The International Commission on Glass: Global Cooperation in the World of Glass – An update by Professor Alicia Durán (ICG President)
The ICG (International Commission on Glass) is a non-profit international Society of national scientific and technical organisations with particular interests in glass science and technology. It was founded in 1933 and has grown to become the recognised International organisation in the field of glass. In all, 34 countries are currently represented by member organisations, bringing together the world’s most respected universities, scientific institutions, companies within the glass industry and allied organisations.
The aim of ICG is to promote and stimulate understanding and cooperation between glass experts in the fields of science and technology, as well as art, history and education. These objectives are achieved by organising Technical Committee work (e.g. laboratory round robins, comparative studies, topical meetings), curating information on glass (e.g. publishing scientific and technical papers, reports and books) and by sharing and disseminating knowledge on glass in advanced educational courses and workshops. A further major role is to organise international meetings. Every three years, the ICG holds an International Congress on Glass, while Annual Conferences take place during the intervening period (often in conjunction with national society meetings).
Founded in 1933, the ICG has now operated successfully for over eight decades, and during this period it has welcomed many new member organisations. Numerous well-known glass scientists and technologists are involved in its organisation, supported by a committed and experienced administration team. Most of the continuing work of the ICG is undertaken through Technical Committees (TCs), with participating organisations enjoying hands-on experience through involvement in 25 TC activities (grouped together under “Basics”; “Characterisation”; “Applications”; “Glass Production”; and “Communication, Education, History”). Major benefits are gained via direct association between international glass experts in the fields of science and technology, art, and education and through cooperation between related technological fields such as optics, photonics, electronics, nanotechnology, coating technology, biotechnology, polymers, and composites. For example TC16, “Nanostructured glass and coatings by wet chemistry”, includes sol-gel approach to these materials.
A key initiative of the ICG is the ICG2030 Project, which aims to generate value by leveraging ICG expertise and networks to bring academia and industry together while constantly striving to attract young talent to invest in a sustainable glass society. The main goals are to gather knowledge, share experience, build innovation knowledge and solutions, teach, and educate future talents and young/next generations.
Another crucial project of the ICG is the proposed International Year of Glass 2022 (IYOG2022). The ICG, along with the Community of Glass Associations (CGA) and ICOM-Glass, are promoting a United Nations International Year of Glass for 2022. It will underline the technological, scientific and economic importance of glass — that transparent and enabling material which underpins many of our technologies and which can facilitate the development of more equitable, just and sustainable societies to meet the challenges of globalisation. A coalition of key partners including art and scientific glass-themed societies, glassmakers, fabricators and suppliers, academia, R&D centres, and museums has been assembled to seek formal endorsement from the UN, with the initial aspiration being to seek a successful resolution at the UN General Assembly in December 2020. To date, more than 1150 endorsements have been received from colleagues in 77 countries.
Extensive planning to facilitate the UN Year of Glass in 2022 is now underway, including a kick-off meeting in Geneva in February 2022, events at the ICG Congress in Berlin, a worldwide congress focused on glass technology in Shanghai coinciding with the Worldwide Glass exhibition, and a global Art/History Congress. We hope that these events will result in special issues of journals and magazines, exhibitions in museums, and public and private glass collections and universal dissemination activities at all education levels. Hundreds of national proposals have been received from all the corners of the globe expressing enthusiastic support from the entire world of glass.
The ICG believes that glass is a transparent tool that can underpin sustainable, more developed and just societies; it is an important medium for art and its history is shared with that of humankind.
We look forward to more colleagues joining ICG and registering their interest in IYOG2022 to continue developing a future in glass!