Antwerp, a marvellous metropolis of culture and trade, owes its prosperity not only to a gigantic port along the river Scheldt, a worldrenowned diamond centre and a delightful inner city, but it also holds an impressive cultural heritage. Indeed, amongst a wide variety of wonderful aspects, Antwerp stands for Rubens, van Dyck, Jordaens, Bruegel, Plantyn and centuries of fine architecture, music and artistic crafts, and so it was an excellent locale for the International Academy of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery to host its meeting.

This was the first meeting of the Academy in Western Europe. The title ‘East Meets West’ was chosen by Prof Bert Schmelzer, Conference President, with the goal of bringing Eastern European, Central-Asian, American, African and Western European colleagues together in an amicable atmosphere to learn from one another and to set an example for their younger colleagues. The venue was the prestigious Thirteenth Century ‘Elzenveld’, first built as a hospital and then renovated into a lovely conference centre in the late 80s. Its chapel is from 1236, and there is still a hospital building on the site of the conference centre.

The Guests of Honour at the meeting were: Marius Pluzhnikov (Russia), President of the IAO-HNS, Fred Stucker (USA), Rais Tulebaev (Kazakhstan), George Feigin (Kirkizstan), Peter Clement (Belgium), EUFOS President, and Vasant Oswal (UK). Prof Vasant Oswal was awarded the NP Simanovskii Golden Medal for his contribution to the pedagogical activities of the IAOHNS. Prof Bert Schmelzer was awarded with a diploma as Professor of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. Prof Marius Plouzhnikov was awarded the Memorial Medal of Collegium Amicititae Sacrum.

A large number of guest speakers were invited to give excellent lectures, including: K Jahnke, President of the European Academy, V Jahnke and J Werner (Germany), V Ananian (USA), H Negm (Egypt), V Bykova, G Tavartkiladze and V Linkov (Russia), G Cingi (Turkey), R Rozenson (Kazakhstan), K Albegger (Austria), M Romanitan (Sweden), D Zabolotny (Ukrain), E Vitte (France), P VanDeHeyning, FE Offeciers, M Jorissen, J Claes, J Daele, I Dhooge, V Vander Poorten, S Vlaminck and J Watelet (Belgium), and others.

The lectures covered a wide spectrum of topics in all fields of otorhinolaryngology, from FESS to stapes surgery and from cochlear implantation to head and neck tumours. N Daikhis (Russia) and K Albegger (Austria) received their documents as new members of the IAO-HNS. Prof K Albegger, President of the upcoming EUFOS Congress, invited Academy members to attend the EUFOS Conference next June in Vienna where an Academy meeting will also take place.

A wonderful concert was conducted by Prof Ananian (Violin) and Mr Donald (Piano) inside the old chapel in a legendary atmosphere. The beautiful weather made the pre-conference tour to Ghent and Bruges unforgettable. Bruges, a city that has remained undamaged since the early 14th Century, was perhaps the nicest stay because of its complete renovation. Peter Clement invited all foreign guests to partake of this wonderful trip. Guests also enjoyed the wonderful tastes of Belgian food and drinks at the welcoming party, an exclusive gala dinner in the superb main hall and an elegant farewell dinner in the old opera house. All events were joyful and unforgettable to all.

--source ENT News, Vol. 15, No. 6, Jan/Feb 2007