Report of WFNMC

The World Federation of
National Mathematical Competitions

WFNMC Activities 1992-1996

The World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions was created at the 1984 ICME (5) meetings in Adelaide. While others assisted in the formation, it was the vision and leadership of Professor Peter O'Halloran of Canberra, Australia, that led directly to the Federation's being. Professor O'Halloran led the Federation until 1994 when, aware that he was experiencing health problems, he turned the leadership over to Professor Blagovest Sendov of Sofia, Bulgaria. For Professor Sendov, who expressed a strong interest in leading the Federation, the restructuring of the Bulgarian government has caused significant problems, for he has been actively involved in the government. He has recently, and with regret, decided that he cannot make the commitment he feels is necessary and has relinquished his post. At the request of members of the Executive, Professor Ronald Dunkley, of Waterloo, Canada, has agreed to be Acting President until elections can be held during the Seville meetings.

The Journal of the Federation continues to produce excellent articles. The WFNMC publishes twice a year (June and December) the Journal "Mathematics Competitions". The journal consists of approximately 120 pages and has attracted articles by authors from 45 countries since 1988. Articles are related to mathematical enrichment activities and contests in all types of situations and school age groups from elementary to upper secondary, from in-school activities to local, regional, national and international competitions. A major role of the journal has been the sharing of ideas by mathematicians and teachers from many countries and there has been positive feedback for its provision of resources and contacts for people in developing countries. The journal has a distribution of about 700, and in keeping with the 'solidarity' guidelines of ICMI, a significant proportion of these are provided without charge to members who are in less well off situations. In order to do this, the WFNMC receives significant support from the Australian Mathematics Competition and the Australian Mathematical Olympiad activities, and also from the Canadian Mathematics Competition.

The Federation continues its established pattern of sessions during ICME meetings and during the second year of the interval between ICME meetings. The 1994 meeting was held at Pravetz, Bulgaria, hosted by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The conference was attended by almost one hundred members from around the world, and honoured Professor Peter O'Halloran, founder and President of the Federation from its creation. Sessions featured presentations on the creation of mathematics problems suitable for students at all levels and, lively discussion on appropriate competitions and challenges to set before young people. It was proposed that the 1998 meetings be held in China.

The Federation continues its policy of recognizing persons who have made significant contribution to the inspiring of young people through mathematical challenges. The Seville meeting will see four persons recognized, as follows:

1. The David Hilbert International Award will be present to Professor Andy Liu, Edmonton, Canada. The award honours David Hilbert, long recognized as a problems poser extraordinaire, famous for his twenty-three challenges at the Second International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris in 1900. Professor Liu has achieved international renown as a creator of problems for young mathematicians. He has been a consultant in competition creation in Canada, Australia, the United States, Hong Kong, and numerous other countries. He is presently Vice-President and main solutions provider for the International Mathematics Tournament of the Towns.

2. The Paul Erdoes Award will be presented to three persons: Professor George Berzenyi, of Terre Haute, USA, Professor Tony Gardiner, of Birmingham, UK, and Professor Derek Holton, of Dunedin, New Zealand.

Professor Berzenyi is known for his work with school publications Arbelos, Horizons, and Quantum. He has chaired the American Invitational Math Exam and the Southwest region of the American Regions Math League.

Professor Gardiner is the author of numerous articles and publications for school children. He has been responsible for some of the best material available in this area. He is the founder of the UK Schools Mathematical Challenge, which has grown from 1 600 participants in 1988 to 120 000 in 1996. He is also leader of the British Mathematical Olympiad program.

Professor Holton has spearheaded the creation of a coordinated national program in New Zealand. He is the author of an internationally acclaimed set of problem materials, recently published in book form. He is recognized as an inspiring teacher of young people and as a person always willing to give of his time to work with teachers or students.

The sessions at Seville will include discussions on the composition of competitions, emphasizing the Federation's belief that while competitions are a means in the identification of gifted students they also serve the extremely important goal of acting as a stimulant in encouraging students to pursue studies in mathematics. The Federation will continue to seek ways of helping countries seeking to develop competitions structures to achieve this goal. The federation also hopes during these meetings to pursue a clarification of its structure and its goals.

R.G. Dunkley, Acting President
University of Waterloo, Canada