OSA Applauds Progress in Establishing 2015 as the International Year of Light

Lyndsay Meyer
The Optical Society

OSA Applauds Progress in Establishing 2015 as the International Year of Light

International year of light supporters at the United Nations. See caption below.
International Year of Light delegation members during their visit to the U.N. General Assembly Chamber on May 16, 2013 (Back Row L to R: H. Philip Stahl, John M. Dudley, Anthony M. Johnson, Yanne Chembo Kouomou. Front: Ana María Cetto). Click to view larger image.
WASHINGTON, June 5, 2013—The Optical Society (OSA) today commended the progress made in establishing 2015 as the International Year of Light, as optics leaders from around the world convened to present the aims of the initiative to representatives from United Nations Member States and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at an informational meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on May 16. OSA has been working with partners and supporters to gain approval by the United Nations to declare 2015 the International Year of Light.
A delegation of senior optics and photonics professionals effectively described  the goals and activities of the International Year of Light at the meeting, focusing on the role that optics and photonics plays in addressing issues of sustainable development and in promoting science education. They also considered emerging applications in archaeology and cultural heritage, and described the cross-cutting nature of the Year of Light themes in diverse areas from art to philosophy. 
The delegation included Ana María Cetto from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM); John Dudley, president of the European Physical Society (EPS); Anthony M. Johnson, OSA past president and representative of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics; Yanne Chembo Kouomou from the African Physical Society; and H. Phillip Stahl, president-elect of SPIE.
“Light is an enabling  technology that provides us with endless possibilities and stunning applications in the fields of medicine, biophotonics, communications, and energy, as well as exciting emerging applications in the analysis and preservation of civilizations and history,” said Johnson. “Sharing this critical information with the world is a worthy imperative indeed.”
An important outcome of the meeting was the decision to ensure that the International Year of Light highlights both the science and the technological applications of light, emphasizing the key role of photonics as an enabling technology to solve problems of global concern. 
“The International Year of Light will help communicate the importance of light and optical technologies in our everyday lives and future growth around the world,” said OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan, who serves on the International Year of Light’s Advisory Board.  “OSA applauds our industry peers in the progress being made toward widespread adoption of the initiative, and we stand ready to support further activities in the coming months.”
The International Year of Light is supported by a growing number of partner societies, commissions, and centers, including OSA, EPS, the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics, the International Commission on Optics, SPIE, and many others. Mexico, Ghana, New Zealand and the Russian Federation, along with more than 30 countries as cosignatories, submitted the International Year of Light proposal to the UNESCO executive board late last year, which led to UNESCO’s official adoption in October 2012. The Information Meeting in New York last month has now set in place the procedure toward adoption by the full United Nations General Assembly, anticipated for later this year.

About OSA

Uniting more than 180,000 professionals from 175 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org.