Despite everything, a good Congress. Hosted by the Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI), in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry of Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa, and connected via zoom around the world, the XXXVI IULTCS Congress has managed to overcome the enormous organisational difficulties tied to the pandemic (but also to the still ongoing civil war in the African country) bringing together 240 delegates from six continents in hybrid mode. From 3 to 5 November, 38 speakers were able to alternate on the microphone, from the Skylight Hotel Congress hall or remotely, for an oral presentation of their research on the latest technical-scientific developments in the tanning sector, while another 78 “poster” papers were made available to the delegates.
Titled “Greening the Leather Value Chain”, the international leather chemists Congress was all about seeking greater sustainability in the tanning industry. During the three technical-scientific days, important scientists, researchers and experts in various fields spoke extensively about greener chemicals and technologies, waste reduction and enhancement, biodegradability and measurement of Carbon Fooprint, innovative wastewater treatment systems, analysis methodologies and much more.
Patient (due to some inevitable difficulties linked to remote connections) Prof. Mekonnen Hailemariam, who replaced the president of the Congress Mwinyikione Mwinyihija, indisposed but connected remotely, was the master of ceremonies. Also Luis Zugno, president of IULTCS, did the honours and had encouraging words for the future of the tanning sector that will be able to overcome the great challenges it faces with the help of science and technology.
The prestigious opening conference of the Congress, the Heidemann Lecture, was delivered by Professor Anthony Covington, author of over 300 technical publications. During the conference, the 2021 IULTCS Award of Merit for Excellence in the Leather Industry was awarded to Dr. Thirumalachari Ramasami, known for his significant contributions to chromium chemistry as a scientist and for his leadership in the Indian leather industry.
At the end of the work, expressing great satisfaction with the final balance of the event which, despite the difficult premises, was more than positive thanks to the determination of the organisation and the commitment of all delegates, president Luis Zugno invited to meet at the 37th Congress, already set in Chengdu, China, for 2023, and announced his successor, vice president Jean-Pierre Gualino, who will take over the reins of IULTCS from 2022.