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With just under a year to go, planning for the 74th annual congress of l'Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas) is heating up. McGill will host the event for the second time (the first time was during our 175th anniversary year, in 1996) from May 15-19, 2006. Designing a program and providing services for at least 5,000 delegates from across the country and throughout the French-speaking world will take the creativity and dedication of faculty, support staff and students.
Leading the charge are congress president Jacques Hurtubise, Interim Vice-Principal (Research), who developed the congress theme "Le savoir — trame de la modernité," and Scientific Committee chair Charles Lin of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.
In May, they attended the 2005 Congress held in Chicoutimi, along with Janyne Hodder, Vice-Principal (Inter-Institutional Relations) and Ginette Lamontagne, Director of Inter-Institutional Relations. A number of McGill researchers, including faculty members and graduate students, presented papers at the event.
"McGill will aim to help shape a scientific program that gives a strong sense of our commitment to research in all disciplines — and to interdisciplinary research — and our commitment to the community of research in which we work, both in Quebec and internationally," said Prof. Lin.
"Organizing an all-French congress is a natural for McGill," said Vice-Principal Hodder. "We did it very successfully 10 years ago and our research links across the world are even stronger today. We also occupy a very enviable position across research networks in both English and French, and we will draw on these strengths in our work on this congress'.
Jennifer Towell, who has been appointed Acfas 2006 Manager, Daniel Génier and Kirsten Martin staffed a booth at the 2005 Congress in Chicoutimi, promoting McGill and the 2006 congress.
"A challenge for the Acfas congress at McGill is to create a sense of the event," Towell said. "Remember that there are some 3,000 presentations during the week, scattering participants in time and place. To make the most of these five days, we will have to be very original in our use of the campus and in developing special activities that will create new friendships and great memories."
Towell will be working with colleagues across campus on all organizational elements, including room and audiovisual arrangements, catering, fundraising, special events, public relations and constant liaison with the team at Acfas.
An Acfas 2006 office will be set up in the near future at 3550 University, and a website is being prepared. For more information on participating, please contact Jennifer Towell.
Members of the Acfas scientific committee are Nicole Beauchemin and Hélène Perrault (Health Sciences), Fabien Gélinas and Celine Le Bourdais (Social Sciences), Michel Biron and Elizabeth Elbourne (Humanities), Raynald Gauvin and Niky Kamran (Physical Sciences, Math and Engineering), France Bouthillier and Alain Breuleux (Education).