Closing Ceremony
IMU > Activities > ICM > Previous > Closing Ceremony  Home | Contact | Search | Media Platform | Sitemap

ICM 2002-Closing Ceremony

Speech by Jacob Palis
President of IMU

Dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen:

At this moment, we are closing one more International Congress of Mathematicians, the 24th of a series that started in 1897 in Zurich in a span of more than one hundred years.

Thus, it's time to try to respond to the questions: Is it worthwhile to have such a comprehensive Congress, covering an impressive array of areas of mathematics, with 20 plenary talks, 174 invited lectures and many short communications? Were the lectures well presented in trying to reach a large mathematical audience, avoiding technical details and in offering an overview of the themes discussed and the prospect for research in the future? Is the Congress still attractive to a significant number of mathematicians from all over the world? Has it been organized in a way that led to the presence of a magical atmosphere combining friendship and inspiration for creativity in mathematics?

We have posed so many difficult questions and yet we are absolutely certain that the answers are all very positive. Indeed, the echoes from the participants are overwhelming: The Congress was one of the best ever. The lectures provided, to a large extent, a grand vision of today's mathematics and its prospect for tomorrow.

About 4,300 colleagues from 101 countries were present, among whom 2,700 are foreigners. Jointly, IMU and the Local Organizing Committee have supported the participation of about 450 foreign mathematicians from developing countries. A substantial part of the IMU support came from its Special Development Fund, to which the following institutions have contributed in the period 1998-2002: American Mathematical Society, Mathematical Society of Japan, London Mathematical Society, Brazilian National Research Council, Société Mathématique de France and Wiskundig Genootschap Netherlands. To them we express our best thanks. Therefore, it's time to look to the future with optimism and determination in the pursuit of our dreams, in search of beauty in mathematics and its use to well serve society.

It's time also to warmly thank the Local Organizing Committee for their wonderful job. I wish I could name all 300 volunteers engaged in the organization, but I have to content myself in citing only five: Pei Zhuan, Luo Yang, Bao Ying, Li Yingjie and Hong Weizhe. As a symbol of the fine administrative support, I want to mention Ms Guo Wei. Our highest appreciation goes to President Jiang Ze-min for honoring the Congress with his presence at the Opening Ceremony and for co-awarding the Fields Medals. Hopefully, such a gesture by the highest dignitary of the host country may become, from now on, a tradition in the ICMs. Also, to the Chinese Institutions for their remarkable support in so many ways. To the Program Committee, we offer our sincere gratitude for the superb work in their choice of speakers.

Now, I want to finalize my words by presenting the main results of the 14th General Assembly that took place in Shanghai and again remarkably well prepared.

The officers of the International Mathematical Union for 2003-2006 are as follows:



John M Ball

(United Kingdom)


Jean-Michel Bismut



Masaki Kashiwara



Phillip A. Griffiths


Members at Large:

Andrey A. Bolibruch



Martin Grötschel



Zhi-ming Ma



Ragni Piene



Madabusi S. Raghunathan



Jacob Palis (Past President)




Paulo Domingos Cordaro



C. Herbert Clemens


Members at Large:

Hajer Bahouri


Graciela L. Boente Boente


Shrikrishna G. Dani


Gérard González-Sprinberg


Fazal M. Mahomed

(South Africa)

Toshikazu Sunada


Jiping Zhang




Hyman Bass


Vice Presidents:

Jill Adler

(South Africa)

Michèle Artigue



Bernard R. Hodgson


Members at Large:

Carmen Batanero



Mary Elizabeth Falk de Losada



Nikolai Dolbilin



Peter Lawrence Galbraith



Petar Stoyanov Kenderov



Frederick K.S. Leung

(Hong Kong)


Members at Large:

Jeremy John Gray

(United Kingdom)

Wenlin Li


The Executive Committee also designated the following members for its Committee on Electronic Information and Communications: Pierre Berard (France), Jonathan Borwein-Chair (Canada), John Ewing (United States), Martin Gröetschel-EC representative (Germany), Alejandro Joffre (Chile), Peter Michor (Austria), David Morrison (United States), and Alf van der Poorten (Australia).

Various resolutions were voted at the General Assembly. Particularly, I would like to mention four of them:

Resolution 1

The General Assembly resolves that the next meeting of the General Assembly will be held at a time and place conveniently linked to the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid, Spain, in 2006.

Resolution 2

The General Assembly expresses its gratitude to the Organizing Committee of ICM 2002, chaired by Ma, Zhi-ming.

The General Assembly also expresses its gratitude to Li Ta-tsien for his hospitality reception and excellent arrangements at General Assembly meeting in Shanghai.

Resolution 4

The General Assembly gives especial thanks to Phillip Griffiths for his excellent work as Secretary to the IMU over the last four years assisted by Arlen Hastings and Linda Geraci. It also thanks the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) for its generous support of the IMU secretariat over this period.

Resolution 7

Notwithstanding these times of heightened tension and security concerns, we urge a continuation of scientific exchange and publication. The IMU opposes efforts either by governments, organizations, or individuals to restrict contacts and interactions in the world mathematical community. Specifically, we oppose holding individual mathematicians liable for the actions of their governments. The IMU endorses the principles expressed in the Article 5 of the Statutes of the International Council for Science - ICSU, as adopted at the 1998 General Assembly, that reads as follows: "In pursing its objections in respect of the rights and responsibilities of scientists, ICSU, as an international non-governmental body, shall observe and actively uphold the principle of the universality of science. This principle entails freedom of association and expression, access to data and information, and freedom of communication and movement in connection with international scientific activities, without any discrimination on the basis of such factors as citizenship, religion, creed, political stance, ethnic origin, race, colour, language, age or sex. ICSU shall recognize and respect independence of the internal science policies of its National Scientific Members. ICSU shall not permit any of its activities to be disturbed by statements or actions of a political nature".

All the resolutions will be published in the IMU Bulletin.

Thank you very much.

Speech by Ma Zhiming
Chairman of the Organizing Committee
of the ICM-2002
President of the Chinese Mathematical Society

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

You may remember the last words I spoke at the Opening Ceremony. I said:

"Let us join hands to lift the veil of a new epoch of Mathematics. I wish the Congress a great success, and wish you all pleasant stay in Beijing." At this moment I am very happy to say that what we expected has been achieved. As pointed out by the previous speakers at this Closing Ceremony, we have had a great success of the International Congress of Mathematicians 2002. We are grateful to all of you, our participants coming from all over the world, for your enthusiastic participation which constituted the main success of the Congress.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the institutions, organizations and individuals who have made efforts for the success of the Congress. Let me express once again, as I expressed at the Opening Ceremony, our gratitude towards the broad social and Governmental support, and towards the support from IMU and the mathematicians in the world, without their supports there would have been no success of the Congress. We are grateful to all our invited speakers. They have made really remarkable efforts to address a broad mathematical audience. Their lectures represented the latest advancement and frontier achievements in our science, and made our Congress really in a high academic level. The three public lectures, which attracted a large number of audience, made a great contribution to the popularization of mathematics and its applications. Also I would like to mention that the short communications and poster presentations arranged by the local scientific committee reflected the wide spread active mathematics in recent years, and contributed the success of the Congress.

I have a long list of Chinese organizations and colleagues whom we should appreciate for their great efforts toward the success of the Congress. Because of the time limitation I can not mention all their names here. But we will not forget their hard works and great contributions.

Let me conclude my speech by thanking you all again for your participation in the Congress and best wishes for the new development of mathematics in the world.

I declare the 24th International Congress of Mathematicians closed.

Abderrahman Boukricha
Speech on behalf of the grantees of the Special Development Funds

The President of the International Mathematical Union, The Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentleman:

On behalf of financial Grantees to the International Mathematical Congress ICM 2002, I would like to express our gratitude to the International Mathematical Union (IMU) for the Travel Support as well as The Local Organizing Committee for Local Expenses Support.

We have really enjoyed our stay in Beijing and we are particularly grateful for all the Exposure to the most recent development in various area of the Mathematical Sciences which reinforce the right way to the universal Language and the universal Knowledge.

We also happy about the pleasant atmosphere as well as the friendliness and hospitality of the Chinese People.

Being here has also afforded me the opportunity of informing members of the ICM congress about the forthcoming Pan African Congress of Mathematicians Scheduled to take place in Tunisia in September 2004.

Thank you very much.

Speech by John Ball
President Elected of IMU

Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues and Friends:

It is a great privilege to be elected as the next President of IMU and thus to have the opportunity , with the new Executive Committee, of helping to influence some of the important developments that will affect the mathematical community over the next few years.

It is a particular honour to succeed Jacob Palis, who for the last 12 years has held high office in IMU, for 8 years as Secretary and since 1999 as President. All those who know him will testify to the great energy, dedication and love for the community that he has brought to these posts.

This has been a memorable Congress, and we all recognize the very large number of people whose work has contributed to its outstanding success, those who served on the various international committees, the speakers for the many inspiring lectures, and above all the local organizers from Ma Zhiming through to the splendid student volunteers. However, I would like to reserve some special words for the President of the Congress Professor Chern Shiing Shen. Despite his great age he was instrumental in ensuring the strong backing of the Chinese government for the Congress, and in his speech at the Opening Ceremony, and at other occasions during the Congress, he demonstrated the wisdom, warmth and dignity which are his hallmark. Professor Chern had hoped to attend the Closing Ceremony, but could not do so. But I am sure that his colleagues will convey to him our appreciation, not only for his contributions to this Congress, but also for his remarkable influence on our subject. In addition to its traditional tasks, the new Executive Committee has much work to do. First there are important issues identified and developed through the work of the previous Executive Committee and IMU Committees, such as the project to retro-digitize the entire mathematics literature. Second, the General Assembly in Shanghai gave strong encouragement to the new Executive Committee to examine all the procedures and activities of the Union, and to report back to National Committees. And if I can mention one area to which I am personally committed, it is to see how IMU can better serve the needs of poorer and developing countries.

I can promise you that we will work hard, and with the help of mathematicians everywhere I hope that we will have some progress to report on when we meet again in Spain in 2006.

Thank you.

last updated: 2011-11-02