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Athens ASPHER Celebration, 25-27 May, 2016 - BLOG 2

Publication date: 13.02.2016
Author: Jeffrey Levett

Dear Colleagues,

The approaching CELEBRATION is fast upcoming! Stated differently, we are approaching the upcoming celebration!

As promised, we are trying to maintain your awareness level of all related activities. We are also moved to add commentary. We are sure that you will find the planned event stimulating and entertaining. As you rub shoulders with artifacts of the Acropolis Museum you will be inspired. I do recall inspirational moments in temples elsewhere, in Armenia [2005] and in Sicily [2004]. In Yerevan, I suggested that we should arrange a European Union Parliament Day and become a better catalyst for public health training instead of just a lively firecracker [ASPHER: Damp Squib or the Powder's Keeper]. A public health day in the European Parliament could be an agenda item leading up to our big event. If you have ideas...

In Athens, Greece, 25-27 May, 2016, ASPHER will celebrate, its significant contributions to Europe over the time span 1966-2016. Join in the Anniversary General Assembly [GA] hosted by the Athens School under the aegis of the Hellenic Ministry of Health. Its aim is to repeat the success story of the Athens 14th GA [1992]. At that time ASPHER pondered its response to Maastricht, while in America, the ASPH made new plans for a radical recasting of American schools. Emory became the 25th accredited School. Within the framework of ALAESP and coincidental with the 40th anniversary of the Brazilian National School a meeting was convened to discuss democracy and equity: rethinking public health. It had European participation. It resulted in the Manguinhos Declaration referred to also as "Rio. After my days in the Presidency, I interacted with [Argentina, Brazil, Cuba and Mexico] meeting up with Franco Cavalla [Argentina] and Jose Moreno [Havana]. One ALAESP President, Giorgio Sulimano [Chile] was present in the 24th GA (Zagreb, 2002).

Dear Colleagues, the pivotal role of Europe's ASPHER on the global stage will be vigorously promoted as well as the important role of the historical Athens School in Greece during your upcoming stay in Athens. Population vulnerability reduction and health disaster preparation will be emphasized. Your participation will occur to a backdrop of a horrendous refugee drama, a major European shaping factor and certainly a major public health issue. Your support for the Islanders of the Aegean as a unique candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize would be a most worthy cause.

ASPHER's most recent Executive Board meeting was convened in Athens [2-3, February, 2016]. The preparation status for the Celebration was examined-reviewed, adjusted and finalized; programme content, facilities and a taste appraisal [food and wine] took place in Plaka. ASPHER approved of the wine; no salivation, no menu reference. It was a feverishly intensive and a productive interaction. Keynote speakers and chairpersons etc. were Skyped; lively discussion and disputes occurred. Patient human rights, was added as a pre-event directed to a local audience but open to all. ASPHER was encouraged to inaugurate a second award for promise.

In 1992, the School recognized a need to show recognition in some symbolic way for individual contributions or for specific contributions; even simple "thank you's" are important, since public health workers receive few accolades. Sandy Macara and Lenard Kohler were cited in Athens. Should this catch hold, it could become a gesture of any School chosen to host a GA.

ASPHER, has given thumbs up to the design of an ASPHER Declaration-Accord that will highlight its five-decade-long success story and touch upon the difficult and unfolding future of training for public health. It is conceptualized as a concise statement in the service of the Association. I see it also as chance for fleeting glory for the Athens School. To grab universal interest however, will require appropriate language of great clarity, which does not come easy. Should you have any offerings or suggestions please send them on to Robert Otok who I may add, is giving the upcoming celebration much of himself.

We would like to thank the "Aspherite" cluster, which hurtled through the firmament to descend on Athens, in the service of ASPHER. During their stay I gave away two books whose titles figure girls, Tatiana and The Einstein Girl. I also presented to Robert a copy of the programme of the 1992, 14th General Assembly.

Jeffrey Levett

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