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1999 Lifetime Achievement Award

IBE/ILAE Awards and IBE/ILAE Award Winners

Every two years, the Joint Executive Committee of the International Bureau for Epilepsy and the International League against Epilepsy will discuss honouring those truly exceptional persons with a record of achievement in work against epilepsy, which exceeds even that of those who have been awarded the Ambassador for Epilepsy Award or the Award for Social Accomplishment.

If such a person is elected, he/she will be presented with two candlesticks, upon which will be engraved the logos of IBE and ILAE, the name of the award and the name of the recipient.

The recipient will be invited to attend the International Epilepsy Congress to receive his/her Award.

Nominations were received this year for two individuals, both of whom have served the cause of epilepsy not only during their entire working lives, but even into their retirements. The Joint Executive Committee of IBE and ILAE unanimously decided that both nominations should receive this special award. Whilst it is unusual to present the award twice in one year, on this occasion the Joint Executive Committee felt that their decision was justified-for there are only a few individuals who have made this kind of sustained contribution to the cause of epilepsy.

The awardees are:

Ellen Grass

Mrs. Ellen Grass, USA: To many people this name is synonymous with the epilepsy movement. Mrs. Grass has been involved in many of the modern milestones reached in the epilepsy volunteer movement; She has also contributed to scientific progress in epilepsy, notably through the support of young investigators at critical phases of their careers.

Mrs. Grass is perhaps best known, however, for her tireless efforts to establish a strong voice for lay organisations and for people with epilepsy. She was involved in the foundation of the International Bureau for Epilepsy and served as its President from 1966 until 1978.

As a businesswoman, volunteer neuroscientist and philanthropist, Ellen Grass has influenced the direction of the epilepsy movement for a longer period of time and to a greater degree than almost anyone else.

Prof. Dieter Janz, Germany: He is a well-known figure in international epileptology, whose commitment to epilepsy began in the late fifties. He was fascinated by the great clinical  variability of what he called "the epilepsies" and was one of the first who tried to differentiate them according to biological features. But Prof. Janz’s interest was not narrowed by clinical observations; he became the driving force in the (re)foundation of the German League chapter and served as one of its first Presidents.

Prof. Janz also became aware at a very early stage, that epilepsy is a condition with enormous social implications and the vocational rehabilitation for people with epilepsy became his other field of interest.

His entire life as a clinician and as a researcher has been devoted to epilepsy and he has always seen the person with epilepsy as the centre of his efforts.

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