Chemistry International Blank Image
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Chemistry International Blank Image Chemistry International Blank Image Chemistry International Blank Image
Chemistry International Blank Image
Chemistry International Blank Image
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Current Issue
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Past Issues
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Officer's Columns
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Features
Chemistry International Blank Image
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Up for Discussion
Chemistry International Text Image Link to IUPAC Wire
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Project Place
Chemistry International Text Image Link to imPACt
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Bookworm
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Internet Connections
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Conference Call
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Where 2B and Y
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Symposia
Chemistry International Text Image Link to CI Indexes
Chemistry International Text Image Link to CI Editor
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Search Function
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Information

 

Chemistry International Text Image Link to Previous Issue Chemistry International Text Image Link to Previous Page Chemistry International Text Image Link to This TOC Chemistry International Text Image Link to Next Page Chemistry International Text Image Link to Next Issue

Vol. 28 No. 2
March-April 2006

Conference Call | Reports from recent conferences and symposia 
See also www.iupac.org/symposia

Polymers for Africa

by Dhanjay Jhurry

The 8th UNESCO School and IUPAC Conference on Macromolecules was held in Mauritius in June 2005, and for the first time since its inception, the meeting took place outside South Africa. It was a great honor for the Mauritian organizers to have been given the opportunity to host this meeting and also a great challenge to achieve the high level set in the past by Professor Ron Sanderson and his team at Stellenbosch University.

The meeting started with a two-day UNESCO School on 4–5 June 2005 held at the University of Mauritius. The School was officially opened on 4 June 2005 by Dr. M.S. Alam, director, Division of Basic & Engineering Sciences, UNESCO, Paris. The UNESCO School aims at capacity building in existing and emerging areas in polymer science and technology through training of undergraduate/graduate students and young researchers. An important innovation brought to the UNESCO School was the organization of lectures both in English and French, the first setup of this kind in the world.

Eight lectures were delivered covering a wide range of topics in polymer science, including biopolymers, biodegradable polymers, and polysaccharides, all of which are of prime interest to the region vis-àvis sustainable development: Professor Michel Vert, “Biodegradable Polymers”; Professor Robert Gilbert, “Polysaccharides: Molecular Weights in Synthetic and Natural Polymers”; Dr. Daniela Held, “Polymer Characterization: Size-Exclusion Chromatography”; Professor Goerg Michler, “Polymer Characterization: Electron Microscopy Techniques”; Professor Helmut Ritter, “Functionalized Polymers: Synthesis and Modification”; Professor Henri Cramail, “Coordination Polymerization: Ziegler-Natta/Metallocenes”; Dr. Bert Klumperman, “Polymer Synthesis: Living Free-radical Polymerization”; and Professor Axel Müller, “Polymer Synthesis: Living Anionic Polymerization.”

All lectures have been compiled on a CD-ROM available free of charge to all 50 participants. The enthusiasm of both lecturers and students and their hard work during the weekend was highly commendable and contributed to the success of this first event.

The IUPAC Conference was held 6–9 June 2005 at the La Pirogue Hotel, Flic en Flac, Mauritius. The first day of the conference started with the opening ceremony in the presence of University of Mauritius officials and other distinguished guests. UNESCO and IUPAC were represented by Dr. M.S. Alam and Professor R. Gilbert, respectively.

Participants at the 8th UNESCO/IUPAC Conference on Macromolecules. Front row, center right, wearing a tie is Professor Dhanjay Jhurry, and on his right is Professor Jean Fréchet.

The IUPAC Conference was attended by approximately 100 participants, including 70 from 17 foreign countries. Participants included high-caliber polymer scientists as well as young researchers and postgraduate students. Major objectives of the conference included providing young scientists of the region a forum for presenting their research work, providing networking opportunities, and fostering research collaborations between the north and the south.

The conference featured five plenary lectures, 27 invited lectures, 15 contributed papers, and 30 poster presentations covering the following five major themes in polymer science and frontier areas of particular interest to the greater African region (Africa and Indian Ocean island states):

• biopolymers/biodegradable polymers/polysaccharides
• polymers in food and textile
• polymers in health and medicine
• functional polymers
• new emerging materials and characterization techniques

The enthusiastic participation of numerous young graduate students and scientists led to many lively discussions during the well-attended poster sessions. Eighteen papers presented at the IUPAC Conference have been collected in a special volume of Macromolecular Symposia entitled "Polymers for Africa" (Vol 231, 2006; ISBN 3-527-31334-6). In the preface of that volume, Professor Jean Fréchet writes:

"It is obvious that this conference series can make an important contribution to the development of polymer science in the African continent as more young scientists are exposed to and participate in state-of-the-art polymer research in contexts of relevance to their local environment. While it is clear that holding such conferences on the African continent stimulates the all-important participation of both young and more mature African scientists, should the rest of the world not be exposed to the needs and issues of polymer science in the developing world? Should topics such as “Polymers for Africa” or “Polymers for the Developing World” be included in the major IUPAC sponsored polymer conferences held in the developed world to sensitize polymer scientists to the special needs of developing nations? It is hoped that the readers will be stimulated to attend and participate in the next edition of the “Polymers for Africa” conference for a better understanding of the global significance of this topic."

It is undeniable that the organization of such meetings in countries far from the major centers of education and research can contribute to the development of polymer science and help lay the groundwork for future economic development in those countries and regions. Professor Gilbert wrote: “Because of the excellent organization, the relaxed atmosphere and the high quality of invited speakers, this was one of the most fruitful conferences I have ever attended.” Sponsors included the University of Mauritius, UNESCO, IUPAC, ACU, the French Embassy in Mauritius, TWAS, and the Tertiary Education Commission (Mauritius).

Dhanjay Jhurry <djhurry@uom.ac.mu> is associate professor and head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Mauritius in Réduit. He was chairman of the local organizing committee.


Page last modified 10 August 2006.
Copyright © 2003-2006 International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.
Questions regarding the website, please contact edit.ci@iupac.org
   
Link to CI Home Page Link to IUPAC E-News Link to IUPAC Home Page