My experiences with the EFNS
By Johan A. Aarli – Secretary General 2003-2005
I was the Norwegian Delegate to the new Paneuropean Society of Neurology, which had its meeting in Vienna December 8-14, 1991. Much thanks to Lord Walton, the President of the World Federation of Neurology, the name of the society was changed to European Federation of Neurological Societies, EFNS.
The first EFNS Congress took place in Berlin December 8-11, 1993, and we had a full meeting December 9th on Neurology in Europe, including a symposium on ”The need for teaching courses”. I was elected Chairman of the Liaison committee of the EFNS. There was not much activity in the Liaison committee at that time, because the institution was so new and we had difficulties in defining the mandate of the committee. We were concerned about the Decade of the Brain, which had been launched in USA by AAN in 1990, and we discussed if and how the individual member societies could organize their own “Year of the brain”, which many countries eventually did during the 1990es.
The next EFNS congress was held in Poznan November 23-27, 1994. As chairman of the Liaison committee, I also participated in the Management Committee meeting Tuesday November 24. The Poznan meeting was well organized. The constitution had already been written and was accepted unanimously. It had already been decided that the next EFNS congress would take place in Marseilles 1995 with professor Serratrice as the President of the congress. At the Council of Delegates, Jes Olesen was designated President of the EFNS for 1996. We also spent much time in discussing the future European neurological journal, European Journal of Neurology, which was launched in 1994. We realized that at this time, EFNS were clearly behind ENS in preparations. The main event in Poznan was Gajdusek’s lecture on Jacob Creutzfeld’s disease. We enjoyed listening to Händel’s oratory “Samson”. The November weather was grey and dark.
I had my sabbatical at the University of California at Davis during the second half of 1995, and did not participate in the EFNS congress in Marseilles.
The 1996 congress took place in Rome October 30-November 3 at the Hilton, but the official opening was at the University of Rome, “La Sapienza”. The Council of Delegates met at the Hilton. There had been some misunderstandings concerning the Teaching courses, and I was asked to take over as Chair of the Teaching Course Committee from 1997.
In 1997, the World Congress should take place in Buenos Aires, and the EFNS meeting was therefore of a slightly smaller format and took place at the Hilton hotel in Prague June 3-7. We had our first meeting of the Teaching Course Committee June 6, in Hilton Room B. We soon agreed on a pattern which EFNS since has followed. We decided that the Teaching Courses should take place in the days immediately before the congress, Saturday and Sunday. There should be two types of Teaching courses, major (dementia, epilepsy, headache and stroke). The dementia TC was named after Luigi Amaducci as the Luigi Amaducci Teaching Course. The major courses lasted for 4 hours split into two sections each 2 hrs. In addition come 6-8 minor courses that lasted for 2 hrs. Each course should have its convenor, who should be responsible for selection of speakers and also for each speaker handing in a synopsis of the presentation. It was in Prague that we agreed on evaluation forms for teaching courses, modelled after the AAN. We also decided that the speakers should hand in a syllabus covering their presentation.
During the World Congress in Buenos Aires, the Teaching Course Committee met September 17 and decided Teaching Courses for the EFNS congress in Lisbon 1999, corresponding to the decisions taken in Prague.
In 1998, we met in Seville September 19-25. The weather was beautiful, except for the last day, when we should have a great evening sitting in the open air. The organizers did a superb job and the congress became a success. The Teaching courses had been decided in Rome two years earlier. The Symposium “Epilepsy in the Arts” September 22 was a success. We had now reached a stage of planning so we could present a master plan for Teaching Courses also for Copenhagen 2000.
In Seville, a meeting took place between the Management Committee and the European Parkinson Disorder Society. It was decided that EFNS, instead of EFNS organizing special Teaching Courses on Parkinson’s Disease, the European Parkinson Society would take care of the Parkinson courses. Andrew Lees and Eduardo Tolosa were instrumental in this discussion.
The Lisbon conference took place September 7 – 11, 1999. I flew in from Davis, California, where I had my second sabbatical. The Teaching Courses were held Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8, and the formal opening of the congress was September 8. During our stay in Lisbon, a massacre had taken place in the former Portuguese colony East Timor. All statues in Lisbon were in black, and it dominated the Lisbon streets. We had a meeting of the TCC to discuss the programme for Copenhagen, but since the World Congress 2001 would take place in London, there would be no EFNS congress that year. The Copenhagen congress was 14-18 October 2000.
The Teaching Course Committee was never much involved in the Regional Teaching Courses, which were mainly organized by the Prague office.
|Johan A. Aarli, Norway|
Management Committee: 2003-2005
Council of Delegates: 1991 Vienna, Delegate
Council of Delegates: 1993 Berlin, Delegate
Council of Delegates: 1994 Poznan, Delegate
Council of Delegates: 1996 Rome, Delegate
Council of Delegates: 1997 Prague, Delegate
Teaching Course Committee: 1997-1999, Chairperson
Teaching Course Committee: 1999-2001, Chairperson
Teaching Course Committee: 2001-2003, Chairperson
Liaison Committee: 1991-1995, Chairperson