September 29, 2013
October 3, 2013
It was a great privilege, honour and joy to host the 41st Annual Meeting of the ISPN in Mainz, Germany, from September 29 to October 3, 2013. Almost 40 years after Würzburg 1976, this was the second ISPN congress in Germany, attended by nearly 550 participants from 46 countries.
The main scientific topic was “Outcome in adult patients with congenital malformations“; approximately 400 abstracts were submitted. The scientific chair of the ISPN, Young-Shin Ra, compiled a highly interesting and stimulating program consisting of 200 oral or flash presentations, 200 electronic posters and 40 invited lectures. Several luncheon seminars, two joint sessions with other academic societies on hydrocephalus (with the International Society for Hydrocephalus and Cerebrospinal Fluid Disorders, ISHCSFD) and on neuro-oncology (with the Société Internationale d’Oncologie Pédiatrique, SIOP), pre-meeting symposia on craniosynostosis (organized by Hannes Haberl, Berlin) and a nurse symposium (organized by Martina Messing-Jünger, Sankt Augustin and Linday May, London) were highly appreciated by the delegates. The ISPN congress itself was followed by a Satellite Symposium organized by Harold Rekate, Long Island, the „5th Conference of the International Hydrocephalus Imaging Working Group (IHIWG)“ on 3rd and 4th October 2014 at the Hyatt Hotel in Mainz.
The congress venue was the historical Electoral Palace (Kurfürstliches Schloss), located at the river Rhine and in walking distance to the old town of Mainz. The local organizing committee, my clinical colleagues here in Mainz Alexandra Huthmann, Jens Conrad and Eike Schwandt, as well as the professional congress organizing company Porstmann Kongresse Berlin and the local Congress Centre Mainz made every effort to prepare, organize and realize a successful meeting.
President’s Dinner and Opening Reception
On Saturday evening, September 28, 2013, the traditional President’s Dinner was held in the wonderful surroundings of the Sektkellerei Kupferberg, Mainz.
The welcome reception on Sunday evening at the Electoral Palace included a message of greeting by the president of the German Society for Neurosurgery, Prof. Gabriele Schackert, Dresden, and artists’ performances of music of the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven by Mizuki Tanabe (violoncello) and Polina Grishaeva (piano). The following get-together of congress attendants was an excellent opportunity to meet old friends and to mingle with colleagues while also enjoying delicious food and drinks, accompanied by fine jazz piano tunes played by Tobias Wagner.
On the opening session on Monday morning, State Secretary Vera Reiss gave a welcome address by the government of Rheinland-Pfalz. This was followed by a spectacular Dance Performance by Children of Mainz under the direction of Ilonka Happel and was rewarded with enthusiastic applause from the floor. The first scientific session on “Adult Outcome of CNS malformations“ was followed by one of the highlights of this meeting, the Honoured Guest Lecture on “Childhood as a discrete phase in the human condition“ by His Eminence, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, bishop of Mainz. After the scientific program, the congress participants were invited to a “Rheinhessen Evening“ which involved a ferry trip to the island Nonnenau in the river Rhine opposite Mainz. Here we tasted local beverages and foods in a rustic and familiar atmosphere.
Tuesday noon, after a cloudy and somewhat rainy morning, we started a boat trip on the river Rhine in sunshine, enabling us to enjoy a wonderful ship cruise. This was followed by a visit to the famous monastery Eberbach, one of the best preserved Cistercian abbeys in the world. After the return to Mainz, the delegates and guests strolled in small groups through the historic old town of Mainz and enjoyed local wines and dishes and the typical friendly atmosphere in the numerous little wine taverns of our city.
On Wednesday morning, Prof. Andreas Rödder, chairman of the Institute of Modern History, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, gave a cultural lecture on “Kaiser Wilhelm and Chancellor Merkel: The German Problem in Europe“ that portrayed in an interesting and partly humorous fashion the history and the role of Germany in a contemporary European context and its relationship to its neighbours on our old continent. In the evening, we had the traditional gala banquet at the “Hofgut Laubenheimer Höhe“ near Mainz. Delicious dishes and beverages in a wonderful surrounding, accompanied by the music of Robert Thomason from L.A. and his band, garanteed a spectacular evening, including the traditional Poncho Procedure where the poncho was handed over from Kyu-Chang Wang to the new ISPN president Gordon McComb.
The scientfic program on Thursday morning and the ISPN meeting as a whole were closed at noon by the handing-over of the ISPN flags from Wolfgang Wagner to the ISPN 2014 meeting chairman Francisco Salomão who invited us all to come to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2014.
I want to thank all congress attendees coming to Mainz from all over the world and contributing by their presentations and discussions to the success of this meeting. In particular, my pediatric neurosurgical colleagues and friends here in Germany supported me from the beginning – both when preparing the meeting as well as during the congress itself. This enabled us to present to the international community the standing and the activity of German pediatric neurosurgery as a whole. Finally, I greatly appreciate the contributions by the industry. Nearly 20 companies supported this ISPN meeting in Mainz – with their invaluable help, a reasonable balance between congress benefits and registration fees was possible, rendering the meeting attractive also for delegates coming from countries with limited financial ressources.
Looking forward to seeing you all again at the future ISPN meetings!
ISPN 2013 Mainz