Dear members of the IAL,
It is with enthusiasm that I joined the new IAL Council (2021-2026) last August. This is a very dynamic team, which has met three times already since the conclusion of IAL9. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the most important event of our association for the 2016-2021 term – IAL9 – especially under such difficult circumstances. IAL9 was a huge success, thanks to the thoughtful and hard work of Marcela Cáceres, Luciana Canêz, Manuela Dal Forno, Natália M. Koch, and Adriano A. Spielmann. In the last five years lichenology has made a major leap forward in scientific advancements, and this was clearly visible during IAL9, including outstanding presentations from many young lichenologists. I want to thank all members of the past IAL Council (2016-2021) under the leadership of Mats Wedin, for carrying our association through these unprecedented and challenging times.
Looking forward, the new Council has an ambitious agenda centered around three main objectives within its overarching mission to promote lichenology: i) Improving diversity, equity and inclusivity in our association, ii) enhancing communications among its members, with the international community of lichenologists, and with other scientific societies, and iii) rebuilding the membership of the IAL. To achieve these goals, in addition to its usual functions, the IAL Council will continue to meet at least once monthly for the near future and has established two new committees. The Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Committee was formed at the end of the IAL9 and is led by Manuela Dal Forno, Natália M. Koch, and Joel A. Mercado-Díaz (Co-Chairs). More recently, the Communications Committee was formed, and consists of Silvana Munzi (Co-Chair), Toby Spribille (Co-Chair), Andreas Beck (IAL website), Frank Bungartz, Roberto De Carolis, Ana Fávaro, Beata Guzow-Krzeminska (ILN), Natália M. Koch (IDEA Committee representative), Theo Llewellyn, Marcela Cáceres (ex officio), Scott LaGreca (ex officio), François Lutzoni (ex officio), and Lucia Muggia (ex officio). These committee members, with their email addresses, are posted on the Committees page of the IAL website. If you have concerns, suggestions or if you would like to contribute to the goals of these two committees, please do not hesitate to contact any of their respective members. The IAL Council will be working closely with these two committees to better serve all members of the IAL.
More than ever, the IAL needs you to renew your membership. The IAL symposium is the single most important time point when most members renew their membership or join the IAL for the first time. The virtual nature of IAL9 was not conducive to this process for the 2021-2026 period. Imke Schmitt (Assistant Treasurer) will be reaching out to you individually to remind you to renew your membership, or to join the IAL for the first time. By the time you read this message, you might have already received this email. However, there is no need to wait, please go to the “Membership” tab and select “Membership” to pay your dues. We will greatly improve communications with IAL members. Therefore, it is vital that you become a member if you want to benefit from these enhanced interactions and activities that will be generated by the IAL.
Thank you for joining me on this five-year long journey to IAL10. One of my goals is to make this journey as enjoyable as the final destination. Please contact me if there is anything I can do to better serve the IAL.
François Lutzoni, Durham, North Carolina, November 18, 2021