As we come to the end of the 20th century, it seems appropriate to contemplate not only the accomplishments that have been made in the plant sciences, but to wonder about the future. The papers and posters to be presented at the Botany-2000 meeting give us a good perspective on the current state of our knowledge of a wide range of botanical topics; thus, the purpose of the symposium is to look toward the future. What can we predict (hope for!) in terms of discoveries on the origin and evolution of plants? What can we expect with regard to the impact of global change on the world and especially its impact on plants? Each of the symposium speakers has been asked to share their thoughts on how we should be training students of today, so they will be qualified to deal with the challenges of the next century.

Key words: future of botany, global change, origin and evolution of plants, theme symposium, training students