Report on the 2019 Annual Meeting of National Presidents in the World Federation of Orthodontists
This year’s meeting took place on Sunday morning, 5th of May, 2019 at JW Marriott meeting rooms in Los Angeles. As usual, it’s organised to be part of the annual meeting of the American Association of Orthodontists, who appear to do a disproportionate amount of work in the WFO – not unlike NATO. The current WFO president, Allan Thom, welcomed the attending presidents. I’m no longer the president of the Orthodontic Society of Ireland, but I was representing Ireland at the event since neither the president or deputy president was able to attend.
Dr Thom invited all the attendees to introduce themselves. When the WFO was set up, 25 years ago, there were only 3 people at the initial meeting. Now there are over 100. The new countries joining are Vietnam, Laos and Rwanda. This is particularly remarkable to me. I was a small child when the Vietnam war ended, it was a recurrent reference on TV, and in film and print all the time I was growing up. I guess I was a teenager when I learnt about how that conflict had spilled into Laos and as a recently qualified dentist I watched the news reports about Rwanda as a war turned into a genocide that was practically inconceivable to Europeans at the end of the 20th century. All these negative impressions are founded on a time when millions of human beings in these countries were putting what energies they had into the fundamental activity of remaining alive in the face of other human beings that would want them dead. Time has passed and there are now enough people in these countries that want to improve their teeth that they have organised societies of orthodontists and have these societies recognised among peers.
Dr Thom also explained a new scheme where individual members in various countries could be nominated by their national organisations to be recognised for outstanding contribution or achievement within the specialty.
Finally he thanked Awstyn Cochrane for the enormous amount of administrative work she does for the WFO behind the scenes at their head office.
WFO Vice President, Dr Amanda Maplethorpe gave an address to the assembled national presidents and representatives where she talked about updates to the website and the new WFO App that can be used to find out about the organisation’s activities and history.
There was an address by Dr Takashi Ono, the chairman of the organising committee of the International Orthodontic Congress which will take place in October 2020 in Yokohama, Japan. Dr Ono invited us and the members of our society to his country for the event, and promised a warm welcome and great conference. Allan Thom advised us that if we can’t buy a ticket to the moon, we should go to Yokohama instead. There was a showing of the most recent promotional video for the event. This is the first time the IOC will be held in Asia, and the event coincides with the 12th Asian Pacific Orthodontic Conference and the 79th annual meeting of the Japanese Orthodontic Society. The theme is “Broadening the Vision in Orthodontics” and “Orthodontics as the starting point for health science”. Early bird registration has now opened.
There is a strong encouragement for the national societies to establish or participate in Boards of Examiners of post graduate orthodontics. Anyone interested in this is invited to participate in a discussion forum that will take place at the IOC next year, with a view to there being a “Society of World Boards”.
World Orthodontic Health Day will be held again on May 15th and we were advised of the new materials to promote this.
The WFO Gazette encouraged us to read and use it as a resource for advertising national meetings.
Finally, there was a run-down of the celebration of the WFO’s forthcoming Silver Jubliee celebrations. This will involve a “Smile Flag” that will travel around the world, stopping in the countries with the various national organisations that make up the WFO. We were encouraged to plan events around the Flag’s arrival in our own country.
There was a group photograph of those attending and then the meeting was wound up. The next one will take place in Atlanta, Georgia around this time next year.