Dear IGS Colleagues,
I am truly humbled, delighted and privileged to assume the role of President of the IGS for the next four years (2018-2022). It is my greatest honor to have earned your support. I would be remiss without acknowledging all the great work done by my two predecessors, Prof. Jorge Zornberg and Dr. Russell Jones. I am inspired by their leadership, commitments and outstanding contributions to the IGS during their presidency that have propelled our society to the current state. I look forward to building on the previous work done by the past presidents.
I hold a special place for the IGS in my profession career. My involvement in the IGS goes back to the year 1997, almost 20 years ago, as an individual member. I got more deeply involved in the IGS by hosting the 3rd Asian Regional Conference (GeoAsia 2004) in Seoul 2004 as Secretary General, and serving as a Council member and Vice-President, since 2010 and 2014, respectively. Now, here I am, the IGS President. Throughout my involvement with the IGS, I have been fortunate to meet many of you in person. Thus, earning your trust today means not only professional but also personal responsibility.
In this endeavor, I am joined by outstanding fellow Officers – Nathalie Touze (Vice President), Edoardo Zannoni (Secretary), Ian Fraser (Treasurer), and Russell Jones (Past President) – as well as the Council members who represent the major regions of the world, i.e., Asia, Europe, Africa-Middle East, and Pan-America. With their continued support and that of the IGS Secretariat Manger, Terry Paulo, I am confident that we will be steadfast in addressing the pressing challenges in the next four years.
During the past 35 years since its establishment in 1983, the IGS has enjoyed great success with a long list of achievements, thanks to the concerted efforts by the previous leaderships, its chapters, individual and corporate members. The IGS has created strong outreach and education programs such as Ambassadors and Educate the Educators (EtE) programs. Four IGS Technical Committees (TCs) were established in the past years and successfully hosted a number of TC specialty workshops. Through these dedicated efforts, the IGS has successfully redefined its shape and capacity as a globally leading society in the fields of geosynthetics and beyond.
These efforts are now starting to pay off in many ways. The great success of 11ICG, held in Seoul last September, is one good example, where 1239 experts from 66 countries participated technical programs and 109 global exhibitors from 23 countries showcased full spectrum of innovated geosynthetics products and related technologies. Not only the conference was the largest ICG ever in the 42 years of ICG history but also it provided a new leap forward for us in opening next chapter of geosynthetics technology through high-quality technical programs. The host chapter of 11ICG, IGS Korea, deserves to be proud of their achievement.
As the new IGS President, it is my responsibility to take full advantage of the wealth of achievements and to lead this great society to the next level. Just because the IGS is doing well doesn’t mean that we cannot do even better. It is critical for the IGS to remain forward-thinking and innovative. My aim is, therefore, to focus on the future in order to move forward while continuing to carry on the current agenda that have been planned. The following goals will drive our efforts:
Enhance activities of Technical Committees.
TCs are backbone of scientific and engineering societies. TCs activities can be enhanced by producing technical documents that can benefit the members, such as best practice application guides and success stories.
Interaction with the industry and overlapping groups working in areas related to TCs specialty areas will be increased in order to close the gap between the research and practice. Knowledge sharing and dissemination of technical information within the TCs subject area and to the IGS members will be enhanced.
Improve education and knowledge sharing through up-to-date communication tools.
The IGS has been diligent in education. The education and knowledge sharing can be more effectively done by adopting up-to-date communication tools. These efforts will include: 1) transforming the current IGS Newsletter to a webzine-style e-Newsletter which will be delivered to the members more frequently; 2) creating an IGS App for better communication with the members; 3) creating the IGS e-Library and e-Lecture Series where all IGS Regional and Int’l Conference proceedings, lecture materials are open accessed to the members and public; 4) developing digital media partnerships to outreach public, owners and regulators to increase awareness of geosynthetics.
Enhance awareness of geosynthetics.
11ICG proved that geosynthetics are fundamental to sustainable development and can provide solutions to the global challenges such as disaster mitigation and response, climate change, environmental threats from human society and much more. Awareness of geosynthetics can be enhanced by liaising with international societies “outside the box” involved in sustainability such as UNISDR, UN Habitat, and ISOCARP. As part of these efforts, the IGS will intensify efforts to produce and disseminate promotional materials on success stories of the use of geosynthetics in perspectives of sustainability, public dispute, environmental issues, etc.
Get connected with members.
As a volunteer-based society, it is vital for the IGS to get connected with members in order to better support the members. In this way, the IGS can broaden individual and corporate membership through outreaching to various relevant sectors including industries that could benefit from the IGS membership. Continued supports will be provided to our highly successful IGS Ambassadors and EtE programs, and also to TCs activities, as means of getting connected with the members.
Get young members involved.
Young members are the future of the IGS. One of my top priorities will be expanding young membership to incorporate young minds for leadership development in the IGS. More opportunities will be given to young members to share knowledge and ideas, to connect with leaders in the field, and to have better education and training. As a way of having more young members engaged in technical activities, a half-day or full-day “IGS-Young Geosynthetics Engineering Conference (IGS-YGEC)” will be implemented to the IGS Regional and International Conferences.
The listed goals are not easy to achieve and cannot be done by just myself. We can only achieve these goals through concerted efforts by each and every member of the IGS, including the leadership, Council members, and Individual and Corporate members. I am confident that these efforts will lead this society to a higher level. My focus will be to continue the efforts of bringing all the members together, while integrating the each and every member’s voice to lead this society in harmony.
I thank you once again for giving me an opportunity to serve you and I will do my utmost to represent you to the best of my abilities.
Chungsik Yoo, Ph.D.
President – International Geosynthetics Society