A message from our IFCN President
Our chapter congresses for the EMEA and LA Chapters roll round every two years, in between ICCNs, and this gives IFCN ExCo a chance to attend these at the same time as having our face-to-face meetings. The LA Congress will be in Mexico City in November, whilst the EMEA Congress has just finished in Marseille.
It was a great success, due in great part to our French Society under its enthusiastic chairperson Agnes Trebuchon. It had been delayed from 2021 due to Covid, but this just heightened people’s gratitude for a face to face congress and there were 800 attendees from 58 countries – many more note than in the EMEA Chapter. Held in a splendid conference centre largely underground on a promontory, it looked out to give amazing views of Marseille Vieux Port and the modern harbour stretching out below.
The EMEA Chapter’s Stalberg Awards for outstanding service were given to Professors Luis Garcia-Larrea, Paolo Rossini and Walter Paulus. The chapter also instituted named plenary lectures: Lopes da Silva for EEG and central neurophysiology given by Professor Chauvel, Hagbarth for human neurophysiology given by Professor Olausson and Buchtal for peripheral neurophysiology given by Professor Kiernan. Each was masterful, with Professor Chauvel being - for me - quite moving in his appreciation of his friend Lopes Da Silva.
There were excellent poster and platform sessions and many symposia, workshops and lectures of interest. One of my favourites was a day on the neurophysiology of language, moving from fascinating cognitive work to preservation of eloquent areas with surgery. And if you thought all the work on the median SEP had been done, then there was a fascinating lecture showing new levels of complexity in its cortical processing. Some lectures were recorded and will be placed on our website in due course, so please have a look at these and other gems when you can.
There was also our first Young Neurophysiologist Network events, involving coffee with various experts, a visit to a local hospital and an evening event for ‘Youngsters.’ They are planning more, so please look at our website to keep up to date with developments in this and other matters.
General Assemblies are dry affairs, livened up by the gladiatorial competition as rival societies slug it out for the honour of hosting the next congress. There were two excellent bids, from The Dutch and British Societies, with the latter managing to name drop Shakespeare, Gandhi and Barack Obama, none of whom, as far as I know, were/are neurophysiologists. Whatever, ‘All’s well that ends well’ for the British. So, make a date for London in early September 2025 if you are within EMEAC.
No congress is ever only about work. The gala dinner was held in what appeared to be a nightclub within an army barracks. Very French one presumes and all the better for it. Entertainment at that and the opening soiree involved some of our off duty hosts. French neurophysiologists, of course, moonlight as jazz and rock musicians in their spare time.
Your hard working IFCN ExCo had met for two days before the congress to work on strategies for the next four years. As readers will know, our members of the IFCN are not individuals but our member societies. I hope to communicate more with them directly in future, and so once the strategy document is agreed I will circulate it first to member societies for their comments, and then to all via our website and this letter. So, please try to contain your curiosity about this for a while longer.
Two last thoughts from Marseille. Agnes, and our EMEA Chapter President, Hatice Tankisi and Secretary/Treasurer, Anita Kamondi, are all supremely able and are also women. Without labouring the point, it is very gratifying, since IFCN is committed to and working on a document about diversity and inclusion. At the end of a busy week, and after the closing ceremony, I was to meet some fellow survivors for supper. Before then I had time to walk up the hill in Marseille to the Cathedral, with its fabulous views. It had not long rained so the air was clear. I looked south to see the sun shining hard on the distant sea, while closer to the shore it had turned the water luminescent. I close with a shot of that. The moral is learn from the riches of the congress, meet friends and colleagues, but also find time to look around.