Attila Pavlaths Address to the ACS Council at Anaheim, March 24 ,
and to the Regional Councilor Caucuses
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Council,
During my fifty-three consecutive Council meetings since 1973, I was not known to be silent on issues. I wrote at least three times as many ACS Comments as any other unpaid contributor to C&E News, and these were also on issues. Since you elected me to the Board 8 years ago, I regularly reported to you, as I promised, on my activities, views and pertinent facts. You have my statement and now let me add to this, before you make a decision on my suitability for the Presidency.
The President who will be elected this Fall will lead the Society into the next century, the next millennium under difficult conditions. Funds for research are tight, our younger generation is increasingly reluctant to select chemistry as their profession, and many of our middle-aged members are experiencing employment difficulties, just to name a few problems. How can the President help? The President has only one vote on the Board and in the Council.What can the President do? The most important contributions the President can make are: to provide leadership, to initiate actions and to induce cooperation. The President must have the vision to utilize the Societys assets to the fullest extent for the benefit of our profession and its practitioners while assuring them that the Society considers THEM as our most important assets even if we can not meet their every expectation.
Can I do this? During the past 30 years, I have lead and followed as needed. I chaired a number of Council and Board Committees, Task Forces and Society Units mediating between differing views. However, while experience is helpful and desirable, it is not always the most important factor. After all, we have had some Presidents who came in, so to speak from the cold, and they did an excellent job. The President must have an unbreakable determination to proceed with the needed actions and not to be discouraged by the difficulties. Discouraged by the difficulties? Let me tell you something about discouragement Thirty years ago, I became involved in ACS activities assuring my wife that it will take only two years to solve the problems. She is loyally standing by me for forty-eight years, but sometimes she questions whether I meant two Earthly years or Saturnian years. I never gave up. I HAVE ALWAYS MAINTAINED THAT NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE IF WE COLLECTIVELY SET OUR MIND TO IT. You know that English is not my native tongue, I have a limited vocabulary. The word quitting and its synonyms are not in it, I never learned them.
For 30 years, I worked to make the Society a better place equally for everyone from the youngest B.S. chemist to the most respected Nobel Laureate. Why? What is in it for me, to ask the contemporary cynical question? Obviously it is not the high salary that Divisional and Local Section Officers, Councilors and Board members receive. But then what?
Ladies and Gentlemen, I plead guilty to an old-fashioned idealism. When we get to the end of our life, regardless of how strong belief, idea, theory or hypothesis of any kind we have about the next phase, the details are still covered by a question mark. My life philosophy was, is and always will be that if at that time I can state that I have made the world a better place, then the the question mark is immaterial.
If you think that my background, my experience, my understanding of the problems and most importantly my unshakable determination to improve our Society together with your help are sufficient qualifications to meet the awesome responsibility of the Presidency in these difficult times, I would be deeply honored by your confidence in selecting me as one of your two choices. Thank you!
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Ladies and Gentlemen, (To the Caucuses)
Thirty years ago I was at a crossroad after 11 years of passive ACS membership. The question was, with apologies to Shakespeare: to resign my membership or to face up to the slings and arrows of the problems facing us and resolve them. As a foreignborn my English was limited, I NEVER LEARNED THE WORD QUIT, therefore I had only one choice. Although, we made great progress, nevertheless I could use up my time just to list the many unresolved problems. Let me concentrate on the one point which I consider the most important factor in our effort to improve our Society.
We hear frequently the word: globalization stating that it is unavoidable in chemistry. In my statement I used the word: HARMONIZATION. It is a must, it is unavoidable! We have to harmonize the various segments of our Society to find solutions to the problems. Any solution which is reached without this, is only a temporary stopgap and the problem will come back to hunt us with greater impact.
If I were elected as President, one of the most important contributions I would like to make is to bring us together to find the solutions in a rational way. To initiate, continue and strengthen interaction with and between Academe, Industry and government. To harmonize Divisional and Local Section interactions for the benefit of our members. Last but not least to assure that the Board will work together with the Council.
In the last 12 months, the Board twice went against the Council's wishes. I was in the minority voting against the Board decisions in both cases, but let's not debate the past, because as Churchill said in doing so we will loose the future.
As President I would make sure that any councilor who wants to take a geater part in the activities of the Society , that is more than 3 hours twice a year at the Council meeting, would have that opportunity. I promise you, and I always keep my promise, that if Council now and the members in the Fall will trust me with the responsibilities of the Presidency, every action I make will be based on the principle which was laid down two years ago in Judy Giordan's Presidential theme: WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. I hope every President of the 21st century will follow this road. Otherwise, will make the 21st century will be very troublesome for our profession.
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