I am happy to be writing to you today about our EAN 2021 Virtual Congress, which was a great positive in what continues to be a challenging time. The second such virtual congress we have held saw our amazing neurology community gather online for five days of top quality scientific and educational content. Almost 12,000 individuals took part in the event, either sharing their own experience and knowledge in sessions and workshops or tuning in from countless locations around the world.
As President of the EAN, I am pleased and proud that we were able to organise and carry out a virtual congress of such high quality. The standard of the content, the smooth efficiency of the online platform, and the enthusiasm among participants all demonstrated that a virtual congress can be just as much of an attraction for our community as a physical meeting, albeit for quite different reasons.
Among the many great features of the congress, I would like to highlight two of our most noticeable innovations for 2021, which proved to be especially popular.
First, the option to watch several key sessions with either Russian or Spanish translation led to high levels of participation from both Russia and Spanish-speaking countries. In fact, I am pleased to report that we saw the largest percentage of Russian participants at any EAN congress so far.
Second, our new entertainment channel, EAN TV was a hit. With the help of a professional presenter and a highly experienced crew, we converted an area of the Austria Center Vienna into a TV studio for the duration of the congress, broadcasting from morning to evening. I hugely enjoyed the chance to personally take part in the various shows, from light-hearted chats and music to deep scientific discussions and our first ever series of EAN Advocacy Talks, which provided a very welcome patient-oriented element to the congress.
I am excited to see how these new concepts will be developed for future EAN congresses.
Like many of you, I am very much looking forward to finally being able to meet again in person; and this is what we have planned for June 25-28, 2022. The congress will take place in Vienna, but will be dedicated to the whole of Europe, celebrating our shared cultural heritage and the opportunity to gather in one place once more. However, it is also obvious that offering content online and options such as multilingual sessions are extremely valuable to the wider neurology community, bringing us closer to the inclusivity and togetherness that EAN seeks to promote within our field. The experience we have accumulated in putting together our virtual congresses in 2020 and 2021 will serve us well in that regard, as next year we will offer a truly hybrid meeting, with both onsite and online participation.
Until then, I would like to encourage everyone to make the most of the 2021 Virtual Congress Platform, while it remains online. EAN members can still catch up on missed sessions, re-watch personal highlights and continue to exchange views and comments via the myEAN social tools until July 6!
I wish you all a long and enjoyable summer and look forward to updating you soon.
Claudio Bassetti, EAN President