As I assume the office of 2011 OSA President, I see a Society that has become increasingly international over the 40 years that I have been a member. When I joined OSA in 1971, we had yet to elect a president from outside the United States; Canadian Boris Stoicheff, 1976 OSA President, was the first. In 1971, 12 percent of our membership was global; today that figure is 49 percent. Eight members of the 2011 Board of Directors—36 percent—live in six countries outside the United States.
In 2011, OSA will continue to expand its services and networking opportunities to the international optics community. There are many indicators that we are already global in our activities. Eighty percent of the authors in OSA flagship journals are from outside the United States, and more than half of our publishing revenue derives from international sales. Fifty-nine percent of our student members reside in non-U.S. countries, a figure that mirrors membership trends and the global growth of our student chapter program. Overall, 35 percent of OSA's committee and council members reside in countries other than the United States. While this figure does not yet mirror the total membership distribution, it grows every year.
Several initiatives are under way to serve the international optics community. One of these, the Optics and Photonics Latin America website, was launched several months ago. It is already full of resources and networking information for optics professionals, in Spanish, Portugese and English. Additional regional or country-specific websites will launch in 2011.
Another way in which OSA maintains a global presence is through Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with peer societies around the world. Begun in the early 1990s, this effort emphasizes a cooperative emphasis for our international activities. The agreements extend member benefits to affiliated societies and secure the same advantages for OSA. In addition, MOUs provide for joint projects between OSA and the affiliated societies. The level of activity varies from country to country, but it may include annual OSA officer visits, student travel prizes, and special member dues structures, discounts and benefits.
As of October 2010, OSA had MOUs in place with 10 organizations: Academia Mexicana de Optica; Australian Optical Society; Chinese Optical Society; Indian Laser Association; Japan Society of Applied Physics; Optical Society of India; Optical Society of Korea; Rozhdestvensky Optical Society in St. Petersburg, Russia; Societá Italiana di Ottica e Fotonica; and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy. I look forward to visiting a number of these societies during my term.
In this issue of OPN, be sure to read the articles on solar concentrators; fiber-optic sensors in the energy sector; state-of-the-art satellite remote sensing; and a profile of James Maxwell. I am honored to serve as your president in 2011, and I look forward to an exciting and productive year for the Society. Together, we can make 2011 a year of vision and achievement for the global OSA community.