Happy Lunar New Year from ISSI-BJ Executive Director

 Dear friends, colleagues and ISSI-BJ supporters more broadly,

The first post-pandemic year has flown by at ISSI-BJ, with many previously suspended activities resuming and increasing in intensity. Almost without having realized the passing of time given our busy schedule, the 2024 lunar new year is almost upon us. The new lunar year, which is due to begin on 10 February 2024 and last until 28 January 2025, promises to be highly auspicious. 
We are about to enter the Year of the Wood Dragon. According to the Chinese zodiac, the Dragon’s mythical force symbolizes strength, authority and courage. It also promises prosperity, honour and good fortune. As a supernatural entity, the Dragon represents unparalleled talent and excellence. These are all excellent attributes and, indeed, at ISSI-BJ these are the programmatic aspects we consider our top priorities. We aim to further develop our institution as the prime networking venue for space scientists in East Asia. However, we want to be more than just a physical venue; we are keen to contribute to and facilitate scientific excellence as a key driver of our work!
The Wu Xing or Five Elements Theory, which governs the traditional Chinese zodiacal philosophy, refers to five elements—wood, fire, earth, metal and water. All elements must remain balanced, so when one increases in strength, others must necessarily retreat. Wood adds fuel to the fire, and so the qualities of the Dragon will be enhanced and intensified this year. Although there is a bit of unpredictability to the Dragon, I hope that its attributes will serve you well! 
At ISSI-BJ we hope to strengthen our links to our community, with particular emphasis on Asian space scientists. However, we can only do so with your assistance. This is, therefore, an open invitation to consider us as your venue of choice for the facilitation of excellence in space science! Get in touch and consider the sky your limit.

May the (Dragon’s) force be with you!
Richard de Grijs
(Executive Director, ISSI-BJ)
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