Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University
Greetings from the APA president,
The last APA Councilors’ meeting was held in India in November 2014 during the 8th APC, and therein I was elected to be the President of the APA. Here I would like to summarize the situation surrounding us, calling on further supports from all the people who are interested in photochemistry in Asia and Oceania.
In 1996, the first APC meeting was held at Hong Kong. Since then, the meeting has been held once every three years till 2008 and then every two years from 2010 onwards. The activity of APA started from 2002. In that time the APA was managed by about 10 Councilors who represented their respective regions. Currently there are 16 Councilors representing 8 regions and the total number of members is about 1300. From 2005, the APA started awarding “The APA Prize for Young Scientist” to encourage young scientists in the Asian and Oceanian region. “The APA Award” has been conferred on scientists with great achievements. From this history it is clear that the APA activity and its importance have just emerged at the beginning of 21st century. We are deeply obliged to pioneers who laid the groundwork for today’s prosperity.
Sometimes I compare the history of Asia and Oceania with that of Europe. There have been excellent philosophers and mathematicians in Asia from ancient times, however; we can hardly find examples of constructive communications between different countries until very recent times. On the contrary, people in Europe have a long history of competition and collaboration among different countries although they are split with different languages and cultures. Of course, it took thousand years until the Europeans finally attained the wisdom to mutually admit the values of other countries, and it looks still difficult to maintain this situation. The development of science is strongly driven by competition and collaboration among scientists in different regions. I believe we are now building up a similar affable situation among Asian and Oceanian scientists.
It is notable that 8% of people in the region of eastern Asia still live in poverty (daily income less than 1.25 USD) and this ratio reaches about 20% in a few countries. In order to build up a situation like the one in in Europe, we have to wait for economic growth as well as cultural development giving more support to basic sciences in all of the regions in Asia and Oceania. Though the situation surrounding us doesn’t seem to be so easy, we should not be pessimistic since human and natural resources in this region are tremendous. I believe the arrangement of social systems can improve the situation. Not only research exchanges among established scientists but also mutual educational supports for students would provide us a bright future.
The next APC will be held in December 2016 in Singapore. I would like to invite all Asian and Oceanian photochemists to support this event and I hope to see as many of you there as possible to contribute to the continuing exchange of culture and ideas that will further strengthen photochemistry in the region.