Carlo Leget, Co-chair of the Scientific Committee of the 14th EAPC World Congress in Copenhagen and Professor of Ethics of Care and Spiritual Counselling Sciences at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Sunday morning, 8th December. After some days of heavy storms, the world seems quiet again. I am flying back from the first Scientific Committee that has just met in Milano to prepare the 14th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care that will be held in Copenhagen on 8-10 May 2015. Looking down at the European landscape underneath me, and enjoying a great sunny view of the Alps, my thoughts go to the congress theme around which we have been working an entire Saturday: Building Bridges.
If there is one area full of bridges, it must be palliative care. Being a bridge itself between life and death, the early pioneers soon realised that no discipline could manage this complex work without the help of others. So much work has been done in establishing connections between people in teams; between carers, families and patients; between practice, education and research; between different partners in the chain of care; and so on. This makes palliative care one of the most interesting and wonderful places to work in, however challenging it may be from time to time.
And yet… building bridges is far from easy. As the European landscape below me made me realise, we are divided by all kinds of obstacles: financial gaps that can be ‘river deep’, language barriers that can be ‘mountain high’, not to mention the bureaucratic and legislative swamps in which much enthusiasm is suffocated. Building bridges therefore is a continuing task. From North, South, East and West and from one discipline to the other and back: we will all have to contribute to this.
At the first meeting in Milano the atmosphere was promising. Although we are still in the dark days of December, my co-chair, Irene Higginson from King’s College London, and I had the great pleasure of working with a multidisciplinary and multinational group of older and younger professionals, every one of them prepared to make Copenhagen 2015 a big success (see picture). We decided on the programme structure, the invitation procedure to the parallel sessions, the main speakers and an exciting session to end the congress.
Because this is the first blog post that builds a bridge to the Congress in 2015 I cannot reveal too much and hopefully all members of the Scientific Committee will be contributing during the coming months. But if all the speakers that we have approached this past week are willing to come, we will have a high-quality programme that is more than worth coming for.
Deep down beneath me the Swiss Alps are still shining in the morning sun. I stare out of the window again and enjoy the beautiful, white mountains and blue sky. The same intense blue as the great Copenhagen poster and the dress of the Danish Princess on the Conference website. There are beautiful things ahead of us…
Start thinking about your abstract now…
Abstract submission opens on 15 July 2014. More information will become available on the congress website and through the EAPC social media networks: Blog, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.
The author is also Vice-president of the EAPC and Co-chair of the EAPC Taskforce on Spiritual Care.