International Congress of Mathematicians
August 13 - 21, 2014
Coex , Seoul , Korea
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IMU GA 2014
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 Welcome Message
FROM THE PRESIDENT                   
Ingrid Daubechies, President
Martin Grötschel, Secretary
January 20, 2014
Dear Delegates, Representatives, Observers and other Participants:
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all to the General Assembly of the International Mathematical Union (IMU).
Once more, 4 years have gone by since the last General Assembly (GA). As always, a lot of effort has gone into the preparation of the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM), which will start in Seoul after the General Assembly finishes. At the General Assembly, we will hear about the work done by the Program and the Local Organizing Committees; I am happy to have this opportunity to express my personal gratitude to Carlos Kenig and Hyungju Park, the respective Chairs, and to all the members of the committees, for all their hard work on behalf of the IMU.
Every ICM is a memorable event for all its participants (and I am sure ICM 2014 will not be an exception), celebrating the achievements of mathematicians worldwide, in many different fields. It has been a joy for me, in these past 4 years as IMU President, to learn about and witness the many ways in which mathematics and mathematicians can and do blossom in the world - the creativity and enthusiasm that so many of you and the communities you represent bring to mathematical research and instruction, networking with others, reaching out to and bringing in new young people, fostering the growth of new mathematical communities, building links within mathematics and of mathematics with other scientic fields and with society. It has made me proud to be one of you - it also has often made me feel I could not possibly begin to do justice to representing all of you.
ICM 2014 is special in the absolutely unique NANUM initiative: the Local Organizing Committee set itself the herculean task to raise money to invite 1,000 (one THOUSAND!) mathematicians from developing countries to ICM - and delivered! It required heroic feats in fund-raising, in spreading the word, in identifying mathematical talent in so many countries, and it is wonderful that it worked, and that ICM is welcoming these recipients of NANUM fellowships. NANUM was made possible through the generosity of South Korea, a generosity that was not only financial but also expressed itself through the enthusiasm with which a "spirit of sharing, of togetherness" was widely embraced. Again, I am very pleased to have the privilege, representing all of you, to express my gratitude for this generosity to the Korean mathematical community, to the Korean people and to institutional and personal friends of mathematics in Korea and elsewhere.
The concern shown by the Korean ICM organizers, and by their backers and supporters, to express their solidarity with emerging nations, and to help the growth of mathematical research and instruction in developing nations, is one that dovetails well with the increasingly important role that the IMU attaches, as a whole, to this issue. The past few decades have seen a constant growth of the efforts of the IMU to help mathematical communities in developing nations. Following the motion approved at the GA in Hyderabad, asking the EC to explore ways of making possible sources of funding aware more widely of the many initiatives fostered by IMU, we went ahead! The IMU Commission for Developing Countries (CDC) is organizing, immediately following this GA, a 1.5 day conference titled Mathematics in Emerging Nations: Achievements and Opportunities (MENAO), at which major players and funding organizations who have contributed to IMU initiatives before, or who are interested in the type of initiative that the IMU is fostering, will learn about what their funding has made possible, and the tremendous impact it has had - and how much more can be possible in the future. You will hear more about this during the GA, and I hope you will wish us luck in wooing the attendees of MENAO.
The International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) also has many wonderful achievements and events to report to you. The IMU EC is very pleased that its contacts with the ICMI EC are working smoothly, and that ICMI has many points of contact with other committees of the IMU, such as the CDC and the Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC).
The past 4 years have also seen, as decided at the Hyderabad GA, the establishment of the Permanent Secretariat in Berlin, which is now functioning smoothly, and is providing support for the new initiatives (such as MENAO) and the different standing committees. I know you will be interested in hearing how that is working out.
These are but a few of the matters on which the EC will report to you; there are many others, as well as issues brought to the floor by you, as delegates of our Adhering Members. For now, and until we meet in person at the start of the GA in beautiful Gyeongju, I bid you a warm welcome to this website and to the preparation for our Assembly.
With best wishes,
Ingrid Daubechies, President of the IMU
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