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ICMI News July 2019

ICMI Newsletter July 2019

Abraham Arcavi (ICMI Secretary General)
Merrilyn Goos (ICMI Vice President)
Lena Koch (ICMI Administrative Manager)


Graphic Design:
Ramona Fischer



1.    Editorial - Carlos Kenig, President of the International Mathematical Union

2.    From the desk of Jill Adler, President of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI).

3.    ICMI Statement on Evaluation of Scholarly Work in Mathematics Education and a call for comments, by Merrilyn Goos, ICMI Vice President

4.    ICME15

5.    Once upon a time… Historical vignettes from the ICMI Archives: Episodes from the Freudenthal era – Bernard Hodgson, Curator of the ICMI Archives (former ICMI SG)

6.    Survey of the Education Committee of the European Mathematical Society (EMS)

7.    Upcoming events

1. Editorial - Carlos Kenig, President of the International Mathematical Union

My term as President of the IMU started in January 2019. The ensuing months have been very intense, setting up the structures for the current four-year IMU cycle, and a major learning experience for me.

The first meeting of the new Executive Committee (EC) of the IMU took place last March, at the IMU Secretariat in Berlin, and many important decisions were taken at this meeting. Since with the exception of the past President and the Secretary General (who is in his second term), all remaining members of the EC had no previous EC experience, all of us had to learn the job of being an EC member as well as how to work together. I am very happy to report that this turned out very well.

Right before the EC meeting I participated in the yearly meeting (also held in Berlin) of the IMU’s Commission for Developing Countries (CDC). This was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the important work of the CDC and its partners. The CDC is charged with managing the programs of the IMU in the developing world. The CDC and its partners have, with very limited resources, a disproportionately high impact. One of the projects discussed at this meeting, which I hadn’t previously known about, was the Capacity and Networking Project (CANP), which is run jointly by the CDC and ICMI. The aim of CANP is to enhance the mathematical education in developing countries, at all levels, by developing the educational capacity of those who educate mathematics teachers (from all levels of instruction). This is very important, and with a large potential pay-off, since each teacher reaches many students, thus widely propagating the acquired knowledge.

Last May I participated in the annual meeting of the Executive Committee of ICMI (of which I am an ex-officio member), in Montevideo. This was another great learning opportunity for me. At this meeting I was able to learn in detail about the preparations for ICME 14 (that I look forward to attending), which are very advanced, and about the many impressive activities of ICMI, dealing with both theoretical research in mathematics education and with the practice of mathematics education, at all levels. I also learned more about the CANP project that I mentioned earlier and about its successes and its challenges. I continue to be impressed with this project.

One thing that struck me during my visit to Uruguay and after the ICMI EC meeting is the gulf that seems to exist, in many countries and in many institutions around the world, between mathematicians and mathematics educators. This seems to me to be very artificial, and very damaging to both communities, since research and education cannot and should not be separated. I hope that the close continuing collaboration between IMU and ICMI will be a vehicle for improving this regrettable situation. I very much look forward to this continuing collaboration.

Carlos E. Kenig,
University of Chicago, USA

2. From the desk of Jill Adler, President of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI)

The past few months have been very busy for the ICMI Executive Committee (EC), office-bearers and members. Jill, Abraham and Jean-Luc completed the ICME15 site visits. From these we prepared a report for the EC meeting in May, where the decision on the site of ICME15 was to take place. Thank you to both our Australian and Czech mathematics education colleagues and the wide range of their collaborators in Sydney and Prague for their excellent bids. The EC’s decision process was not easy given the high quality of both bids. It gives me great pleasure in this introduction to share the decision ICME15 will be held in Sydney, Australia. We are confident we have made a good decision and can look forward to the introduction to ICME15 in the closing ceremony in Shanghai next year.

As reported in the previous newsletter, Jill and Abraham (as ex-officio members) participated in the first IPC meeting of our newly launched ICMI Study 25: Teachers of Mathematics Working and Learning in Collaborative Groups. The meeting was in February 2019, in Berlin, and the study Discussion Document and Call for Papers was disseminated soon thereafter. It can be found at The deadline for submission of papers to the Study Conference is July 19, 2019 and thus very soon. We are looking forward to your contributions to this study, and to having an excellent working conference in Lisbon, Portugal in early February 2020, and the study volume that will be its final product.

At the end of March, Jill and Abraham travelled to Shanghai to join colleagues from across the world for our second IPC meeting for ICME14.