The XXXVI biennial Congress of the International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Society (IULTCS), hosted by Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI), in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, kicks off today (November 3, 2021) at Skylight Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Congress is officially opened by his Excellency Mr. Tarekegn Bululta, State Minister, Ministry of Industry of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and welcome messages were also given by Mr. Ghebregziabher Ghebremedhin, Acting Executive Director of ALLPI and Dr. Luis Zugno, IULTCS President.

The Congress, under the theme of “Greening the Leather Value Chain”, is organized in a HYBRID mode and has brought together more than 240 representatives from scholars, researchers, experts, leather and leather products manufacturers and investors from 6 continents, namely Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America.

A total of 114 scientific papers lined up for oral (38 in number) and poster (76 in numbers) presentation for the three days duration of the Congress. The papers thematic areas include Scientific Researches of leather, intelligent manufacturing of leather products, Cleaner technologies for the leather processing, Leather chemicals, Composite materials and utilization of leather waste resources, Environmental Management Technologies in leather industry, Leather industry entrepreneurship and progress towards sustainability, Fashion, life style leather products and design innovation.

The prestigious keynote lecture of the Congress, the Heidemann Lecture, is delivered by Professor Anthony Covington, who has authored over 300 technical publications, and received the IULTCS Merit Award for Excellence in the Leather Industry in 2009, and the Alsop Award for Outstanding Scientific Contribution to the Leather Industry from the American Leather Chemists Association in 2011.

IULTCS 2021 Merit Award for Excellence in the Leather Industry is given to Dr. Thirumalachari Ramasami who is known for his significant contributions to the chemistry of chromium as a scientist and leadership to the Indian leather sector as a technologist and to science as a civil servant. He authored more than 237 research publications, eight chapters in books, and numerous general articles. He holds more than 40 patents.

The Congress is expected to leave delegates with great insights and informative actions in the areas of technology, chemistry and science of leather to address the sector's challenges.

The XXXVI biennial Congress of the International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Society (IULTCS), hosted by Africa Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI) in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry of Ethiopia, from 3rd to 5th November, 2021, has been successfully completed at the Skylight Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic limitations, the IULTCS Congress, was conducted in a hybrid mode, with both face-to-face and online participants, for the first time in the Union’s 120 years’ experience. The three-day Congress was attended by over 240 participants from many countries from all continents. A total of 36 oral and more than 70 poster presentations were made on diverse areas of technology, chemistry and science of leather making and environmental sustainability. The online system also facilitated recordings of all presentations and discussion, which will remain available to registrants for reviewing at their leisure during the next two months.

The Congress was steered by the ALLPI Expert Team led by Professor Mekonnen Hailemariam, with 16 well-known scientists, researchers and professionals in the leather sector as moderators from across the different continents.

At the official opening ceremony of the Congress the IULTCS anthem was played and the Union’s flag was raised. Welcome messages and a keynote speech were provided by Mr Ghebregziabher Ghebremedhin, Acting Executive Director, ALLPI, Dr Luis Zugno, President of IULTCS and His Excellency Mr Tekalegn Bululta, State Minister, Ministry of Industry, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The opening was followed by the presentation of the IULTCS 2021 Merit Award for Excellence in the Leather Industry and then the prestigious keynote lecture of the Congress, the Heidemann Lecture.

IULTCS 2021 Merit Award for Excellence in the Leather Industry was presented to Dr T Ramasami, reknowned for his very significant contributions to the chemistry of chromium as a scientist and his leadership in the Indian leather sector for many years.

The Heidemann Lecture was delivered by Professor Anthony Covington, who has authored over 300 technical publications, received the IULTCS Merit Award for Excellence in the Leather Industry in 2009, and the Alsop Award for Outstanding Scientific Contribution to the Leather Industry from the American Leather Chemists Association in 2011.

Following the official opening and the Heidemann’s Lecture, the three days were divided into different sessions for oral and visual poster presentation of scientific papers. The scientific papers presenters were from all over the world and participants had the opportunity to ask them questions directly on-line and make comments. All the sessions went smoothly in a hybrid mode. The presenters were also honored with a certificate of merit.

Day 1 had 3 oral and 2 poster sessions. A total of twelve papers were presented in oral sessions; they presented new developments with regards to cleaner technologies for the leather processing, composite materials and utilization of leather waste resources, and Environmental Management Technologies in the leather industry.

Day 2 followed with 4 oral and 3 poster sessions. The papers presented in the oral sessions were 16 in number and focused on the areas of intelligent manufacturing of leather products, cleaner technologies for the leather processing, leather chemicals. As well as Environmental Management Technologies, leather industry entrepreneurship and progress towards sustainability,

Day 3, the final day, had 2 oral and 2 visual poster sessions. The topics and contents of the orally presented scientific papers, that were 9 in number, focused on the areas of scientific research of leather and fashion, life style leather products and design innovation.

At the closing ceremony of the Congress the IULTCS anthem was played and the Union’s flag was handed over to the host of the next Congress, which is the China Leather Industry Association (CLIA). This was followed by a vote of thanks by Dr Wolfram Scholz from Austria. Closing remarks by ALLPI Acting Executive Director Mr Ghebregziabiher Ghebremedhin, ALLPI Board of Directors Chairperson, Mr Sekandi Abdul Hakim, and closing speeches by the incoming President of IULTCS, Mr Jean-Pierre Gualino and the current President of IULTCS, Dr Luis Zugno.

All the speakers expressed their satisfaction with respect to the level of organisation of the Congress, the diversity of the topics discussed and by the in-depth insight gained in the different aspects of the leather making and environmental sustainability. Organisers also thanked the Gold sponsor, TFL; the silver sponsor, Pittards and the Bronze sponsors JICA, Chromogenia, ATC, Buckman and Ethiopian Airlines.

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