Dear WAIMH members,
Here on Kauppi campus the spring has turned into a glorious, green summer. It is time to tell you the news and impressions from the 13th World Congress of WAIMH in Cape Town, South Africa. This was the first WAIMH congress ever spanning to Africa and it was unique in many ways. The Congress brought together 694 delegates from 39 countries, including India for the first time in WAIMH history, and participants from Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Malaysia and Thailand. The opening talk of professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela on the process of reconciliation in South Africa was moving and one part of creating the warm athmosphere we experienced throughout the Congress.
During the Congress we held the biannual WAIMH Membership Meeting and the Minutes of the meeting will appear on the WAIMH website. Adjunct to the Congress two Board meetings took place. After the first Board meeting Antoine Guedeney stepped down to Past President and Miri Keren commenced her presidency in Cape Town. Dr Karlen Lyons-Ruth started her term as a WAIMH Board member.
The second Board meeting included organisation of the new Board and a new President-Elect was elected from among the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors was in total agreement and elected Professor Kai von Klitzing from Leipzig, Germany as the new President-Elect. Congratulations Kai!
After the Congress we sent an evaluation form to the delegates and received 119 responses. These active delegates gave an overall rating of 4.5 to the Congress on the scale from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). The responders gave particularly positive feedback on the master classes and plenaries, as well as on the variety on the content of the Congress. The responders were also very happy with the venue and organisation of the Congress, and with the assisting staff. The most common complaint was about the programme being too full and rushed, making it difficult for the delegates to choose from so many things they would have liked to see and hear. The responders also gave their valuable advice on what we should include in our future congresses. It seems that many would wish to have dancing and singing during the congress, so maybe we will have a chailie in Edinburgh! The ideas for the scientific programme included more opportunities for interactive sessions between researchers and clinicians, and also more time for discussion in plenary and symposia sessions. There were so many suggestions for presentation themes that we will not list them here, but all the feedback will be sent to the Programme Committee and taken into account while planning the 14th WAIMH World Congress. Our warm thanks to all responders!
The WAIMH Board can proudly make two announcements: The Signal Newsletter was changed into an Open Source publication. This means that anybody can now upload any Signal they wish. The newsletter is available on the WAIMH web-page www.waimh.org. The second important item is that the Infant Mental Health Journal is now available also online for all WAIMH members with an additional Infant Mental Health Journal Subscription.
The Office will be on vacation during July, and after that we are happy to welcome Ms Leena Kiuru to our team once again to work as our Administrative Assistant while Minna will concentrate on her research for a period of time.
With summer greetings,
Pälvi, Kaija and Minna