The Society is leaving behind a challenging period, skillfully navigated by former presidents Paul Reynolds and Mark Schafer. The introduction of the Volunteers Engagement Committee has significantly strengthened the Society's operations. The continued policy of remote access to our flagship conferences has enabled colleagues who could not participate in-person for various reasons to present their work; in 2023, remote participation rate reached approximately 20 to 30%.
The Society's efforts in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion have gained recognition at the IEEE level. We have initiated Regional Conferences, with the first one held online for Latin America, supporting colleagues from this often underrepresented region. The Open Journal of UFFC-S has commenced its operations. Additionally, we've supported several non-IEEE conferences aligned with our core activities, particularly those with strong industrial participation, fostering collaboration beyond our IEEE circle. The Catavault depository for conference talks and educational videos was launched at the end of 2023.
In the next two years, we will continue to build on these solid foundations, following the best practices of our past presidents while introducing new initiatives. The upcoming period will present new challenges, including organization of the UFFC Joint Symposium in Taipei in September 2024. Every ten years, our three flagship conferences representing Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control sections meet to celebrate our common background and current overlapping activities. In 2024, the joint meeting will coincide with the celebration of the Society's 70th anniversary.
We look forward to the first South Asian Ultrasonics Symposium in Gandhinagar, India, in March, and the second Latin America Ultrasonics Symposium, which will be held in Montevideo, Uruguay, in May 2024. The insights from these meetings will guide the anticipated organization of regional conferences in other parts of the world (North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Southwestern Asia, etc.). We will rely on special initiative funds for these activities and will create an ad-hoc committee to lead such efforts.
The majority of the society's income is derived from traditional publications behind the paywall. The transition to open-access publications may reduce the society's income significantly. We will explore various means to compensate for this loss, including potential journal and proceedings reforms.
All symposia will continue to provide remote access. For this, the success of Catavault, along with the support of all participants—both in-person and remote—is essential. Remote symposia access aids members facing various obstacles to in-person participation, such as travel restrictions, limited resources, family commitments, and health reasons, aligning with our DEI efforts.
In alignment with IEEE's corporate sustainability initiatives launched in 2023, which are currently centered primarily on mitigating climate change, UFFC-S contributes directly in advancing sustainability activities by enabling remote access to symposia. Valuable educational content on sustainability has been disseminated through a dedicated session at the Ferroelectrics symposium. To reinforce these actions, we will establish an ad-hoc committee tasked with exploring additional measures to enhance the Society's operational sustainability and further disseminate information related to sustainability.
We will actively seek ways to expand collaboration with other IEEE Societies, particularly in Division II, fostering partnerships in both technical and educational activities.
Crucially, the success of the Society in all its pursuits relies heavily on the active and engaged participation of every member within the Administrative Committee, various subcommittees, and the entire Society. I look forward to the direct exchange of ideas with the dedicated volunteers and members of our Society.