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President Closes the Doors to the 23rd World Congress of Psychiatry and his Triennium

Updated: Oct 3

A Thank You Message from the WPA President

Dear Esteemed Colleagues and Friends,

As this is my last message as World Psychiatry Association (WPA) President, let me first thank you all for your support to the WPA. It was indeed a pleasure to start my term as President in October 2020 and to lead this prestigious organisation during these three years. It was also my honour to represent our membership who have worked together to strengthen our profession – especially during this difficult and challenging period. As I look back over the triennium, I am impressed and overwhelmed by the way WPA worked and stayed in action with its distinct global functioning in various areas of diversity, equality, and the spirit of inclusion. Mental health is currently facing several challenges, and although our profession may be seen as being under threat, there are many opportunities that can help us consolidate psychiatry as an inspiring branch of medicine. WPA is the umbrella organisation for psychiatrists worldwide and therefore has a major responsibility for leading the profession. This leadership can only be achieved through the full participation of our members and the engagement of our professional colleagues. It has not been easy to navigate through these challenging years, but we have come together and achieved so much. Our commitment to progress also extended to our day-to-day operations with a number of different ongoing activities. To summarise this amazing work we have released a comprehensive book detailing the wide-ranging activities and accomplishments during my triennium (October 2020 to October 2023). This publication aims to shine a spotlight on the invaluable contributions made by WPA components while outlining future directions for the association's global initiatives. You can download a PDF version of the Triennium 2020-2023 book here. More specifically, you can read my Triennium Report here.

I was also recently interviewed by

Dr. Rajashree Ray where we discussed my triennium, including what factors influenced the Action Plan, the main highlights and challenges of my tenure and some of my best memories. You can view the interview here.

I’d also like to take the time, on behalf of the Organising and Scientific Committees of the 23rd WPA World Congress of Psychiatry (WCP23), to thank every one of our friends, attendees, and partners who made this event possible.

With the theme “Psychiatry: current knowledge and perspectives for action”, we examined and discussed all the critical issues in psychiatry and mental health today and in the future. Nearly 4000 registered participants from 118 different countries joined us this week and I am delighted that we have yet again managed to offer such a diverse programme of content. With 230 sessions, over 350 speakers spanning 15 different streams, 104 accepted symposia, 79 short oral e-poster sessions, and a wealth of state-of-the-art sessions, we all profited from 4 days filled with up-to-date research data, the best lectures from experts in all fields of mental health, high-quality scientific content, valuable knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer networking.

We would like to say a special thank you to our valued member societies and The Psychiatric Association of Austria for making this great event possible. We would also like to thank our fantastic speakers, presenters, contributors, and moderators, all of whom contributed greatly to the programme. Special thanks to Kenes for their great support as our official PCO.

I would like to thank the WPA Executive Committee, Council, Board and all of our members for the continued support and commitment to our work. Lastly, I would like to thank Fauzan Palekar, Atina Ivanovski and Bezhan Azizkhon supported by Vanessa Cameron, whose dedication and commitment to keeping everything running in the WPA Secretariat’s Office is outstanding.

While going through the final year of the triennium, WPA continued to face challenges following the global crises, and their consequential impact on mental health. However, WPA stood motivated and inspired by the commitment and hard work from our membership when dealing with such difficult situations. No doubt, we were disadvantaged by the unexpected crisis including Covid, disasters and war, WPA continued with its mission and came up as a strong professional organisation. Thanks to our membership, our well-wishers including pharma support groups who helped us with educational grants to carry on educational and training activities aiming at capacity building.

I do recognise the collective efforts and the lead role of our officers and the WPA staff for making it happen even passing through the most difficult and challenging years of WPA.

I personally have learnt more during this term of presidency, and I am convinced and inspired with the capabilities of our members and look forward to seeing how the WPA will be able to transform new challenges into opportunities.

While finishing my role as President of WPA, I remain ever hopeful and optimistic about future of WPA. WPA values everybody who has a commitment to working as a mental health professional because they are the future and future does matter.

Please join me in welcoming the new office bearers for the next triennium and let's continue supporting WPA in its efforts in improving the image of psychiatry, psychiatrists, and our membership. We need to shape the future of psychiatry and mental health together.

Stay safe and healthy. Long live WPA!

Prof. Afzal Javed, WPA President (2020-2023)

Author: Prof. Afzal Javed, President, WPA


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