Too many participating countries, too many participants, too many mentors, too many problems with preparing of the tasks for the competition, too many problems with laboratories for the practical part of the competition, too many problems with discussions in the business sessions of the jury – that was the picture of the problems boiling in the “IChO cattle” during the eighties years of the last century. There were some attempts to solve the problem via a secretariat of the IChO but without any success. The secretariat established in 1982 did not fulfil the expected tasks since the secretary as well all his helpers were from Czechoslovakia and, therefore, the secretariat was not accepted by the IChO “family”. That was the reason why international working groups were created from about 10 elected people from different countries and they had their workshops every two years.
The story about the secretariat finished as it could be expected. It stopped its activities and a new body of the IChO, so called Steering Committee, was established in 1992. The first chairman was Mr. Reed from the UK. The members were representatives from different parts of the world and were elected by the International Jury for two years period.
The exact imagination about the activities and functions of the Steering Committee one can gain from the Regulations, paragraph 8:
(1) The long term work involved in organizing the International Chemistry Olympiads is coordinated by the Steering Committee.
(2) Members of the Committee are elected by the International Jury by a secret ballot to serve a two year term. There must be at least one person from each of the following regions: the Americas, Asia and Europe. Other three members can come from any region. The term of the elected committee begins on the 1st day after the IChO. Members are elected for no more than two consecutive terms.
(3) There are the following ex-officio members of the Steering Committee:
- one representative of the current IChO,
- one representative of the immediately preceding IChO,
- the representatives of the subsequent IChOs approved by the International Jury,
- the immediate past chair of the SC (for one year only)
(4) The incoming Steering Committee elects its own Chair from among its elected members at a meeting held before the committee’s term begins.
- calls and chairs the meetings of the Steering Committee,
- calls and chairs the meetings of the International,
- may invite non-voting guests to the meetings of the Steering Committee after consultation with the host of the meeting,
- has the right to call extraordinary meetings of the International Jury when necessary.
(5) The Steering Committee:
- provides organizational oversight for the International Chemistry Olympiad and gives recommendations to the organizers,
- proposes items for consideration at the International Jury sessions.
- may co-opt 1–3 non-voting members for their particular expertise for periods of one year.
- may invite representatives of confirmed future IChOs.
(6) The Steering Committee is not empowered to make any decisions affecting the International Chemistry Olympiad that would interfere with the duties and responsibilities of the International Jury (see § 6 and 7).
Compiled and edited by A. Sirota (IChO Intern. Information Centre)