As President of IEEE AP-S

Thanks for a wonderful and eventful year!

This is my last President’s Message to our IEEE Antennas and Propagation (AP-S) Society, and it has been a real honor to serve all of you in this capacity. I have been humbled by the trust placed in me, and, though we faced many unforeseen challenges, I have truly enjoyed serving our members and getting to better know more of you. It is my hope that, by the time you read this message, the pandemic will not be in our way as we go back to our “normal” lives.
Throughout this year, I worked with many wonderful volunteers whose accumulated efforts and diligence made and continue to make our Society strong and healthy. I would like to thank the past presidents, president-elect, editors-in-chief, Administrative Committee (AdCom) members, committee chairs and members, Society representatives, and many other volunteers for their hard work and continuous help. As the saying goes, “In every crisis, there is an opportunity,” and I had the chance to virtually meet around the clock with many members and Chapters, address conferences, and participate in workshops all over the IEEE Regions. This has been a rewarding experience, and I hope that I will be able to continue to do some of this in the future, hopefully in person.
Our Society is in good shape in most aspects, and our membership is growing. We now have more Chapters around the globe, and new ones are being created in Regions where we did not have ways to reach to the members there. Our committee members, including those in the newly created ones I mentioned in my last message, are very active and working diligently under the present challenging situations. New initiatives are continuously evolving. We also still have many challenges lying ahead of us.
I am writing this message on 20 October, and the situation with our flagship conference in Singapore seems to be moving forward. I hope many of us will be able to attend the first of these held outside of North America in person.
In September, I had a wonderful opportunity to attend an AdCom meeting of our sister Society, the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S), in Boston as per an invitation from MTT-S President Dr. Gregory Lyons. Almost half of the attendees were members; it was a wonderful experience for me: we have so much in common.
I am glad to report that we finalized ongoing negotiations and signed two memorandums of understanding (MOUs) for two joint events to be equally sponsored by the AP-S and MTT-S. The first one is with regard to joining the MTT-S-sponsored International Microwave and Radio-Frequency Conference and Indian Conference on Antennas and Propagation into one major conference called MACON. Previously, both of these conferences were held separately, and the decision was made based on discussions with Chapter chairs and many of our colleagues in India. The second MOU involves an initiative called the International Symposium on Microwaves and Antennas that both Societies have been working to serve and initiate new membership in Africa. It is expected that the first edition of both conferences will take place late next year.
I would like to thank all of the members who offered to volunteer and put their names up for elections. I congratulate those who were elected and thank Nomination Committee Chair Prof. Mahta Moghaddam for a job well done. I would like to  welcome our new president-elect, Stefano Maci, and our newly elected four AdCom members, Anisha Apte, Reyhan Baktur, Ashwin Ayer, and Jiro Hirokaw. They bring wonderful experiences that will enrich the AdCom and our Society. I also would like to acknowledge the tremendous support and help I received from the Royal Military College of Canada.
For several decades, I have been an active member of this wonderful and dynamic Society and witnessed it progress wonderfully over the years. This year, I tried my best, and I hope the new initiatives we have done together will have a positive impact on all of our operations and benefit Society members as well as humanity. I will continue to serve the Society in my capacity as a past president and help in any way I can.
My sincere thanks again for a wonderful and eventful year and best wishes for happy holidays.

Resilience Under New "Boundary Conditions"

As this challenging year continues, I would like to share with you some relevant information about our activities as well as the efforts by our committee members and many other volunteers who diligently continue to devote their time and efforts in service of our Society. Many thanks to all. We have all had challenges in carrying out activities on many fronts as we continue to navigate the unpredictable boundary conditions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and its variants. Online meetings have become the norm, and I attended many meetings with our sister Societies, Chapter functions, and IEEE-organized events, including the Technical Activities Board (TAB) meeting in June. We held our Summer Administrative Committee (AdCom) meetings virtually in July, with participation by AdCom members, committee chairs, and special invitees.
At our Summer AdCom meetings, we had reports from some committees, and I am glad to report that most of our functions are in good shape and continue to effectively move forward. A significant effort has been devoted to dealing with our conferences and the challenges presented by the current situations and the future. Also, an ongoing extensive review of our conferences, both financially and/or the technically sponsored ones, by the meeting’s committee chair and the members, continues. This is also being done in collaboration with the IEEE Meetings and Conference Events.
Our prestigious publications continue to receive excellent reviews. IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation is a good example, as it continues to be the second- or third-most downloaded among the many IEEE publications. Other Society publications are also moving in the same direction. It takes hardworking and dedicated teams to achieve this excellence. Many thanks to our editors and their hard-working teams who continue to deliver this consistent level of excellence.
New initiatives are planned for rollout for the benefit of all our members worldwide. They include the Membership/Benefits Committee’s plan to offer 22 student travel grants (US$1,000 each) to attend this year’s flagship IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society (AP-S)/International Union of Radio Science (URSI) Symposium in Singapore and the Mojgan Daneshmand Grant for AP-S female members (jointly with the Women In Engineering Committee), where US$9,000 is allocated to aid six female students in attending the AP-S/URSI Symposium in Singapore. Another AP-S Undergraduate Summer Research grant, with an allocation of US$50,000 jointly with the Membership/Benefits Committee and AP-S Education Committee, planned to establish 15–20 scholarships for undergraduate students worldwide to join research groups in the areas of antennas and propagation
in their respective countries over the summer in 2022. A program similar to the Distinguished Lecturer Program is planned and named the Distinguished Industry Speakers Series at the AP-S/URSI Symposium, which is also a joint initiative of the Membership/Benefits and Industry Committees.
It is heartening to note that COVID-19 challenges have not significantly affected our membership or Chapters activities. I  am happy to share that, under the guidance and relentless leadership of the chair of our Chapter Activities Committee (CAC), Chapter activities have been gradually restored to their pre-pandemic states and beyond. AP-S membership is now approximately 10,200, and the total number of Chapters/joint Chapters worldwide is 198 as of 10 August 2021. The CAC chair and regional coordinators maintain continuous and prompt communications with AP-S Chapters, help in establishing new Chapters, facilitate the virtual Chapters’ events, and offer possible financial support.
Several other initiatives are planned by the new Committee on Promoting Equality (COPE) and the IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) to provide opportunities in science and technology to underserved communities of our membership. In this regard, a special-purpose fund of US$500 has been approved for promoting equality (including gender, race, and orientation). The application forms for this fund can be downloaded from the AP-S website at https://ieeeaps.org/chapters/chapters.
These steps will help in promoting an inclusive and equitable culture at local community and Chapter events. Our AP-S COPE Committee hopes to engage and reward those Chapters that contribute to the COPE’s mission. The Chapters are also encouraged to contact AP-S CAC regional coordinators for additional funding of up to US$3,000 for special targeted activities. These activities are jointly supported by the AP-S COPE, AP-S SIGHT, AP-S Member and Geographic Activities, and AP-S CAC budgets under the special project category to carry out and/or support impactful humanitarian and sustainable development activities at the local-Chapter level.
The SIGHT Committee, along with the IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee, has planned a similar call for proposals to support IEEE Members’ grassroots humanitarian technology and sustainable development projects that utilize technology to address local realities of the COVID-19 situation or other issues of pressing community need. New SIGHT groups have been established within an existing IEEE organizational unit, such as a Section or Student Branch that does not yet have an affiliated SIGHT group. We encourage IEEE Members to join IEEE SIGHT as the membership is free. For more information, please visit the IEEE AP-S SIGHT website at https://www.ieeeaps.org/committees/ieee-aps-sight.
The chair of the Young Professionals (YPs) Committee has brought together an enthusiastic group of volunteer members who are contributing relentlessly and effectively. As many of you have seen, the “Young Professionals” column appears in IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, and more are expected in upcoming issues. An initiative called the IEEE AP-S Young Ambassadors Program has been launched, and a call for nominations is now open at https://www.ieeeaps.org/committees/ypa. In keeping with the current times and having a social media presence, the YPs Committee has launched a LinkedIn page,
https://www.linkedin.com/company/ieee-aps-yp, where various AP-S announcements/activities that are of interest to AP-S YPs are posted. The aim is to enhance the AP-S environment to provide a stronger community for the YPs to engage. This could be a win-win situation for both young members and the Society and promote two-way mentoring efforts for our members.
We all know it is important for the AP-S to engage a diverse audience and attract new members, YPs, students, women engineers, educators, entrepreneurs, and so on for learning and networking as membership expands in various regions and especially in Asia, across Africa and the Middle East, and South America. Our international membership is the heart of our Society. These were the issues of concern discussed at length during the TAB meeting in June 2021. Also, an ad hoc committee on membership and dues has been chartered to explore options regarding potential reductions to IEEE membership dues and other arrangements or options to be considered by the IEEE Board at the end of this year. This could bring more opportunities to a larger community.
We plan to revamp our website to make it more appealing, informative, and interactive for our members. Administrative help for our committees is also necessary for more effective service. We have two ad hoc committees working on these aspects, and I hope to report on this as well as on the work of other committees in my next article. I welcome more suggestions from AP-S members on how we can best serve the Society.
Our plans for the flagship conference are moving forward; however, it is difficult to know what the COVID-19 situation will be at that time. I remain hopeful that many of us will meet in Singapore.

Moving Forward

Once again, it is my pleasure to address IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society (AP-S) members and provide a brief report on our activities as we move on in 2021. I am writing this message on 18 April 2021, and, as was the situation last year, the waves of the global pandemic are still presenting challenges in many aspects of our lives, both as a whole and in our operations and technical activities. I would like to present to our members a brief idea about some of the main activities during this year and the way ahead as I see it.
During the months of January and February, we held elections for committee chairs and members as well as the Society representatives to various IEEE and Societal organizations. In the lead-up to this process, I held discussions and solicited input from many of our Society past presidents and many members from our 10 geographical Regions. I held meetings with previous and new committee chairs, Administration Committee (AdCom) members, and Society representatives to learn about and seek feedback on relevant issues and challenges.
I made recommendations, as mandated by our bylaws for the responsibility of the president, for the AdCom members to vote on. In all of these involving changes in committee membership, thorough consideration was given to enable diversity and inclusion from all Regions of our membership, effectiveness, and the introduction of new perspectives. Our Society is very rich in terms of excellent volunteers, and there is always room for new volunteers to come on board.
The process is almost complete for now, with many updates and new initiatives introduced. Some examples include the new Committee on Promotion of Equality under the leadership of Past President Prof. Weng Chew and the newly structured Young Professionals Committee headed by our colleague Dr. C.J. Reddy. You will find more details on this in upcoming issues of IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine.
Again, I would like to express my gratitude to previous officers, committee chairs, and Society representatives for their hard work and dedication. AP-S is in good shape because of volunteers’ work in all aspects of our activities. As is always the case with a dynamic Society like ours, the nature of our profession, and the field of interest, many challenges lie ahead.
Our first AdCom meeting took place in March; some committees reports were discussed, and plans were made for the future. Arrangements for our flagship conference in Singapore later this year are in place, and the location for upcoming conferences until 2028 have been decided.
As expected, several challenges were identified and addressed in the executive session held 10 April 2021. Detailed discussions about our operations, revitalizing our website and our inter-Society communications, needed administrative support, intercommittee and inter-Society collaborations, how to move on to best serve members, and solutions as we move forward were addressed. Thank you to the AdCom members, our president-elect, and past presidents who volunteered to serve on ad hoc committees to look at some of the aforementioned activities.
Among other identified issues is the need to continue the revision of our bylaws and operating manual to help us proceed effectively and smoothly with fewer hurdles or “bureaucracy.” A vital component of our operation is our main conferences and their many sponsors. We need to follow on the process that started in 2020: to establish how these activities are optimally managed to serve the best interests of members and the Society. We always welcome feedback, suggestions, and constructive criticism to help advance the Society we all “own.”
As we move forward to improve the services we provide to our membership, we are always looking for volunteers. The role we play in shaping the present and future of our electromagnetics knowledge and its foundation to engineering is important. The support we provide to our members in maintaining their technical currency and proficiency across their careers and the roles we play in shaping university education and research are vital. As volunteers within AP-S, we provide trusted help. Thank you.

© 2022 Dr Yahia M M Antar