On behalf of the Executive Committee of IMU, welcome to the General Assembly of IMU - welcome to all of you, in particular to all new members, elected to IMU since the previous General Assembly of Kobe, four years ago, namely Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
On account of the very important geopolitical changes in the European landscape, many countries, which were already members of the Union, have been re-admitted under their new identity after your approval by postal ballot. Such is the case of Russia, Georgia, the Czech and the Slovak Republics, Croatia and for Slovenia. The candidacy of other countries will be submitted to your approval during this Assembly. Welcome to all of you.
We are happy to greet the several observers who are A. Marzollo, Director for Mathematics at UNESCO, de Guzman, Chairman of ICMI, Santiago Sologuren, Bolivia, U.M. Sultangazin, Kazakhstan.
The General Assembly of IMU is an important event. The Executive Committee has paid the greatest attention to all resolutions passed in Kobe and to all the wishes expressed in this previous 11th General Assembly in Kobe.
We have also followed Resolution 2 concerning the Turn of the Century Committee. Let me remind you its content: "whereas the IMU wishes to mark the turn of the century in a manner appropriate to the standard set by David Hilbert in 1900, the General Assembly directs the Executive Committee to set up a committee to report to the adhering bodies by September 1991, how to accomplish this so that in 1994 the Assembly can discuss it and decide how to proceed".
A Committee has been formed, Turn of the Century Committee, chaired by our Secretary General, Jacob Palis. He will report to you today on the work accomplished and on the proposals that are presented to you.
We, at the Executive Committee, have also, in all its actions, carefully listened to the wishes strongly expressed in Kobe, namely to have a good equilibrium betwwen all branches of mathematicians, including those developing in connection with other fields.
The importance of the American proposal, unanimously endorsed by the General Assembly of Kobe, concerning the Turn of the Century, and this strong wish for developing mathematics both internally and in connection with other disciplines, has led us to propose, with UNESCO and the Third World Academy of Sciences sponsorship the year 2,000 as the World Mathematical Year - in short WMY 2000.
We will further discuss the work made in this respect, in cooperation with our two main commissions CDE and ICMI, when Jacob Palis presents his report on the Turn of the Century Committee. We convey our thanks to UNESCO, represented here by our colleague, Angelo Marzollo. Our thanks also to the CDE and ICMI commissions, some of their members being here with us in Lucern.
WMY 2000 has already been reported to ICSU. Our position at ICSU will certainly be reinforced by the election at its General Assembly in Chile, at the end of last year, of Professor Jacob Palis to the Executive Board of ICSU. I am sure to express the general opinion of this Assembly when extending my congratulations to Jacob Palis.
During this four-years period, IMU has supported a number of meetings. They are reported in the Special Number of the Bulletin of this year.
We have made very special efforts for having as many as possible young research mathematicians from countries facing very difficult economic situations - in these times of crisis, to attend ICM 94. Thanks to the generous donations of many mathematical societies, scientific institutions and agencies, to the Special Development Fund of IMU, our Travel Grants Committee has been able to help this time up to about 80 young mathematicians from the Third World, making an effort doubled since the last ICM in Kyoto. Let me heartily thank all donors for such an important help: the complete list of them appear in the special issue of the IMU Bulletin.
Let me emphasize all these points. We have increased as much as possible the scientific activities, keeping to its minimum the administrative part. We have to proceed further. In particular, the CDE , financed by IMU itself and in conjunction with ICSU/UNESCO, has spent about three times more than before. Also, the number of young people from developing countries attending the ICM has doubled. It is very important to continue our action towards supporting good level mathematical activities in developing countries.
Since 1971, the E.C. of IMU has been inviting, from time to time, a distinguished and active mathematician of high international standing, to give a set of four to six lectures on important new developments in mathematics to which the lecturer, directly or indirectly, has made a contribution. These lectures are published in "LÉnseignement Mathématique". None of these lectures have been delivered in this period but these IMU lectures will start again in 1995. The EC is hopeful that more institutions around the world apply for the IMU lectures, especially from institutions from a developing country; in that case, the travel expenses are taken care of by IMU.
You all know that one of the tasks of the E.C. in connection with the Organizing Committee is to nominate the chairman of the Program Committee and its members. Once this is done, the E.C. has no interference whatsoever with the Program Committee. The composition of the Program Committee is kept confidential, up to the first day of the General Assembly.
For ICM 94 the Chairman of the Program Committee is Professor Louis Nirenberg. The members are: S.K.Donaldson, P. de la Harpe, R. Karp, H.Kraft, A.Majda, M.Raynaud, M.Sato and Y.Sinai.
The Awards of the Union - Fields Medal and Rolf Nevanlinna Prizes - will be presented at the Opening Ceremony of the ICM. The EC has nominated the Committees to select the winners. For the Fields Medals, the chairman is Prof. D. Mumford and the members are L.Caffarelli, M. Kashiwara, B. Mazur, A. Schrijver, D. Sullivan, J.Tits, S. Varadhan, and for the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize, H.W. Lenstra Jr., J.V. Matiyasevic, R.E. Tarjan, M. Yamaguti, and myself as Chairman. Professor David Mumford will not be, in any case, the Chairman of the next Fields Medal Committee.
Those of you who have already participated in the General Assembly, and those of you who have been engaged in some of the activities of IMU, you know that the strengh of our Union is greatly increased by the general friendly atmosphere in which we are working.
I am sure that such will be again the case in the present meeting.
The quality of the reception from our Swiss colleagues and friends, the splendid organization which has been set up, the beauty of the city, will certainly contribute to the relaxed, friendly and efficient Assembly that I now declare open.