The mission, organization and agenda of the Taskforce for Regional Commissions is attached for information. I will now provide a brief overview of progress in each region.
Commission on European Affairs
(Chair: Svein Johannessen)
This commission continues to function well and be imaginative in developing its program. A particular focus has been placed on improving education and clinical services in central and eastern European countries. The 6th European Congress on Epileptology took place in Vienna 30 May-3 June 2004. This was a highly successful meeting organizationally, scientifically and financially. The next congress will be held in Helsinki 2-6 July 2006.
Commission on Asian and Oceanian Affairs
(Chair: Chong Tin Tan)
This commission is well-led and has a vigorous teaching program culminating in the recent setting up of the Asian Epilepsy Academy. The 5th Asian and Oceanian Epilepsy Congress took place in Bangkok 28-31 August 2004. This was highly successful with more than 1,200 delegates attending from throughout the region. The program was deemed to be excellent and the meeting attracted sufficient industry support to more than cover its costs. The next congress is scheduled for Bali, 20-23 May 2006.
Commission for Latin American Affairs
(Chair: Juvenal Gutierrez Monteczuma)
There has been steady progress in developing a suitable agenda for this region. The 3rd Latin American Congress took place in Mexico City 2-5 July 2004. The program was good and the organization satisfactory. However, there is little external financial support for congresses in this region and ILAE will need to budget for some investment in support of the next meeting in Guatemala, 8-10 September 2006. Emphasis should be placed on identifying, educating and training the next generation of epileptologists in Latin America.
North American Commission
(Chair: Jeffrey Noebels)
There continues to be difficulty in identifying an appropriate agenda parallel to that of the American Epilepsy Society (AES) for this regional commission. Constructive discussions have taken place between the President and the AES Board on a suitable joint agenda.
Eastern Mediterranean Commission
(Chair: Basim Yaqub)
The inaugural meeting of this commission took place in Jeddah on 15 January 2004. The idea of a regional epilepsy academy was embraced. A number of regional educational courses have already taken place and others are planned. Egypt will host the first international congress on behalf of this commission in Sharm El Sheikh 10-14 May 2006. This commission is already working energetically and effectively.
Preliminary discussions were undertaken at the African Convention at the Lisbon meeting in October 2004. Giuliano Avanzini attended the 16th Congress of the Pan-African Association of Neurological Sciences in Benin 15-17 March 2004. Local leaders need to be identified to set up the African commission.
Overall, there is steady progress in setting up, developing and motivating the five regional commissions. I am increasingly convinced of the importance of regionalization in the League’s activities. This approach splits up an increasingly unwieldy number of chapters into smaller more manageable groups of like-minded individuals with similar problems and aspirations. A cohesive global program will not be possible until all regional agendas reach a similar stage of development.
Martin J Brodie