May has always been a very busy time for the WGO and its officers. During the month of May we meet as the various committees of the organization and it is as a consequence of these meetings that major decisions are made.
May 2015 was no different and indeed during this week a number of significant decisions have been made that we hope shall stand the organization in good stead for many years to come.
All of these decisions have been approved by the Governing Council, but still require ratification at the General Assembly to be held in Brisbane during Gastro 2105.
In recognition of the maturity of WGO, with major congresses every two years and thematic meetings in the in between years, a major decision has been made to hold future council and committee meetings at the time of WGO sponsored congresses rather than the meetings which up until now have been held during the USA based DDW. We believe that as a world organization we need to meet in the world and move around the globe as the meeting venues change. This will provide better opportunities for those who have an affiliation with WGO at the leadership level to better participate in our committee structures.
A change in the governing structure has also been approved, creating a 12 member council representing the committees of WGO as well as the executive leadership group. This group shall be the driving engine of WGO, whilst the Executive shall continue to administer its day to day activities.
An important initiative which generated a lot of interest and significant support is the development of individual memberships of WGO in order to value-add on the existing membership through the member society.
WGO is an organization with 110 member societies. Currently it does not have individual memberships. However, each individual who is a member of one of the WGO member societies is as a consequence a member of WGO. Most of the member societies convey this arrangement to their members and also indicate to them the benefits derived from such a membership. Each member society pays a fee of US$3 per member for their right to be members of WGO.
The benefits of what may be called “standard membership” for any individual is access to WGO activities via their member society, i.e. nomination to attend programs such as TTTs, nomination to WGO committees, and provision of information as well as educational material produced by WGO.
The proposed “individual membership” shall value-add to what any one member receives from WGO over and above what they receive via membership of their member society. It will in no way compete with membership of a member society, as in order to be eligible for individual membership a person will need to demonstrate active membership of their WGO member society (where there is such a society). In parts of the world where there is no WGO member society then individual membership will provide a person direct access to the benefits of membership of WGO.
We are in the process of developing the value-added membership benefits and these may include, subscription to the WGO official journal, discounts on registration for the World Congress, and access to some of the WGO programs.
I welcome your input on this initiative which is designed to strengthen the value received by colleagues from around the world due to their membership of the world organization. It is my view that this initiative shall strengthen the bonds between WGO and its member societies for the benefit of both. Individual membership potentially opens opportunities for colleagues, through involvement with the world organization and its educational activities on a global scale.
Emeritus Professor of Surgery
President, World Gastroenterology Organisation