The APAO/SOE Congress began with an opening ceremony celebrating Korean culture with music and dancing.
SOE President Stefan Seregard addressed the audience with the following Welcome speech,
“Professor Kwak, Professor Tham, Professor Martin, Professor Lam, Prof Spivey, Colleagues and Friends,
It is indeed my pleasure and a privilege to address this Joint Congress of the APAO and the SOE.
The scientific Committee led by Prof. Clement Tham has produced an impressive number of top quality scientific sessions. World renowned speakers from all over the world will make this not only a top regional meeting but a true world meeting of unsurpassed quality.
Interestingly, our two societies, APAO and SOE have a bit in common; the societies are of the same age, being founded in 1956 and 1958 in Brussels. We are now both in our mid-50s. We both have children, a boy and a girl. The YO section and the LDP, I am not going to tell you who is who.
Both societies started with a meeting every 4 years, then every 2 years and now you have an annual meeting. So there are a number of parallels and you may almost believe that our societies are siblings.
Yet this is our first Joint Meeting. A great initiative from APAO that makes us realises how much we have in common. Your initiative is well received and much appreciated and one we hope to be able to reciprocate in Europe in the near future. Meanwhile, we invite you all to join the next congress of the SOE which will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark in June next year.
Finally I would like to pay tribute to the Korean Society of Ophthalmology led by Professor Hyang-Woo Kwak, who is graciously hosting this meeting. Korean culture combined with Korean skills and meticulous planning will ensure that this meeting runs smoothly. The few days I have spent in Korea before this meeting have been a highlight and something I will long treasure. We have all come to highly value the Korean culture and way of life.
On behalf of the European contingency I would therefore like to end by paraphrasing General Douglas MacArthur upon leaving Corregidor 70 years ago, ‘We shall return!’