by sharing ideas and infrastructures. Encouraging innovation means ensuring that public and private research efforts are combined in order to discover new knowledge and determine how it can be applied.
France has been very active in the field of chemistry for many years, starting with someone who inspires us all and whom we celebrated last year during the International Year of Chemistry: Marie Curie. I believe she charted a course for modern chemistry to develop new processes and products. And as you know the Curie Institute is today one of the world leaders in the fight against breast cancer in particular, and we are actively promoting collaborations between the Curie Institute and several American Institutions and research centers.
I hope Marie Curie may continue to serve as a role model for many of you, and I have no doubt that there is talent in this room which will rise, as Marie Curie did in her time, to the challenge of solving tomorrow’s complex problems.
Before I yield the floor to the President of the American Chemical Society, let me express my warm congratulations on your performance at the Olympiads! I know that 72 countries are represented tonight, so you really are the world!
Thank you for your attention and I wish all of you a wonderful evening.