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of sciences and humanities and nationalities in a bottom-up organization responding to challenges in a dynamic European setting. The greatest asset of Academia Europaea is probably its membership: Academia Europaea is what they make out of it.

From my own observation, I can witness that subsequent Presidents and their Boards, assisted by a very capable and efficient office, headed now by David Coates, have actively promoted many new initiatives from the sections and from the membership.

The sections are the core of the organizational structure of the Academia Europaea. I am very pleased with the energy that a number of recently elected Section Chairs put in efforts to strengthen their sections and are actively searching with their section committee for scientific excellence in their field to be elected as member of AE.

Ole Petersen is doing a very dedicated effort as Chair of the Nominations committee to pursue a transparent and high-level election process.

The decision to appoint Section Chairs as members of the Council has been an excellent one, adding a lot to the internal cohesion of Academia Europaea, enhancing the affectivity of the Council considerably.

For the Earth Sciences, Academia Europaea has served right from the beginning as a key platform to discuss and launch new research initiatives. The Earth and Marine Sciences Section was founded by the late Stephan Mueller, also the founder of the European Geophysical Society and later Chairs were Enric Banda who served Europe later on as Secretary General of the European Science Foundation and André Berger, also former President of the European Geophysical Society. Earth Sciences is by its very nature trespassing national borders and Academia Europaea was, therefore, the perfect platform, the more as it is at the same time provided the links with other fields so important for execution of multidisciplinary research programmes. To give an example, the new EUROCORES TOPO-EUROPE, with allocated funding of 15M€ and creating research opportunities for 60 young researchers is an outgrowth of conferences organized with financial support from the Academia Europaea’s new initiatives fund such as the one held in 2006 in the Villa Bosch in Heidelberg at the Klaus Tschira Foundation (and again in 2009).

I know that also other sections, such as the Physics section are engaged in exploring different scenarios for Europe’s energy agenda and it’s there were my successor as section Chair of Earth and Cosmic Sciences, Don Dingwell would like to see his section actively engaged.

The forthcoming Annual Meeting in Naples with an important component of science addressing fundamental and societal aspects of energy and natural hazards embedded in a rich cultural and archeological setting promises to be very interesting to the membership in the broadest sense.

The Council and Board consider the Annual Meeting as a very important element in the functioning of the Academia Europaea. These meetings with their high quality, such as again illustrated by the recent Liverpool Meeting, have the potential to attract a larger audience. Following very positive experience with the panel session on slavery organized by Piet Emmer last year, also this year, a panel session now on the topic on migration waves out of Southern Italy, will be included in the programme.

In response to demands from various components of the membership, the Earth and Cosmic Sciences Section together will the local organizers will prepare pre-and post conference excursions blending geology, archaeology and culture.

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The above illustrates a significant momentum in the activities of Academia Europaea. A lot has been accomplished over the last twenty years and the vision of the founders is more valid than ever.

I see my role as Vice-President very much as building on the strong points of Academia Europaea and consolidating AE to make it a very robust organization. It must be realized that the potential of the Academia Europaea requires and deserves a stable financial base and it is here that the new President Lars

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