Last week saw the CERN family grow by one, as we welcomed Cyprus as an Associate Member in the pre-stage to Membership. This gives me a good opportunity, three months into the job, to share the vision for the new International Relations (IR) Sector. CERN is and always has been an incredible example of successful, inclusive international collaboration and exchange in the pursuit of common goals. The IR Sector continues and builds on that tradition and spirit.
In the 60-plus years of CERN’s existence, our world has been transformed at all levels. And over the last decade or so, the world of particle physics has evolved beyond recognition. CERN is now a global lab, with a European core, and particle physics is a field that is increasingly planned and coordinated around the world.
It is for these reasons that CERN needs to develop its International Relations so we can respond to and navigate these changes. The establishment by the Director-General of the IR Sector is a sign of her commitment to doing just that. The IR Sector will enable CERN to promote our discipline and to serve society on a global level now and in the future. It will strengthen CERN’s position as a global centre of excellence, help shape the global science policy agenda and connect CERN with people across the world to inspire curiosity and understanding.
The immediate priorities for the Sector include reinforcing dialogue with our Member States, setting future directions for geographical enlargement and strengthening CERN’s voice in global policy debates. These are early days, but we’ve already made a start. We have expanded our interaction with Member States with the creation or consolidation of Thematic Forums, and we have begun a reflection on ensuring that enlargement supports and reinforces our long-term scientific aspirations and is not merely an aim in itself.
It is a tremendous honour for me to head the IR Sector and I feel very privileged to be able to serve this remarkable organisation. I look forward to sharing developments in CERN’s International Relations with you over the coming years. In the meantime, I invite you to discover more about the new Sector here.