An important function of the International
League Against Epilepsy are the international congresses. At the onset the
meetings were held in conjunction with other international congresses. Soon
these were the International Congresses of Neurology.
In the first constitution it was intended to
have annual meetings; there was no prescript where to meet.
The same holds for the constitution of 1939:
"The League shall hold meetings at a time and place to be designated by
the officers. Any number present at the appointed time shall constitute a quorum
for the transaction of business. Matters which the officers consider
sufficiently important may be voted on by mail."
However, the 1953 constitution stipulates:
"The General Assembly shall meet at the place and about the time of the
International Neurological Congress."
These congresses were held every fourth year.
In the revised constitution of 1973 the rule
where to meet is no longer part of the constitution but has moved to the By-Laws
and changes therefore can be made by the Executive without the need of
confirmation by the General Assembly. In 1973 the By-Law about meetings reads:
"The International Congress of the League shall be held ordinarily each
4 years at about the time and at or near the place of the International Congress
of Neurology. When deemed advisable by the General Assembly, another time or
place may be chosen."
In 1985 the By-Law about meetings reads:
"The biennial International Congress of the League shall be held
ordinarily each 2 years. Every other Congress (quadrennial) may be held at about
the time and at or near the place of the International Congress of Neurology,
but when deemed advisable by the Executive Committee another time or place may
The 1997 By-Law only mentions:
"The International Congress of the League shall be held ordinarily every
2 years in conjunction with the Bureau."
Due to these various changes the numbering of
the meetings is a bit unsystematic. When the International Bureau for Epilepsy,
in collaboration with the ILAE, annually started to fill in the gaps between the
quadrennial ILAE meeting these IBE meetings (printed in italics) started to be
numbered from the third onward. When for the third time the ILAE Congress was
organized jointly with IBE (1969; 1973; 1977) IBE considered it its 9th
Symposium; ILAE through some convoluted calculations designed their part the
13th Congress. In Amsterdam Epilepsy International was created and the Board of
Directors decided to follow the IBE counting as these were more easily
verifiable because there was no confusion due to the impact of the World Wars.
The regional congresses of groups or
major chapters are not listed, e.g. the Pan-American Epilepsy Congresses, the
American Epilepsy Society, the Scandinavian, the Austrian-Belgian-German-Swiss,
the French-Italian-Spanish-Portuguese, the British-Danish-Dutch, the
Mediterranean, the European Epileptology Congresses, the Asian and Oceanian
Epilepsy Organization Congresses. Neither are the congresses mentioned which IBE
organizes specifically for its chapters named "Epilepsy and Society".