March 30, 2020
Dear colleagues and friends
It has been an honor to serve this great association – the World Endoscopy Organization (WEO) – as President from 2017 to 2020. Thanks to my predecessors, WEO has a strong organizational structure and great support from member societies. This has meant that over the past three years I have had the opportunity to work with many excellent and committed endoscopists across the globe. Travelling extensively, I have focused on strengthening WEO’s bonds with member societies whilst building new relationships. I am proud to say that WEO continues to grow and that we truly are a unifying global endoscopy organization.
I have been ably guided and counseled by all the members of the WEO Executive Committee who have tirelessly contributed to the growth of our organization, initiating new programs while continuing the activities already in place. The successful conclusion of ENDO 2020 despite the fears and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 was no small feat, as all will agree.
I would like to highlight some of WEO’s key achievements of the last 3 years:
- We have developed a new relationship with the Chinese endoscopic community. I had the honor and opportunity to visit and lecture at multiple centers. But for the travel restrictions due to COVID-19, there would have been a large presence of the Chinese Society of Digestive Endoscopy (CSDE) and Chinese Society of Gastroenterology (CSGE) at ENDO 2020. When the present disruption is over, we will see a greater participation of our colleagues from China in the activities of WEO.
- Under the leadership of their Chair, Professor Linda Rabeneck (Canada), the CRC Screening Committee has met regularly and has created regional subgroups. Their multiple publications in major GI journals attest to their work.
- We have developed and implemented the individual membership program and have continued to grow the CORE membership project (Collaboration of Organized and Recognized Endoscopy units).
- Thanks to my colleague, Professor Lars Aabakken (Norway) who is active in the African region, we have been able to start the first official WEO/ESGE training center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
- We have initiated new educational programs, including the WEO International School of EUS (WISE) program headed by Professor Dong-Wan Seo (South Korea), and the WEO Fellowship program that initially focuses on ERCP training.
- Our Emerging Stars program under the leadership of Professor Ibrahim Mostafa (Egypt), to provide promising young doctors with the skills to become leaders in the field, forming the “next generation” network of experts.
- We have launched our first Endoscopy Tour in South America, in which I personally participated. This took our most popular training activities on the road and leveraged the best skills of our experts.
- Our partnership with the Brazilian Society of Digestive Endoscopy (SOBED) and the Interamerican Society of Digestive Endoscopy (SIED) – I cannot thank them enough for their help and partnership in organizing ENDO 2020 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- Thanks to the Scientific Committee, a very large number of abstracts were submitted for ENDO 2020 and, notably, there was a gratifyingly high number from emerging countries.
While I am proud as a President of the growth and achievements of WEO, I am also humbled by the great dedication and commitment of members that has contributed to the development of our organization.
I would like to thank you all for your advice, and suggestions over time. Being the President of WEO is a significant commitment requiring much absence from home, and I would like to thank my family for their support during this time. Of course, all this would not have been possible without the help of our WEO Secretariat, with Hilary Hamilton-Gibbs, Ruth Bucksch, Bibiana Arcos and the rest of the team.
I remain heavily committed to WEO and the organization will have my continuing support.
Heartiest congratulations to Fabian Emura who is taking over the baton. He is an able leader and will lead WEO to new heights. I believe the future of endoscopy is bright!
With very best wishes