Letter from the outgoing ICC President 2014 - Joel Abecassis

Dear Colleagues, dear friends,

Arriving at the end of my term as ICC President, I would like to thank you all for your help and your support during this period with special thanks to the ICC Headquarters (HQ) staff who have worked hard to reach out to our members and realizing the Association's aims. Our objectives to develop an association that is represented globally as well as to bring more services to its members have been pursued during these last two years. New members (corporates, countries and institutions) have joined our organisation. Among them, three new countries, India, Brazil and New Zealand are now part of ICC and they will actively contribute to our future activities. In April 2015 Brazil will host the 3rd ICC Latin American conference. This meeting will also mark the 60th anniversary of our Association.

The past two years were also an opportunity to make the international activities of our organisation more visible by seeking to respond ever more to the needs of our members. One of ICC's main activities was to support the development of international networks such as the MoniQA Association and the HEALTHGRAIN Forum, as well as to act as a partner in international research projects (e.g. MycoSpec, MyNewGut, ISEKI_Food 4, PlantLibra, and Connect4Action). ICC has also contributed to the dissemination of scientific and technical information by organizing international conferences in different regions of the world (ICC Australia Conference in Perth; 7th International Congress Flour-Bread '13 in Opatija, Croatia; ICC Whole Grain Symposium in Wuhan, China) as well as more specific conferences to enlarge our scope and meet new expectations (4th MoniQA International Conference, Budapest, Hungary; International Symposium of Food Science and Human Wellness in Guangzhou, China; 3rd International Symposium on Gluten-Free Cereal Products and Beverages in Vienna; Rice Conference in Pingtung, Taiwan). Moreover, ICC has offered new membership services such as an improved free online access to QAS Journal and a free online access to ICC Standards and Regulatory Updates for ICC Country Members, National Delegates and Deputies.

This period was also marked by an in-depth reflection within ICC to better share our vision for the future and to better involve every member of ICC in both strategic activities and dissemination. The missions of the ICC Governing Committee and of the Executive Committee as well as the work flow within our HQ were revised in order to improve efficiency of our organisation. Other projects have been initiated in the form of working groups (Validation and standardisation; IPR; Food allergen reference materials; Whole grains; Asian foods; India Collaboration; a.o.). Among these projects, I would like to stress the importance of the discussions engaged with AACCI toward a potential joint future by exploring feasibility of creating one global cereal organisation. This project was widely approved by the vote of the ICC General Assembly and represents a new horizon for the global cereal family.

All this work would not have been possible without the help of the whole ICC team and the wise advice of former ICC Presidents. It was a pleasure working with all of them forming a friendly and efficient team. It is also time to thank Roland Poms who ensured his mission as Secretary General even after the end of his formal commitment with ICC. I wish him success in his new challenges.

As my role will move to that of Immediate Past President I would like to wish my successor Fengcheng Wang, China, to succeed in finalising all these projects. I would also like to congratulate Hamit Koksel from Turkey as incoming ICC President Elect. The new period ahead will see not only the arrival of new Presidents but also of a new Secretary General: Mrs Michaela Pichler who has just been recruited. She will begin working with us on 1 January 2015. I assure them both of my personal support for the coming years and I express my best wishes to lead ICC closer to our goals and to satisfy the Association's expectations.

I present to every one season's greetings and all my best wishes for the coming years!

Joel Abecassis

Montpellier, France
December 2014