A special welcome from the new president of IAEG Rafig Azzam.

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

First of all, I would like to thank the Council Delegates for electing me as the new IAEG president and for their trust in me. It is my great honor to serve our association according to the IAEG mission and for the benefit of our members.
Most of you know me as one of the vice presidents for Europe and I would like to continue my efforts toward improved IAEG services.
This is my intended plan for the next 4 years.

During my scientific carrier, I have focused on worldwide networking in scientific cooperation. I served even as member of the internationalization strategy board of the RWTH Aachen University.
With more than 200 publications and supervision of more than 65 PhD students from around the world, as well as being president of the German National Group and Vice President of IAEG, I have gained experience with regard to education and profession. It would be my pleasure and honor to leverage this experience in the coming legislation.
In the past 4 years, the president and the executive have focused on many important aspects to improve the services of IAEG. Of course, we will continue to finalize these issues. In the last four years many improvements have been realized and I would like to thank the Executive for its excellent performance. Also, I would like to welcome the new Executive members who are enthusiastic to continue the modernization process.
But developing the Association needs a vision for the future and is a long-term task of the Executive and Council to achieve the targets.
Some important tasks and actions are:

• Modernization of IAEG including all IT aspects, an IT Commission is maybe necessary for successful operation.
• Continuation of Reaching out to our members and intensifying the relationship and networking between IAEG and National Groups.
• Reactivating and supporting the regional conferences, joint events with different national groups, and promoting the young engineering geologists to organize sessions within these conferences.
• Revision of the work of the commissions, and develop mechanisms to evaluate their work progress. Commission chairs should organize sessions in regional conferences and report to executive.
• Offer further education and training to the members such as summer and winter schools, especially for young engineering geologists, by inspiring senior members to offer courses and visit low-income countries to support their national group in education and organization of scientific events.
• IAEG can act as a catalyst to mobilize the synergy of Universities, Research Institutes and Industry.
• Encourage the National Groups to organize well-focused field trips for senior and young engineering geologists together.

This list can only be an example, much more issues will rise during our work.
I am confident that I will be able to motivate the new executive committee as well as the Presidents of the National Groups to work hand in hand to achieve the targets, to promote IAEG in many countries and to improve its visibility in the society.
I wish all of you a happy and prosperous New Year

Rafig Azzam