Many of you will be familiar with the work of Antonin Dvorak, one of the best-known Czech composers. I am especially fond of the New World Symphony that he wrote following a trip to the United States of America in the late 19th Century. It seems to me that this symphony captures the best of the old and new worlds, and creates something new and amazing. It is these features that I hope you will find in the EAPC World Congress this week.
At the Congress, you will find both the excitement of the new developments and research in palliative care, set against the backdrop of the old wonders of an ancient city, largely undamaged by the momentous events and disasters that shook Europe during the previous century. The city of Prague retains its medieval layout of winding streets, an impressive castle, stunning Baroque, Rococo and Art Nouveau buildings, and arguably the best beer in the world. I hope you will find time to sample its delights.
In the Congress, we will be launching new initiatives including: the Prague Charter on palliative care as a human right and a revised and impressively updated Atlas of Palliative Care Development in Europe. There are excellent plenary talks, numerous sessions highlighting the best in contemporary research and clinical practice, Meet-the-Expert sessions for early risers, and a vast array of poster presentations. Please make time for all of them. I am confident that there will be something there for everyone, whether you are novices or ‘old-timers’. There is also an extensive programme of pre-Congress sessions on Thursday for those who cannot wait for the Opening Ceremony to start the Congress.
In my view, congresses are rather like an orchestra, they require the input of different players, each with different skills contributing to the whole, in the composition and planning (the host country and scientific committees, abstract reviewers, Interplan, the EAPC head office and local organisers), the musicians, all who have spent many hours in rehearsal to perfect their performance (the presenters of oral papers and posters), the conductor who makes no sound but draws forth the best performances from the players (Professor Lukas Radbruch, Chair of the Scientific Committee, assisted by Farina Hodiamont), and you the audience. Music has the power to express emotions, to inform, to calm, to inspire and best of all, it transcends language.
Be prepared to be amazed by all that the Congress and Prague have to offer.
PS We hope to publish news from the Congress during the next few days. Please keep following the blog…