Operation: European Orthodontic Congress 2025
At the start of the week it was announced that the Orthodontic Society of Ireland was successful in its bid to host the 2025 European Orthodontic Congress (EOC) in Dublin.
The EOC is the annual meeting of the European Orthodontic Society (EOS). It’s the setting for the memorial Lecture that commemorates the first orthodontics professor in Europe, Dublin’s Sheldon Friel.
This is a big deal.
It’s hard to explain how big a deal it actually is – for Irish Orthodontics, for Irish Dentistry and for Ireland. The OSI was set up a couple of decades ago and it seems hard to believe now that those guys back then would have imagined that in the middle of the 21st Century, the organisation they were setting up would be hosting one of the world’s biggest international events for specialist dentistry.
I blogged recently about the OSI strategy meeting in 2019, which involved the current OSI Council and various past presidents of the Society. About 2½ years ago, we held a similar meeting and the OSI council sat down to work out what it wanted for the society in the future. One of the goals was to bring the EOC to Ireland, and we had to work on how to make this happen.
There are a lot of rules, regulations, procedures and protocols to bring it about. It particularly involves having a person from the host country in the European Orthodontic Society for a number of years, and then they can advance to a suitable position and make a formal invitation to the EOS. These meetings are organised many years in advance, so the OSI expected we’d have to get a member to join, and stay in long enough to advance to the position required, make the invitation, get the invitation accepted, and then there’d be a wait of 5 years.
As a result of learning this, I have an even greater respect for the teams behind attracting mega-events like Special Olympics and Web Summit to Ireland.
2025 will also be the year that the International Orthodontic Congress will take place in Rio. On the other side of the table, as OSI President and Secretary in the previous years, I have represented Irish orthodontists at some World Federation of Orthodontist meetings. Ireland had supported the bid from South Africa to host that event, but we can’t complain with the choice that the judges made. I had some insight into the scrutiny from the judges that goes into determining the locations of these sorts of meetings, so I’m in no doubt what an honour this is for Ireland and the OSI in particular.
It’s even more impressive when you realise that most of the OSI organisation is done on a volunteer basis by our own members.
We knuckled down to put the work in, expecting it to take most of the next decade to come to fruition. This would take place over the terms of several different line-ups of the OSI Council, so it needed good transition planning so the torch can be passed to the next runner as people leave the project. A bit like a Biblical journey, or a sci-fi epic, the people who start the journey wouldn't be the people that finish it, but they know the journey must begin if the destination is worth going to.
It also involved other organisations – like Failte Ireland. The event might be worth in the region of €3-4 million to the national economy.
Once we’d made the commitment a few instances of good fortune came our way- not least that an Irish guy overseas who had been a long term member of the EOS returned to Ireland and shaved many years off the process we were expecting.
The main Players:
- Owen Crotty – the outgoing representative of the OSI for European orthodontic affairs
- Sinead O’Hanrahan – the OSI’s Immediate Past President when I became president, and the current representative of the OSI for European orthodontic affairs
- Stephen Murray – the current OSI Immediate Past President, and the President when Sinead was doing all her hard work with the European Congresses
- Ronan Perry - the current OSI president, who made the official announcement of the successful bid by Ireland to host the EOC, and will be OSI president while the organisation for the congress begins
- Ciara Scott - who will be the next president of OSI while the organisation continues. There will be another 2 presidents after her before the Congress takes place, but we don't know who they will be.
- Finn Geoghegan – who will be the EOS President in 2025 and preside over the EOC in Dublin
Credit is also due to the OSI's administration officer, Aideen, who channels most of the emails and enquiries between the various people.
Perhaps we can host the International Orthodontic Congress before 2050?