In February 2017, WEO welcomed its new president, Dr Jean-Francois Rey, from France. Below he shares some of his insights and expectations for his three-year presidency of the organization.

What will be the priorities for WEO during your presidency?

My first priority will be to continue the good work of my predecessors, who brought WEO to where it stands today. Tony Axon, Jerry Waye, Bill Chao and Nagi Reddy have contributed greatly to the society and provided a strong foundation for which I am very thankful. An important part of my presidency will be to strengthen WEO’s ties to the WEO Zones and national societies through educational activities. It is one of WEO’s mandates to support education and we have developed several educational programs. Support to emerging countries and networking will be an important part of my presidency. I am delighted that a breakfast meeting with the presidents of other major societies, such as SIED, ASGE, ESGE and JGES is now held at major congresses, to brainstorm on ways to strengthen the cooperation between societies.

Tell us some of your motivations for becoming involved with WEO.

To answer this question, I need to go back to my beginnings in the world of medical associations. As a young doctor, I became very active in the French society of endoscopy as I felt it was crucial for the standards of practice to be developed by scientific societies and not left in the hands of healthcare authorities. I was very involved in the creation of guidelines and continued this when serving the European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy as guidelines committee chair and then president. Today this is still a major concern of mine and, alongside my other passion for furthering education – I will remain involved in this area during my WEO presidency.

DEN is the official journal of JGES and WEO. Does WEO have any special bonds with this society?

We are proud to name Digestive Endoscopy as our official journal. Recently, WEO published a position statement on hygiene (editor’s note: the statement is open access and available online: and we look forward to developing, together with colleagues, further position statements. I would personally like to explore the development of short cascade position statements for minimal standards of practice which would also be applicable for emerging countries.

Tell us about some of the activities that WEO is planning during your presidency.

Well, apart from publications and educational programs, the Standardization committee is working hard on further developing the Minimal Standard Terminology in endoscopy. Planning the next world congress 2020 in South America will also be a priority.

What do you foresee as the main challenges for endoscopists in the next years?

One big challenge for the world of endoscopy is retaining a healthy balance between new, exciting and costly technologies and ensuring that regular daily practice is upheld. These new technologies are naturally important but must be seen in relation to what is already available – and they need to be used properly. Another challenge is controlling the quality of endoscopy units. It is commendable to have an “external eye” to provide evaluation and WEO may set up a team to provide guidance to help units improve their facilities.