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Best Wishes for the New Year

A message from ICTP Director Atish Dabholkar

ICTP Director Atish Dabholkar
ICTP Director Atish Dabholkar


A new year is a time for reflection as well as for renewed optimism. The unusual circumstances of the pandemic in 2020 have underlined the magnitude of some of the great challenges facing the world, as well as the importance of science in addressing them effectively and the need for international cooperation transcending geographic borders. It was also an occasion to witness the enormous good will that ICTP enjoys around the world. ICTP has a unique global mandate and therefore a special responsibility in this regard to play a leading role in promoting `Science without Borders’ in the years to come.

On this backdrop, ICTP's new five-year Strategic Plan was presented to and enthusiastically endorsed by its Scientific Council and approved by its Steering Committee in November. The plan was in the making for almost a year, building upon input from the entire ICTP community to identify priority areas important for the future success of ICTP.

The new Strategic Plan emphasizes ICTP's special global mission to promote scientific excellence around the world, especially in developing countries, and to bridge the knowledge divide and advance international cooperation. In the coming five years, we will aim to enhance the nurturing environment at ICTP to enable even greater scientific accomplishments and new breakthroughs at the frontiers of science. We will aim to expand a broader ‘International Science Alliance’ that can help overcome the barriers of geography, gender, class or ethnicity by building capacity in advanced  sciences, especially in developing countries, through novel initiatives for online and regional connectivity. We will seek to increase ICTP's role as an international focal point for scientific research, education, and outreach, with active engagement in science advocacy and international cooperation.

The pandemic brought home starkly the importance of ICTP's mission in a world that faces new obstacles that can accentuate fragmentation and the intellectual isolation of scientists. ICTP successfully continued its Postgraduate Diploma Programme with students coming in from more than 30 different countries to the Trieste campus. We also continued successfully online with most of our major scientific schools and conferences. I am proud of ICTP's scientists and staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure that ICTP maintains its level of excellence and engagement with the global community of scientists, especially those from disadvantaged countries. It was heartening to see this resolve and resilience under trying circumstances.

I look forward to starting the new year with a renewed hope that we will soon be able to enjoy the rich, in-person interactions that ICTP is renowned for. Until then, I offer you all my best wishes for the new year.