Dear friends and colleagues in PAG,

Last November saw the third anniversary of your Board as we now prepare for the forthcoming World Congress in Belgrade.  During that time we have celebrated our 50th birthday!  What a relief that we can finally meet again in person as this is the very best way for us to move forward for the general good of PAG.  The pandemic threw us challenges as indeed it did to you all but also enabled us to use alternative opportunities to navigate and progress our PAG mission.   One example has been the introduction of the remote IFEPAG examination which has proved to be a success and will be embedded in future examinations.

As we approach the 18 May, some three months down the line, I should remind you that the Congress will not only be a global celebration of academic and scientific PAG but also an opportunity to network, strengthen our organisation and hear your voices.

We approach this World Congress with a new set of statutes which has been a major exercise but also introduces the concept of ensuring continental representation in future Boards while also allowing for advance on-line voting for voting delegates who are unable to attend in person, subject to payment of dues (if you are unsure if your country has paid, or need to update your contact information, please reach out to Lisa).  Thus said, you will have an opportunity to meet the prospective Board Members in Belgrade and on that basis I would strongly advise that the various delegates chosen by your National Societies will be present to vote in person at the General Assembly.  Zoran Stankovic has the task not only of being our Secretary General for the General Assembly but is also hosting the Congress has been in touch with you all but please direct any queries to us.

I should stress that payment of outstanding dues up to and including 2022 is a pre-requisite for active participation in the General Assembly and of course voting.  We are an organisation of modest means and need your support at every level.  Without your commitment we are unable to progress.  Other than for huge strides in advocacy, strategy, education and other resources we are conscious of the need to develop and encourage best PAG practice in countries where PAG has not yet been given a profile.  It is for this reason that we have introduced an annual Bursary scheme for interested practitioners from resource poor PAG countries which is being launched in Belgrade.  We have had a tremendous positive response for our appeal and would like to thank each and every one of you who has donated.  The appeal remains open long term and anyone wishing to donate (as a national society, national group or personally as several have done) can do so via our website (tremendously managed by Lisa Rome) using the following link: FIGIJ Bursary.

I shall be delighted if you will please put your names forward if you wish to participate in the future role of the Board and its subcommittees.   Belgrade will be a real opportunity to become more involved in our work.  The Board has also formalised the award of Honorary Fellowships for individuals who have contributed hugely to global PAG over the years, and I have been delighted to have been able to present these personally.  It has given me great pleasure to recognise their tremendous work.

I am immensely proud of what our hardworking Board members have achieved since November 2019 and would like to thank them and all the other contributors to the Working Parties and Special Interest Groups which have been set up during the lifetime of this Board.  Without then and without your support FIGIJ would be all the poorer.

Please do join us in Belgrade – there are in person and online options with simultaneous language translations depending on the number of delegates who register.  I have been privileged to have been hosted in Serbia before and I can assure you of a warm and inclusive welcome throughout your stay.  Special thanks of course to Zoran Stankovic who has masterminded the whole project and to his team, to whom we are all most grateful.

Avanti Serbia!  My full report on the work of the Board over the last three and half years will be shared with you in Belgrade.  See you there