Dear friends and colleagues from all over the world,
It was indeed a very special moment to receive the Presidential Medallion from Professor Akira Miyauchi during the IAES Gala dinner in Vienna City Hall. The names engraved on the medallion necklace make me extremely humble, and very, very honored. I will do my best to fulfill the expectations which follow this extraordinary assignment.
The last time we met in Vienna was the year before the new Millennium, and the world looked very different then, full of hope and expectations for better times. If we want to come close to reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals the United Nations have set for 2030, we have enormous challenges in front of us.
To achieve some of these goals - such as decreasing socioeconomic inequalities between countries and continents, providing better availability of healthcare (and surgery!) to all, not to mention tackling the health threat from climate change - we must all come together, work across borders, and increase the exchange of science, knowledge, innovations, and development. Nothing else can solve the problems we face, but instead, we are now experiencing increasing polarization within and between countries – indeed, we seem to risk developing a new cold war!
For these reasons, a manifestation such as the Vienna meeting is of great importance. IAES members from all over the world meet to share exactly the above-mentioned prerequisites for creating an optimistic future: science and knowledge, respecting and appreciating the differences we have between our societies and countries. This form of exchange across borders is exactly what the world needs much more of at times like these. We, the new IAES Council Officers, are obliged to all of you who have chosen us to represent you, and we will do everything we can to provide all our members the possibilities for further exchange of science and knowledge and make our association’s future bright and positive. We cannot solve all 17 UN goals for 2030, but we can do our best to provide a continually better situation for our patients; the IAES is, without a doubt, the best arena to achieve this.
Best wishes, and looking forward to seeing you all in Kuala Lumpur in 2024