28 No. 2
Education: Responsible Stewardship
Following on a recommendation from the Organization for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and IUPAC that emerged
from a joint workshop held in Oxford, England, in July 2005,
titled “The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), Chemistry
Education and Professional Conduct of Chemists,” a new
project was initiated to promote codes of ethical and professional
conduct among chemists and chemical engineers and to share
the experience of these new teaching practices.
To jump-start this project, the Chemical Education: Responsible
Stewardship conference was organized last October at the D.
Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology of Russia in
Moscow. This conference focused on the dissemination of new
information in the field of education responsible for stewardship
and the promotion of all aspects of chemistry among members
of the profession as well as the worldwide community. One
hundred fifty scientists and educators from Russia, UK, Italy,
Canada, USA, India, and CIS countries participated. Leading
experts in the field of chemical education and CWC also took
The conference was organized under the auspices of IUPAC,
OPCW, the Scientific Council on Problems of Ecology and Emergency
Situations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Nature
Management and Environmental Preservation Department of the
Moscow Government, the National Committee of Russian Chemists,
and the Institute of Chemistry and the Problems of Sustainable
Development, D. Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology
of Russia. Additional support was received from the Moscow
Committee on Science and Technologies, the Fund of Intellectual
Technologies, and the Russian Regional Environmental Center.
More than 70 lectures and 50 posters were presented at the
conference, which consisted of one workshop, three symposia,
and one roundtable discussion. The following key areas were
• Chemical Synthesis: The Point of Bifurcation
• The Social Responsibility of Chemists: The Codes
• Green Chemistry for Megacities
• Industrial Safety: Chemical Aspects
Chemical Synthesis: The Point of Bifurcation
The objectives of this workshop were to prepare educational
materials for use by university and high school chemistry
teachers. The materials will equip educators to run workshops
on multiple uses of chemistry and the need for CWC. Among
workshop participants were lecturers and teachers from high
schools and universities interested in receiving information
on new methods and technologies of chemical education dealing
with responsible stewardship. Four working papers (in English
and Russian) were distributed to incite discussion in the
Multiple Uses of Chemicals
• Chemicals—Good and Bad
• Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents
• The Prevention of Chemical Weapons: What Is the Role
for Codes of Conduct?
The Social Responsibility of Chemists:
The Codes of Conduct
This symposium brought discussions on the theoretical and
methodological problems associated with such codes of conduct,
the problem of elaboration and of teaching said codes, and
the implications of carrying out these codes in research and
industrial activities. As a result of this session, it was
recommended that the Academic Council of the D. Mendeleyev
University of Chemical Technology of Russia create the representative
and competent commission for the development of “The
Ethical Code of Chemists.”
It also was recommended that the efforts of the wider scientific
community be integrated, including representatives of humanitarian
and scientific knowledge, to develop theoretical-methodological
problems of sustainable development.
Universities were encouraged to find opportunities to introduce
a course on ethics as a compulsory subject and to develop
elective courses such as “Professional Etiquette,”
“Ecological Ethics,” and “Ethics of Consensus-Building.”
Green Chemistry for Megacities
During this symposium, a considerable part of the lectures
was devoted to the legal issue of wildlife management and
the social responsibility of experts as well as the problems
of licensing. A number of presentations addressed the methodology
of teaching green chemistry in high schools and universities.
The presentations focused on the ecological monitoring of
the city environment as one of the practical applications
of the methods of green chemistry.
The following recommendations arose from the sessions:
• Introduce the methods of green chemistry and their
practical applications in the ecological monitoring of the
environment into the training programs for chemistry and
• Consider it necessary to use the scientific and technical
capabilities of the chemical community in searching for
new methods and directions of green chemistry to solve the
environmental problems of megacities.
• Increase the knowledge and awareness of CWC provisions
among chemistry students by using the materials presented
during the workshop, “Chemical Synthesis: the Point
Safety: Chemical Aspects
Teachers, scientific employees of chemical institutes, and
lawyers took part in the last symposium. Their active participation
led to the following recommendations:
• Chemical education should bear safety in mind when
creating a global outlook for the next generation.
• Ways to maintain chemical safety should be taught
in the curricula of high schools and universities.
• Professional training in the field of chemical safety
must be considered as one of the major aspects of chemical
• Seminars in specific areas of safety for general
education (high school, etc.) should be held in order to
promulgate the importance of safety for the population.
the conference made a substantial contribution to the facilitation
of the exchange of scientific information and expertise among
state parties of the CWC. It contributed to promoting awareness
about the CWC and its implementation in the scientific community.
It also provided an additional impetus to develop a culture
of responsibility and compliance within the scientific community
with international norms, including the CWC. The conference
objectives were in line with the OPCW’s core objectives
of promoting the universality of the CWC and of improving
Chemical education could be used effectively for this purpose,
because chemistry, as a fundamental science and a scientific
basis for a variety of technologies in different branches
of industry, is deeply involved in the progress of modern
civilization. We live in a world completely grounded in chemistry:
Everything that we are and do is controlled by chemistry.
The next generation of high school textbooks has been produced
in different parts of the world, and significant public interest
has been expressed concerning the national and international
uniqueness of their application. There are many chemical educators,
well trained in environmental issues, who would like to move
further and contribute to the education for sustainable development.
outcomes will be released and announced at a later date. For
more information, including list of conference participants
and lecture titles, visit the project Web page. For more details,
contact the task group chair, Natalia Tarasova <[email protected]>.
last modified 24 July 2006.
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