WAIMH President’s Welcome

As announced in Cape Town, our next WAIMH congress will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland. As it has been a WAIMH tradition, the congress will be 5 days long (including a pre-conference workshops day), from June 14th to June 18th 2014.

It is an honor for WAIMH to hold the congress in Edinburgh, as the city has a very special history. Under the leadership of the University of Edinburgh, the city became one of the major historical centers during the period of Enlightenment, earning it the nickname, the Athens of the North. Did you know this?! Graduates of the university include some of the most important figures of modern history, including the naturalist, Charles Darwin, physicist, James Clerk Maxwell, philosopher, David Hume, mathematician, Lord Hope, surgeon and pioneer of sterilization, Joseph Lister, signatories of the American Declaration of Independence, John Witherspoon and Benjamin Rush, inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, and many others. The University of Edinburgh is associated with 15 Nobel Prize winners. It also continues to have links to the British Royal Family, with the Duke of Edinburgh being chancellor from 1953 to 2010, and Anne, Princess Royal from 2011. The City of Edinburgh is not only famous for its enlightened past, but also for its present encouragement of scientific meetings, including the sponsorship of 20.000 pounds for the WAIMH congress.

The very location of the congress and the work of the Local Committee under Jane Barlow’s leadership, have already given birth to a productive dialogue between infant mental health clinicians and researchers from Britain, Scotland and Ireland. In that sense, WAIMH congresses have an impact, not only on the international level but also on the local one; this may be the most significant benefit of taking the heavy responsibility of hosting the congress! Talking about responsibilities, the theme of the congress will be under the sign of rights and duties: infants’ rights and contributions, parents’ and clinician’s duties and responsibilities beyond the variety of cultural and geo-political contexts that are represented by our Affiliates.

The Program Committee, led by Mark Tomlinson (South Africa), together with Kaija Puura (Finland), Jane Barlow (United Kingdom), Campbell Paul (Australia) and Kai Von Klitzing (Germany), is working hard on putting together a high-level and well-balanced program that brings together research and clinical expertise. Thanks to the four of them!

This is also an opportunity for me to personally thank all our Board members and members of the Executive Committee for their hard, on-going, behind the stage work, from day one after leaving Cape Town to day one in Edinburgh.

I personally look forward meeting all of you.