Message from FIP Chair Jerry Peterson

Our Forum has three seats on the APS Committee on International Scientific Affairs (CISA). This Committee advises the APS Board of Directors and APS leadership on all international matters affecting physics. FIP membership on CISA includes the Past Chair, the Chair, and the Chair-Elect. The current Chair of CISA is Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz (‘Brito’) from Brazil, and the most recent Past Chair of CISA was Alan Hurd, who was recently elected by you to begin his FIP leadership as our Vice Chair starting in 2019.

CISA meets twice a year, seemingly always in Washington DC, with its most recent meeting held Saturday October 12, 2018, and this is a summary of matters considered that affect FIP.

The big news is that the APS has recommended that CISA work with the APS Office of International Affairs to create a draft of a new Five-Years Plan for International Engagement, with near- (one year), mid- (three years) and long- (five years) term goals. We must expect strong inputs from members of FIP in outlining, writing, and reviewing this draft. I invite you all to start thinking and discussing what should be in this deterministic Plan.

For instance—if foreign speakers are invited by the FIP for March or April, might we invite those noted physicists to attend and participate in our FIP Executive Committee meetings? How might we make better use of foreign national physicists working in the US? They surely have valuable insights and connections. Should the APS ‘recognize’ (in the diplomatic sense) groupings of foreign national physicists working in the US? And, OK, we will list some lofty goals. How might we measure our success in meeting these goals? Are current APS (and FIP) efforts to support global collaborations and young people effective? The proposal pressure for the Distinguished Student Program (DSP) and the International Research Travel Award Program (IRTAP) efforts are a very good indicator. How else might we document the successes of the programs in order to find resources to expand them? CISA will have a large responsibility and a large impact on the global implications of our science, and I, for one, would greatly appreciate a wide range of thoughts, ideas, and analyses from our FIP membership as CISA debates and creates the expected Five-Year Plan. Next year I will be the FIP Past Chair member of CISA.

In the meantime, you who are reading this Letter who are members of any diaspora (the APS term) group of physicists working in the US who have common overseas origin please tell me of your group, especially the contact information for the group’s leadership, so I may start an informal FIP Directory of these groups.

Jerry Patterson photo