IChO International information center
At the beginning of the eighties years of the last century it was clear that the International Chemical Olympiad 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 of 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 the most convenient country was Czechoslovakia since the first IChO was organized in it and therefore, the other countries would not protest against such choice. Since the international center for the International Biology Olympiad was established in Prague some years ago, it was proposed to establish the IChO secretariat in Bratislava and some financial support was expected from the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic.
2. Secretariat of the IChO
From the very beginning there were two conceptions for establishing of a secretariat of IChO as well as for its role and functions in organization of the IChO. The professional and informative function of the secretariat was emphasized in one of the conceptions while the other one preferred also the political mission of the center that would be in favor of the hegemony of the socialist countries in the IChO. Finally the second conception was preferred and P. Petrovič from Bratislava was appointed in 1982 by the Ministry of Education to be the IChO secretary. 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 favorable for its activities 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 of 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 it was no wonder that the international jury (24th IChO, USA, 1992) proposed to create instead of it an 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 mentors came with a new idea and gave a proposal for creating of an information and archive center which was still missing in the organizational structure of IChO. The delegations that 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 Slovak project for establishing of the International Information Center in the competition with projects of further three countries (Czech Republic, Poland and Australia). The international jury took into consideration also 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). The Ministry of Education and Science of the Slovak Republic took into consideration in particular 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. Moreover, 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 presented in Oslo (1994) gives a picture about the mutual dependence of the particular organizational bodies of the 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:
- all versions of the IChO regulations,
- competition problems of the past IChOs,
- preparatory problems of the past IChOs,
- list of participants,
- names of winners,
- important documents (minutes, reports, publications and important letters) from the IChO competitions as well as international meetings concerning the IChO, such as seminars and workshops (minutes, reports, publications and important letters).
4.2 Information role of the IChO International Information Center
The IChO International Information Center (IChO IIC) gives information from its data bases on the request of those who are interested in the activities of the International Chemistry Olympiads.
The activities of the IChO IIC are published in a proper way.
Compiled and edited by A. Sirota (IChO Intern. Information Centre)