IChO International information center
The first International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) was organized in the year 1968. Only the countries of the Soviet block (so called socialist countries) took part in them till the year 1974. Then, however, the politic situation in Europe has changed due to the agreement that concluded the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The act was intended to revive the sagging spirit of detente between the Soviet Union and the United States and its allies.
A new political situation in the world opened the door to IChO to all western countries. In the year 1974 only 9 countries took part in the competiton while 20 years later already 41 countries participated in the IChO and presently not less than 76 countries are involved in this perfect chemical „exhibition“.
At the beginning o the eighties years of the last century it was clear that the IChO has found its way to the whole Europe. On the other hand, however, new problems could be expected and it was desirable to create any center which would control and coordinate the activities in the framework o the IChO. Since the IChO started and developed in the socialist countries and the number of them was limited, it was no wonder that there was a clear effort from the side of the socialist states to preserve their hegemony in the IChO movement. It was decided on a ministry level that it would be desirable to establish any IChO secretariat in a socialist country. It was proposed that most convenient country is Czechoslovakia since the first IChO was organized in it and therefore, the other countries would not protest. Since the international center for International Biology Olympiad was established in Prague some years ago, it was proposed to establish the IChO secretariat in Bratislava with the financial support of the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic.
2 Secretariat of IChO
From the very beginning there were two conceptions for establishing of a secretariat of IChO and its function. In one of the conceptions the professional and informative function of the secretariat was emphasized while the other one preferred also the political mission of the center that would be in favor of the idea of the hegemony of the socialist countries in the IChO. Finally the second conception was preferred in 1982. P. Petrovič from Bratislava was appointed by the Ministry of Education to be the IChO secretary and moreover, some other people (three from Prague and three from Bratislava) were the members of the secretariat. Nobody was from abroad.
The starting position of the secretariat was not very good since the members of the International Jury had the feeling that they were forced to accept its establishment without having the possibility to discuss the appointment of the secretary. The secretary was an unknown person for the members of the International Jury and had no international prestige in this field of activities. The established secretariat IChO had a national character but it was expected to solve the international problems. That is why the secretariat could not be fully accepted on the international level.
3. The International Information Centre of International Chemistry Olympiads
and its establishment
Since the existence of any IChO secretariat lost its justification in the form as it was created the international jury of the 24th IChO (USA, 1992) gave proposal to create any international steering committee of the IChO. This committee, however, was not an institution with a firm seat and its composition could be changed by election in the IChO International Jury after every two years. Since the Steering Committee was established in order to steer the global activities in the IChO, it was difficult to localize it in any firm address since it could happen that the address could change every two years.
The Slovak republic participated in the 25th IChO as an independent state for the first time. Since the mentors of the Slovak delegation were engaged into creating a secretariat of IChO of the first type ten years ago and, moreover, the steering committee was already working, the Slovak mentors came with a new idea and gave proposal for creating of an information and archive center which was still missing in the organizational structure of IChO. All delegations participated in the 25th IChO in Italy were asked to prepare a project for the establishing of an IChO International Information Center. It was supposed that the presentations of the projects should be realized during the next 26th IChO in Oslo.
Next year the Slovak delegation defended the winning Slovak project in the competition of further three countries (Czech Republic, Poland and Australia). Taking into consideration the letter of the minister of Education and Science of the Slovak Republic in which the minister offered a full support to the project of the IChO International Information Center (IChO IIC) in Bratislava (Slovakia) and the director o the center. The Ministry of Education and Science of the Slovak Republic took into consideration the decision of the International Jury in Oslo (26th IChO) and appointed Dr. Anton Sirota, PhD. as the director of the IChO International Information Center. The establishing of the center was confirmed by the jury in a special paragraph (§ 9) in the IChO regulations. The IChO International information Center started its activities in November 1994. Some more details can be find on the website www.icho.sk.
The following scheme gives a picture about the mutual dependence of the particular organizational bodies of the IChO.
ORGANIZATIONAL SCHEME OF IChO
4 The basic tasks of the IChO International Information Center
4.1 Archive activity of the IChO International Information Center
One of the most important tasks of the Center is the archiving of all important materials concerning the IChO. It is expected to create a data base of:
a) all versions of the IChO regulations,
b) competition problems,
c) preparatory problems,
d) list of participants,
e) the names of winners,
g) important documents from the IChO competitions as well international meetings (minutes, reports, publications and important letters)
h) reports on IChO organized in the particular countries.
4.2 Information tasks of IChO International Information Center
The IChO International Information Center (IChO IIC) gives information from its data bases on the request to those who are interested in the activities of the International Chemistry Olympiads.
The activities of the IChO IIC are published in a proper way.