It is an absolute honour for me to have been entrusted with the prestigious role of the President of the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon 2019/2020. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my predecessor, Prof Sudantha Liyanage, for his outstanding leadership in steering the Institute to greater heights during his term as the President. Chemistry being a part of many different aspects in everyday life, opens up a myriad of opportunities for someone who seeks a career in chemistry. Thus, “Shaping Careers of Chemists through Advancement of Chemical Technology” – the Council theme for 2019/2020 has been chosen with the vision of linking scientific discoveries and their applications in the industry. Among the many goals I have set for the coming year, the International Conference on “Frontiers in Chemical Technology” takes precedence. The primary objective of this conference is to form a bridge between the industries and the scientists around the globe in order to propel the launch of scientific innovations in the world. The conference, being chaired by myself, will be held at the Galle Face Hotel, Colombo from 17th to 19th June, 2020 with the participation of scientists and enthusiastic young chemists from all over the world. Female chemistry professionals play an essential role in enhancing and promoting uses of chemistry. Hence, the establishment of a Women Chemists Committee (WCC) in the Institute is another milestone I intend to achieve during my term as the President. The mission of such a committee is to attract, retain, develop, promote, and advocate for women to positively impact diversity, equity and inclusion in the society and the profession. Thereby it is intended to bring about the empowerment of women throughout the chemical enterprise. The commencement of the BSc (Hons) Chemistry programme is another top priority goal in my activity plan for the year. We have already completed the Institutional Review process and are awaiting the comments of the Programme Review. As soon as the comments are received, we hope to work on them and implement any necessary changes to offer the BSc programme at the College of Chemical Sciences without any further delay. I also hope to prompt the construction project for the new building at Malabe which will accommodate lecture halls, laboratory facilities, instrument centres and administrative offices of the Institute of Chemistry and will be serving a student population of over 1000. The laying of the foundation stone for the building is scheduled to take place in September and it is hoped that the actual construction work will begin soon after. The development project in Dehiwela is another venture I plan to embark on during my term as the President of the Institute. This project is undertaken to generate funds for the Clodagh Nethsingha Foundation. I am sure I will be able to succeed in achieving all of the above goals and more with the support and active contribution of the members of the Council and the Institute. I look forward to the 2019/2020 Council year and I hope that I leave the Institute in a place that is better than when I became President, by the end of my year.
Prof. (Mrs.) P. A. Paranagama: B.Sc. (Kelaniya), M.Phil (Kelaniya), Ph.D. (Glasgow), C.Chem., F.I.Chem.C.
Chair & Senior Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Kelaniya