It gives me a great pleasure to extend, on behalf of the European Society of Ophthalmologists, a warm welcome to all the delegates to the 2005 Joint SOE & DOG Congress in Berlin. Following in the long tradition of previous SOE congresses, this promises to be an exciting meeting in every respect.
Previous SOE congresses? I hear you ask. As a matter of fact, SOE was founded almost 50 years ago and its membership consists of ALL the national ophthalmological societies in Europe. It is thus very likely that you too belong to SOE, along with another 40,000 ophthalmologists in 40 European countries.
Every other year, SOE organises a European Congresses of Ophthalmology in different parts of Europe. This year, we are fortunate to be the guests of the German Ophthalmological Society (DOG) who proposed a joint meeting, combining the traditional DOG format with wider pan-European participation.
In the scientific programme, ophthalmologists from all over Europe, and beyond, get together in order to learn from each other, as well as from the many experts who have been specifically invited to give keynote lectures, to take part in symposia and to teach in didactic courses. From this year, we involve many more sub-specialty societies and supranational organisations and we are grateful for their ready willingness to participate in our Congress.
The social programme is an important component of our meetings. The venues have been carefully chosen not just to give the flavour of our host country but also to allow for personal contacts between colleagues from different countries to develop and to flourish in the years to come.
The extensive trade exhibition is an integral part of the Congress. All the major manufacturers support this meeting and their representatives are ready to explain the latest innovations in surgical and diagnostic instrumentation every booth is worth a visit!
A meeting of this size does not happen overnight. Here, I must express my gratitude to the members of the Organising Committee who have worked tirelessly to make this Joint SOE/DOG Congress a memorable and worthwhile experience for us all. I can assure you that we shall build on their great achievement as we prepare the next SOE Jubilee Congress, which will take place in Vienna on
June 9 12th, 2007.
We hope that you will find participating in our Joint meeting interesting as well as enjoyable after all, SOE is your Society!