AOGS President – 2008 to 2010
Seoul National University
AOGS has its own geosciences problems and issues affecting the world’s most populous countries with large national gaps in science and economy. Its annual meeting venues follow the north-south-west-east scheme with respect to Singapore where the society’s office is located. Given the complex characteristics of Asia and Oceania, such a scheme can better help develop relationships and cooperation through their common geoscience problems and issues unique to the region. Thus, the role of local (or national) advisory committee is important for the success of AOGS annual meetings.
In 2008, the AOGS fifth annual meeting was held in Busan, Korea right after the fourth Bangkok annual meeting which was its first away meeting. The Busan meeting was a milestone for the society’s development. A large number of participants from over 50 countries attended the meeting. The Local Advisory Committee promoted the meeting locally and abroad, helped with local arrangements, and provided financial aid with funds raised nationally. By following the example set by the successful 2008 Busan meeting, continuous successful meetings were held in Hyderabad, Taipei, and back to Singapore.
For the 2008 Annual Meeting in Busan, it was extremely difficult to form the Local Advisory Committee, because AOGS was relatively unknown to the Korean geosciences community as well as other Asia and Oceania countries. They were not really engaged in AOGS and therefore did not realize the benefits for the community. Professor Hiro Nishida, the second AOGS President, traveled to Korea three times encouraging Korean geoscientists to prepare for the Busan meeting before the Local Advisory Committee could be established. Professors Namsik Park, Byung-Ho Ahn, Kyung-Ja Ha, Se-Yeong Hamm, Sang-Mook Lee and others must be acknowledged for the success of the Busan meeting. They showed an example for an away (outside Singapore) AOGS annual meeting by organizing the fundraising, publicity and field trip subcommittees in short time. After the meeting, the Korean Geoscience Union (KGU) consisting of five geoscience societies was established. The AOGS council would give continuous efforts to link with national geoscience communities for the encouragement of participants and financial support as well as the participation of leading scientists.
A successful meeting can also result from excellent scientific presentations for which section presidents, vice presidents and secretaries may attempt to invite session conveners and interesting research areas to encourage productive discussion on presentations given by participants from all over the world. It would be desirable to open a long-run session which deals with urgent global research issues; an example is the session of the “Sasaki Symposium on Data Assimilation for Atmospheric, Oceanic and Hydrologic Applications” in the AS Section open in last several meetings.
AOGS introduces a financial support scheme that is managed by a committee appointed by the Council. Its purpose is to provide financial assistance to needy scientists, especially the younger ones who otherwise will not have the chance to present their research at the meetings. This system plays a great role in cutting down national and regional gap in economy for the development of AOGS. It is also desirable to maintain equity among the Sections considering countries and application number of young scientists in the selection of the registration fee waivers.
Recognition must be given to Professor Iver Cairns for his exceptional contribution to AOGS as Secretary General and Program Committee Chair from 2008 to 2010. He played a pivotal role in formatting the scientific program and annual general assembly as well as in setting up governance processes and the management of the society’s constitution. These resulted in clear procedures and guidelines for reaching important policy managements by the Council.