Today (November 12) marked the opening of International Scientific Leaders’ Forum and the 90th Anniversary of Academia Sinica, with President Tsai Ing-wen and 22 dignitaries representing prominent academic institutions from 16 countries in attendance. During his remarks, James C. Liao, President of Academia Sinica, commented that the academic community has evolved from a conglomerate of institutions to a “smart orchestra of science” where each institution can work independently and collaboratively at the same time. He also said that scientists should shoulder tasks entrusted by society with ambition, responsibility and wisdom, resolving critical issues and passing valuable knowledge to future generations.
The International Scientific Leaders’ Forum was held at Academia Sinica’s Humanities and Social Sciences Building, with representatives of academic institutions worldwide sharing their experiences, tasks, challenges, and prospects during a symposium entitled “Roles and Challenges Facing National Academies”.
During her opening remarks, President Tsai stated that, “Without science, the world would still be shrouded by darkness and we would be losing even more loved ones to disease. Without science, even more people would live in hunger and destitution.” Thanking science and all scientists, she not only expressed her appreciation to Academia Sinica but to the global scientific community as a whole. In addition, President Tsai encouraged the Forum’s representatives to forge deeper ties of knowledge and initiate more joint research programs, thereby advancing science for the benefit of humankind.
President Tsai indicated that sustained support from the government for basic scientific research will be necessary in order to safeguard the nation’s future. Since Academia Sinica has brought great pride to Taiwan, she believes that President Liao and his team possess the academic dedication to perpetuate the generation of scientific knowledge for Taiwan and the entire world.
Academia Sinica President Liao stressed in his remarks that researchers at Academia Sinica will have to adhere to three qualities in order to make further advances in the next decade. First, scientists must have the ambition to tackle critical scientific topics related to human survival, such as climate change, sustainability of energy and the environment, using artificial intelligence for human enhancement, and better understanding how memory and consciousness intertwine. Other key issues range from minute molecules to our vast universe, connecting the past and present, and even predicting the future. Attention to such issues can make Academia Sinica’s current research projects become even more meaningful.
The second quality President Liao discussed is responsibility, which scientists bear for the academic community, society, and all humanity. This means that scientific research involves more than the pursuit of trivial pleasures in daily life. Last but not least, wisdom can help scientists choose the right academic topics as well as plan and execute high-quality research projects, thereby focusing on valuable scholarship that can make real contributions with greater efficiency.
During the opening ceremony, Marcia McNutt (President of the National Academy of Sciences) and Peter Gruss (President of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, and Former President of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft) gave talks entitled “Activities of the National Academy of Sciences” and “Can We Survive without Science?”.
Academic institutions taking part in the Forum included the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and National Academy of Medicine of the United States, the United Kingdom’s Royal Society, the French Academy of Sciences, Japan’s RIKEN research institute, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Australian Academy of Science, the Indian National Science Academy, and leading scholarly institutions from Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, just to name a few.
The celebrations concluded with a performance by the Academia Sinica Chorus, which has been performing for seven years since its creation. Moreover, members of the research staff presented posters specifying the leading results of Academia Sinica’s scholarship in order to give voice to the momentum generated by academic diplomacy.
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