Prof. Dr. Cezmi A. Akdis
Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research (SIAF)
Vice President and President Elect of the EAACI
European Academy of Allergy Clinical Immunology
Christine Kuhne - Center for Allergy Research and Education
Prof Akdis is the Vice President of the EAACI for Congresses. He is the Director of the Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research (SIAF), Davos and Christine Kuhne Center for Allergy Research and Education in Davos (CK-CARE) and Professor in Zurich University Medical Faculty. The eaaci.net met him in London and interviewed him on ''hot'' topics in the area of allergy and clinical immunology. Prof Akdis has been elected as the President Elect during the general assembly here in London and he will take over the presidency during the 2011 Istanbul Congress, which will be two years until the 2013 EAACI Congress.
• How many EAACI Congresses have you organized so far?
I organized too many activities in EAACI from which I have always been very proud to be taking a role.
As the coordinator and chair of the EAACI Scientific Program Committee, I contributed to EAACI 2006, Vienna, EAACI 2007, Goteborg, EAACI 2008, Barcelona congresses. Then, I became the Vice President responsible for congresses and had the great pleasure to work in the organization of 2009 Warsaw, 2010 London congresses and the ongoing organization of 2011 Istanbul and 2012 Geneva Congresses. I also worked in the organization of European Pediatric Allergy and Asthma Meeting (PAAM) 2009 Venice and currently focused on three upcoming EAACI Mini Congresses ERAM/SERIN 4-6 November, Brussels, ISMA 29-31 October and SAM meetings 11-13 November in 2010. I also worked in the organization of 7 EAACI-Davos Winterschools.
• Which one was the most challenging?
The most challenging congress during my service to EAACI was the Warsaw Congress. During this congress we had to fight with problems and limitations of the venue as well as global financial crisis. In addition, H1N1 flu pandemics and media and public attention and curiosity on this disease was at the highest level just two months before the congress. Fortunately the global financial crisis did not show an immediate effect on drug industry and research funding bodies in Europe in the area of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The total number of 6100 participants in Warsaw Congress was very much appreciated and found more than expected in a crisis and flu situation.
• Which one was the most successful?
The most successful congress in the history of our Academy and probably World Allergy Congresses is the current congress. Here we have 8007 participants from 110 different countries all over the world with approximately 600 faculty and more than 300 sessions. This is probably the biggest ever organized congress in our area. The exhibition area of our congress was also found very satisfactory for the exhibitors as well as participants. Excel as a venue was very well organized and suitable to organize such a big event. It will be very good to mention here that almost all of the handouts of EAACI London speakers are now in our website (http://www.eaacihandouts.net/). These handouts will stay in the website open for free access to congress participants until the 1st of June 2011.
• What is your vision for Istanbul 2011?
Istanbul 2011 EAACI Congress will be a bridge for culture and science and will cross the borders in all disciplines related to allergic disease. I think that allergy does not have any frontiers” and this will again be nailed during this congress. As a multi organ and multi system disease allergic diseases are related to several different medical disciplines. Allergy research does not accept any frontiers and is related to many different research areas. Our Scientific Programme Comittee and Local Organizing Committee has been working very hard to have the best scientific programme to emphasize these concepts. The scientific programme of the Congress will be addressed not only to allergists, but also to various specialists and general practitioners, proving that allergic patients are served best, if we can cross the borders between different medical disciplines.
In London, we had more than 8000 participants from 110 different countries all around the World showing that EAACI congresses do not also accept any geographic frontiers. Istanbul as a gate and connector between the east and west will provide a platform that much more members from all around the world will participate. Istanbul is a wonderful venue for an EAACI congress. The congress center is located right at the hearth of the city with more than 10’000 bed capacity in walking distance. It is a never sleeping city with very good cousine, history, culture and geographic beauties.