Creating the International Year of Glass 2022 – The journey so far…

 Creating the International Year of Glass 2022 – The journey so far…

In May 2021, the news that glass communities everywhere had been waiting for was broadcast around the world over a virtual link; the United Nations had agreed to endorse 2022 as the International Year of Glass.

The application itself had been prepared over the previous 18 months. It included a thirty minute video clip, an electronic brochure and printed documents explaining how glassy materials can play a vital role in helping the world achieve the humanitarian goals encompassed within the UN 2030 declarations. These can be accessed through the IYOG web site at

The submission of this application and its subsequent administration has rested largely on the International Commission of Glass, and especially on the shoulders of Prof Alicia Duran (Spain). Indeed the Spanish Ambassador, a colleague of Prof Duran was a great help in steering the UN application through its various stages. Importantly we were joined by the Community of Glass Associations and the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Glass (ICOM). Through our web site we have to date gathered almost two thousand letters of endorsement from 81 countries; many of these were submitted with the UN documentation.

There were many hurdles to overcome on the journey, not least the consequences of the Covid Pandemic. Although time for organisation is now short the consequences of social isolation caused by Covid has left a thirst for group activities and we already have in place several international events. The foremost of these is the Opening Ceremony in Geneva from 10-11th February. This will include an array of internationally recognised speakers and they are primed to explain the role that Glass can take in relation to the UN 2030 goals. The audience will be limited in size by COVID restrictions and some of these will be important political figures. But to make it more generally available it will be live-streamed on the internet for those unable to attend. A book whose chapters focus on the various UN 2030 goals will also be released during the event. Apart from the Opening ceremony, the ICG Triennial Congress in Berlin in July will be part of the IYOG programme as well as the DGG’s centenary celebrations and a closing ceremony will take place in Japan.

Several Trade Fairs will showcase parallel events promoting IYOG2022 Glass and its vital role in Society, in particular VITRUM in Milan, 5th-8th October, 2021; Glasspex/Glasspro in Mumbai, 3rd-5th March, 2022; the China International Glass Industrial Technical Exhibition, Shanghai, 13th-16th April, 2022; GLASSMAN, in Monterrey, 11th-12th May; Mir Stekla in Moscow, 6th-9th June; and Glasstech in Düsseldorf, 20th-23th September, 2022.

Already agreed to are: a) a US Glass Day in Washington DC, June 2022, b) an event in April/May to celebrate the discovery of ancient Egyptian glass in King Tutankhamun’s Tomb, ‘From Pharaohs to High Tech Glass in Egypt’, April-May 2022, c) an ‘Iberoamerican International Congress Women in Glass. Artists and scientists’ in Madrid, Spain, d) an International Festival of Art, Stourbridge, UK, August, e) a place within the Venice Biennale in September, f) Special issues of several dedicated glass Journals and many other activities.

To help coordinate and publicise these and many more events various committees have been created although the final effort will rest firmly on the shoulders of local organisers. These committees include a) an overarching Steering Committee and b) a council made up of representatives from all the various regional committees representing groups of countries that endorsed the original proposal. Local regional committees united by geography and language will be responsible for the organisation of and publicity for the programme they create and are expected to offer a wide range and varied programme of events promoting glass. For example, the Indian community has already launched a photographic competition for younger people with the remit to capture aspects of glass in everyday society. Others are planning legacy projects to leave a permanent mark, museum displays, U tube clips, Art Gallery exhibitions, special issues of stamps, factory Open Days, flood lit archaeological sites, books, conferences. The list continues to grow.

The core committees intend to promote educational programmes and create a worldwide network that will share best practice and imaginative teaching materials for all levels of education. So ICG educational schools in France and China will be themed around the UN 2030 goals.  Another aspiration is to achieve gender neutrality, in all activities.

We have on board various Museum and Art institutions and aim to coordinate a wide range of events displaying and extolling the virtues of Glass, the variety of its uses and its value over millennia for the public with varied interests from Art through Architecture to Science and Technologies.

There is no intention to organise events centrally – after all, we hope there will be as many as 10 000 activities throughout the year. What the central organisation can offer is access to the IYOG logo and a network of contacts to facilitate sharing of ideas and distribution of prepared materials such as posters, display boards, articles, comics, U tube clips and so on. So, we hope that you, our readers will be inspired to grasp this opportunity to promote all aspects of glass production, the wide sweep of its history, its contributions to the arts, its imaginative use in architecture, its recyclability, and the many roles of glass in ensuring our well-being in both poor and rich communities. Your input in organising events and supporting activities both in person and if you can financially too, will help to ensure a memorable event for the whole of society.

For further information please see our website ( It is currently being developed to include a tool for donations and a list of key contacts and a database where planned activities can be uploaded so visitors can discover what is happening locally.

Article courtesy of IYOG2022