9th International Child Neurology Congress
The Joint Meeting of the 9th International Child Neurology Con- gress (ICNC) and the 7th Asian and Oceanian Congress of Child Neurology (AOCCN) was held in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, from September 20 to 25, 2002. There were 1137 participants from 72 countries and regions attending.
Professor Xi-Ru Wu from the Department of Pediatrics, First Hospital, Peking University Health Science Center, was the congress president, and Professor Yoshiyuki Suzuki was the chairman of the Scientific Program Com- mittee. The secretariat included three secretary-generals: Dr Yu- Wu Jiang and Dr Xin-Hua Bao from the Department of Pediatrics, First Hospital, Peking University Health Science Center and Mr Shao-Yuan Wu from the China International Conference Center for Science and Technology (CICCST), the professional conference organization of this congress. They are smart young persons.
The China International Conference Center for Science and Technol- ogy has a very strong team led by Mr Wu. This is the first world- wide international child neurology congress held in the People’s Republic of China. After the congress, we received many positive and warm responses, such as e-mails and letters from participants from different countries and regions. Here are some examples:
Dr Joseph Volpe wrote, “The meeting was beautifully organized and scientifically stimulating. Sara and I greatly enjoyed our visits to the wonderful sites in and around Beijing.”
Dr Jean Aicardi wrote, “Many thanks for all the work you did for the meeting and for the very nice and friendly atmosphere that you created. The scientific quality of the meeting was truly outstanding, and this, I heard, was the general opinion of the people I talked to.”
Dr Yoshiyuki Suzuki wrote, “First, I congratulate you on the great success of the International Child Neurology Congress in Beijing. All of the colleagues I met and spoke to commented that it was the most successful meeting in the history of the International Child Neurology Association. I am proud that you all contributed much to the organization of the meeting, and you are rewarded by warm appreciation from all participants.”
Dr Hung Kun-Long (Chinese Taipei) wrote, “It was my great pleasure to enjoy the Joint Congress of the 9th International Child Neurology Congress and the 7th Asian and Oceanian Congress of Child Neurology in Beijing last month. Congratulations; the meeting was one of the best I have ever attended.”
Dr Kerr Alison wrote, “The congress was a huge undertaking, and I and all of my colleagues felt that it was exceedingly well organized. All of the staff were so helpful, and there was a very happy spirit throughout the meeting.”
Dr Roger Brumback wrote, “It was a tremendous scientific/social experience for me, and my wife loved the terrific tours available.”
Dr Kenneth Swaiman wrote, “The meeting was wonderful. I am so proud of you!”
Letters and e-mails are still coming. All of these friendly responses encouraged the colleagues a great deal. Hosting this huge congress in Beijing makes us proud indeed. We shall never forget the friendship, help, encouragement, and contribution from the entire board of the International Child Neurology Association and Asian and Oceanian Congress of Child Neurology, from all of the organizations and company sponsors, and from all of our colleagues and friends.
Every achievement belongs to all of them. The achievements of the scientific program resulted from the enormous endeavor for more than 2 years of hard work. Professor Yoshiyuki Suzuki not only organized the program committee meetings, he also frequently communicated with his friends and pediatric neurologists in the International Child Neurology Association and Asian and Oceanian Congress of Child Neurology boards to encourage them to suggest the main topics and potential speakers from different countries. We paid considerable attention to new problems in the new century, recently updated topics, clinical practical child neurology problems, and special problems in developing countries.
We decided to try to invite worldly, wellknown speakers in different fields of child neurology, and, according to the suggestions from the committee members, we finally organized 10 morning sessions, one keynote lecture, 5 plenary sessions, 10 topic updates, 16 symposia, 3 workshop sessions, 1 Ford Memorial Lecture, and 1 Prichard Award Lecture during the 5 days of the congress—altogether, 120 well-known invited speakers.
All of the lectures, such as the keynote lecture, plenary sessions, topic updates, and the Ford and Prichard lectures, became the highlights of the congress. Almost all of the main meeting halls were full of participants, and the lectures were wonderful, with very active discussions.
To encourage as many young scientists as possible to give oral presentations and increase the enthusiasm of the participation, the Scientific Program Committee intended to schedule the free paper session midday (from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm) every day, followed by the symposia.
This arrangement enabled many to attend the free paper sessions but made the whole program too “crowded” for the participants. Nevertheless, most participants said that they enjoyed it. As we know, even on the final day of the congress, there were still many audiences in the last four symposia, with very active discussions.
The topics of the program included not only the Human Genome Project, developmental neuroscience, neurogenetics, and channelopathy but also central nervous system infectious diseases, epilepsies, pervasive disorders, behavioral and learning problems, and child neurology education.
Dr Suzuki and his Scientific Program Committee also paid attention to traditional oriental medicine and organized a special symposium for this. Four Chinese (including a speaker from Hong Kong) child neurologists and neuroscientists gave lectures in this session, which was well attended. More than 840 abstracts were published in the journal Brain and Development, and the members of the scientific committee and the reviewers contributed a lot to this work.
The congress organization and social program were designed based on the principles of high quality and high order, making the participants feel happy, enjoyable, safe, and convenient and creating a friendly atmosphere, so that everyone could concentrate on the scientific program.
For this purpose, the president and the secretariat worked very hard for more than 2 years, before and during the congress, to design a high-quality social program in details, to do fundraising, to find the most suitable meeting rooms and the best equipment, to choose the best performance teams, to arrange the accommodation, to serve the daily lunch buffet, to organize the free excursion to the Summer Palace and the local tour, to rent shuttle buses to the hotels and downtown, and to establish the pick-up station in the airport.
All of these arrangements were highly appreciated by all participants. One of the highlights was the opening ceremony. The vice-president of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, Professor JP Wu, sent a letter extending his congratulations, and the minister of health of China, Professor WK Zhang, and the president of Peking University Health Science Center, Professor QD Han, attended the ceremony. Professors XR Wu, Yoshiyuki Suzuki, Shaul Harel, and Yokio Fukuyama gave welcome addresses.
Entertainment was provided by the famous Peking Child Martial School and the Children and Young Women’s Chorus of the China National Symphony Orchestra. All performances were in the traditional Chinese style, representing the health, peace, and happiness of Chinese children. The high-quality Chinese kung fu and the excellent singing attracted all participants, and some of the attendees were moved deeply and even in tears.
The congress dinner, with the excellent performance by the Peking University Student Choir, was another highlight. Some of the participants could not help but join in the dancing. During the dinner, Dr Shaul Harel transferred the International Child Neurology Association hammer to the new president, Dr Paolo Curatolo.
Both the opening and the closing ceremonies ended with the same song because the lyrics of this song expressed our good wishes to all participants: “The same happiness has given us the same song; please take up my song and carry it home, please leave your smile here for us.”
Also, it is worth mentioning that for the past 2 years, there was a well-trained group of young people from the China International Conference Center for Science and Technology and the Department of Pediatrics, Peking University First Hospital, mainly MD, PhD, master’s, postdoctoral, and undergraduate medical students.
They received very strict training before the congress and did excellent work during the congress under the guidance of three secretary-generals. They worked in almost every place before and during the congress, such as helping printing and editing the abstracts, acting as the master of ceremonies (Dr Xiang Cai), picking up the participants at the airport, operating the slide projectors and computers, helping authors to put on the posters, guiding the participants to lunch and dinner, and helping the participants with special problems.
Their hard work was perfect and made the congress a success. The congress ended, but we believe that the friendships with our colleagues will remain. We look forward to meeting all friends in the near future and also welcome all of them to visit China again.
Xi-Ru Wu, Yu-Wu Jiang and Xin-Hua Bao
This article first appeared in J Child Neurol 2003 18: 131