International Science Council holds first General Assembly in Paris

The International Science Council, formed from the merger of two organizations representing the natural and social sciences, held its inaugural General Assembly in Paris on July 4. In a historic meeting hosted by the French Académie des Sciences, the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) merged to form the International Science Council, a unique global non-governmental organization representative of both the natural and social sciences.

The meeting opened with addresses from Catherine Bréchignac, Secrétaire Perpétuel of the French Académie des Sciences, and Prince Albert II of Monaco.

The main item of business for the meeting was the election of a new President and a new Governing Board to lead the Council for the next three years. Representatives of the Council’s members elected Daya Reddy, a mathematician from South Africa, to be the first President. Peter Gluckman, the former Chief Science Adviser to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, became the President-elect, and will assume the Presidency at the next General Assembly in 2021.

Former IUPAC Secretary General, David StC Black (front left), President Nicole Moreau (2010-11) (front right), Natalia Tarasova (2016-17) and Qi-Feng Zhou (2018-19) at the 1st ISC General Assembly

The other officers of the Board are Elisa Reis (Vice-President), Jinghai Li (Vice-President), Alik Ismail-Zadeh (Secretary) and Renée van Kessel (Treasurer). The ordinary members of the Board will be Geoffrey Boulton, Melody Burkins, Saths Cooper, Anna Davies, Pearl Dykstra, Sirimali Fernando, Ruth Fincher, James C. Liao, Natalia Tarasova and Martin Visbeck.

In his acceptance speech, Reddy spoke about the importance of inclusiveness, of involving all regions of the world in the work of the new Council. He called for the involvement of early career scientists in partnerships and agenda setting.

“We have set ourselves an ambitious goal to be a powerful, visible, credible voice for science. There’s no time to waste. Let’s get to work!”

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