by Nazrul I. Khandaker

_2284-(ZF-9841-13606-1-001) Fig 1

“It was an incredible experience to see so many geologists from all over the world (USA-Madagascar-China) coming to Denver to present their research and celebrate GSA’s 125th anniversary. At this meeting was the first time I learned about the global role that the GSA is playing. I would especially like to thank the GSA International Section for offering me a travel award for this meeting and allowing me to have my dream come true. I am going back to Madagascar with a rich scientific flavor of the meeting and surely I am going to spread the word around to my friends in geology about this society, which many of us are not fully aware of it. The International reception was very cordial and welcoming and gave me a chance to meet my fellow travel grant recipients and share information. I felt I was a part of the connected global community where political boundaries have no meaning and made me believe that geology is global.”

Khandaker with Rocio Vargas (Chile) and Ramihangihajason Tolotra (Madagascar)

Khandaker with Rocio Vargas (Chile) and Ramihangihajason Tolotra (Madagascar)

The remarks above from Ramihangihajason, Tolotra N  (GSA International Section’s 2013 travel award recipient) were echoed  by Dr. Burchfiel, the GSA International Section (IS) 2013 Distinguished Career Award recipient who spent well-over five decades overseas conducting research on the origin of mountain belts in relation to their structure and plate-tectonic configuration. Dr. Burchfiel emphasized the need for allowing American geologists to get involved with research investigations overseas and in unfamiliar territory, and to work in close conjunction with a local counterpart in order to achieve optimum results. Dr. Burchfiel felt very concerned about a recent drastic reduction in research allocations and limited U.S. collaboration or involvement with foreign nations. He reminded all of us about the U.S. role in reaching out to overseas geologists in greater numbers, and encouraged such collaboration as part of the GSA’s global mission. Finally his remark “Geology is global and one cannot be separated from the other” left many participants talking about the new frontiers of the geosciences and how we can proceed to create a new generation of geologists to meet the demands of the global society.

Dr. Clark Burchfiel (center) receiving Distinguished Career Award from Dr. An Yin (GSA IS Chair). Dr. Anke Friedrich (incoming GSA IS Chair).

Dr. Clark Burchfiel (center) receiving Distinguished Career Award from Dr. An Yin (GSA IS Chair). Dr. Anke Friedrich (incoming GSA IS Chair).

Captive audience listening to Dr. Burchfiel's presentation

Captive audience listening to Dr. Burchfiel’s presentation

The reception truly represented Dr. Burchfiel‘s long-standing collaboration with overseas geoscientists and was highlighted by the presence of many highly-acclaimed and well-established geologists including Dr.  A.M. Celal ŞENGÖR, Dr. Roland Oberhänsli, President, International Union of Geological Sciences, and Dr. Shuwen Dong, Vice-President of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, who brought prestige to this reception and greatly appreciated GSA International Section’s efforts to cement the professional relationships among the attending participants.

Dr. Ronald Oberhansli, IUGS President delivering his opening statements at the GSA IS Reception

Dr. Ronald Oberhansli, IUGS President delivering his opening statements at the GSA IS Reception

Dr. Clark Burchfiel (MIT) and Dr. Sengor (Turkey) exchanging notes at the reception.

Dr. Clark Burchfiel (MIT) and Dr. Sengor (Turkey) exchanging notes at the reception.

Dr. Suzanne Kay (GSA President), Dr. Jack Hess (executive Director, GSA), Dr. Victor Baker (GSA IS Inaugural Distinguished Lecturer), Dr. Greg Davis (USC), Dr. Ric Terman (GSA IS Treasurer and recipient of ISMB Distinguished Service Award), Dr. Juhn Liou (past GSA ISMB member and Chair of the Roof of the World meeting), and Dr. Paul Robinson (past GSA IS Chair) all attended this reception and mingled with the students awardees and encouraged them to get involved with collaborative research projects. Dr. Suzanne Kay informed the participants about the new initiatives and strategic plans the GSA is undertaking to make GSA International a highly visible entity within the GSA, thus allowing it to take additional responsibility and become quite prominent in the international geoscience arena.

GSA President Dr. Sue Kay chatting with travel grant awardees

GSA President Dr. Sue Kay chatting with travel grant awardees

Dr. Jack Hess, Mrs. Hess, and Wesley Hill enjoying some quality time at the GSA IS reception

Dr. Jack Hess, Mrs. Hess, and Wesley Hill enjoying some quality time at the GSA IS reception

Praising Dr. Ric Terman’s outstanding contributions to the GSA International Section, Dr. An Yin made these appropriate remarks, “As someone who has worked in Asia in the past three decades, I greatly appreciate it the central role Ric has played in our current understanding of Asian geology. Ric has been my hero, who was so far ahead of everyone in the West in the early days of exploring Asian geology. His insightful compilations of several influential regional geologic maps (most of them are out of prints!) were the only guides for westerners studying Asia geology until the very recent years.”

Dr. Ric Terman (left) received Outstanding GSA IS Service Award - a pleasant surprise!!

Dr. Ric Terman (left) received Outstanding GSA IS Service Award – a pleasant surprise!!

Dr. Ric Terman's Plaque

Dr. Ric Terman’s Plaque

The GSA International Section presented Honorary Fellow award to Dr. Shuwen Dong who played a key role hosting Roof of the World Meeting in Chengdu.  Dr. Shuwen Dong in his speech spoke about SinoProbe and a plethora of geological opportunities emerging including deep seismic profiling of the lower crust and associated high pressure-temperature conditions and new research scope dealing with ultra-high pressure metamorphism along the lower crust-mantle transition. SinoProbe , a mega geotectonic project, ever undertaken by the Chinese Government, already showing great potentials to understand Himalayan tectonics and evolution of the Tibetan Plateau. He also reiterated the need to engage geoscientists in order to understand globally complex geotectonic phenomenon as it pertains to Indo-China orogen. As part of the reciprocal arrangement, Chinese geologists will attend the 2015 Baltimore meeting and presently details are being worked out between the Geological Society of China and GSA International Section.

Dr. Shuwen Dong receiving Honorary Fellow Award from Dr. Sue Kay (GSA Awards Ceremony)

Dr. Shuwen Dong receiving Honorary Fellow Award from Dr. Sue Kay (GSA Awards Ceremony)

Dr. Shuwen Dong (2nd from the left) proudly displaying GSA IS Honorary Fellow Plaque

Dr. Shuwen Dong (2nd from the left) proudly displaying GSA IS Honorary Fellow Plaque

Khandaker (far right) with Dr. Shuwen Dong (3rd from the left) receiving Honorary Fellow

Khandaker (far right) with Dr. Shuwen Dong (4th from the left) receiving Honorary Fellow

Dr. Victor Baker, the GSA International Section’s Distinguished inaugural Lecturer was recognized by the GSA International Section for his superb role promoting GSA’s mission and vision through his tour to many European countries where he presented his well-established research on Martian geomorphology. It was a successful tour, and Dr. Baker set the bar to a very high level. The GSA IS Distinguished Lecturer tour was made possible from a generous grant made by Robbie Gries. GSA International Section is now ready to launch second Distinguished Lecture Tour with Dr. Marjorie Chan as the speaker. Dr. Marjorie Chan is from the University of Utah, and has distinguished record involving sedimentology and geomorphology of Martian debris. She plans to visit China, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand in 2014. Proposals were also suggested to bring an overseas lecturer to the United States and promote international collaboration as part of bilateral exchanges. Details regarding the GSA IS Lecture Tour can be found in October 2013 Newsletter.

Six out of the nine student travel grant awardees were present including Ramihangihajason, Tolotra N (Universite d’Antananarivo, Madagascar), Charlotte Brassey (University of Manchester, United Kingdom), Mohammed Hossain (Bangladesh, currently at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden),  Meryem Elmoulat (Faculté des Sciences de Rabat, Morocco), Rocio Vargas (Universidad de Chile), and Michal Ben (Edmond Safra Campus, Jerusalem, Israel), and expressed great appreciation for the GSA International Section’s support that enabled them to attend GSA’s 125th Anniversary Meeting in Denver. Rocio (Chile) was extremely delighted to notice enthusiasm and professionalism among the attendees and promised to assist the GSA International Section in realizing its global role. Rocio Vargas is currently conducting her economic geology research on sulfide mineralization in the Chilean Andes and landed her support to promote international collaboration between the two societies. GSA International Section Management members including Dr. Anke Friedrich, Dr. An Yin,  Dr. Ric Terman and Nazrul I. Khandaker coordinated this event with the help of Wesley Hill (GSA).  The GSA International Section-hosted reception drew a large number of participants (100 plus) and provided a common ground where GSA’s global mission was quite apparent and everyone seemed to enjoy, chat, and share experiences with each other over drinks and food.

Dr. Khandaker with GSA International Section Board Members

Dr. Khandaker with GSA International Section Board Members

Cheers! Dr. Paul Robinson (left), Juhn Louie (center), and Dr. An Yin (left)

Cheers! Dr. Paul Robinson (left), Juhn Liou (center), and Dr. An Yin (right)

Left to right Michal (Israel), Rocio (Chile), and Elmoulat (Morocco)

Left to right Michal (Israel), Rocio (Chile), and Elmoulat (Morocco)

Participants from China to Chile enjoying GSA IS Reception

Participants from China to Chile enjoying GSA IS Reception