The months of July, August, and September are the relaxing months for many who live in the Northern Hemisphere. For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, they are the months of winter and the lucky few may take vacations to warmer climes. During this period the world experiences many festivals, be it cultural or sporting.
We have recently experienced the wonderful spectacle of the FIFA Football World Cup and the Tour de France. Both of these major events highlight what is good in the world, in particular, when we can bring all in the world together in the spirit of friendly competition and collaboration.
The activities of WGO are very similar!
The “raison d’être” for WGO is no different to that of the major world sporting events. WGO aims to bring together health professionals who have a common interest in the management of Gastrointestinal diseases. It provides the only opportunity for clinicians and scientists from all parts of the world to meet face to face, discuss their common interests, and as a consequence start or evolve lifelong collaborations.
Of course there are a number of national and regional congresses which highlight the science of Gastroenterology, and we in WGO applaud their ongoing success. This is no different to the Football comparison where many successful national and regional competitions thrive. However as the only world organization that encompasses all aspects of the specialty of Gastroenterology, the WGO World Congresses fulfill a role which is unique as they highlight those aspects of Gastroenterology which are truly global.
In order to remain vibrant, relevant and inclusive of the needs of our member societies, the WGO Congresses will take place every two years, starting with the 2015 congress in Brisbane held in conjunction with the Gastroenterological Society of Australia. This, and subsequent World Congresses, will highlight a change in paradigm. The major partner at each congress shall be our member society and shall be held at the time of their annual meeting. The enlarged programme shall reflect the global reach of WGO and highlight the many WGO activities as well as the activities of our member societies.
Gastro 2015: AGW/WGO International Congress will be held on September 28 to October 2, 2015 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Brisbane is an outstanding venue to host a congress. The convention centre and congress hotels are located on the banks of the beautiful Brisbane River in the cultural and entertainment precinct. Following each day’s convention activities, there will be many opportunities to sample the sunny weather and warm Brisbane hospitality. For those who have not been to Australia before, it will also be an opportunity to visit some of the iconic Australian natural wonders, such as the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and Kakadoo. In addition, Brisbane has many flight connections to all Australian cities and of course, is a major international gateway.
I invite you to start making your plans to come to Brisbane, Gastro 2015. I guarantee a warm sunny welcome.
Emeritus Professor of Surgery
President, World Gastroenterology Organisation