Dear ESGAR Members, Colleagues and Friends,
In 1989, as the Velvet Revolution was at its climax, I received a letter from Greece. It was an invitation from Prof. Dr. Nicholas Gourtsoyiannis to the ESGR congress in Agia Pelagia, Crete. But for a young doctor from Czechoslovakia, where socialism was coming to an end, it was inconceivable to attend an international congress. But I kept the letter as a memory. It motivated me to dedicate myself even more to enteroclysis, double-contrast imaging and intestinal ultrasound.
The next year I received an invitation from Prof. Daniel Nolan to the ESGR congress in Oxford. No one can imagine what an honour it was for me. Until then I had never attended a congress abroad, in my situation it was impossible. Finally I was really able to go there. I was living a dream - the door to abdominal and gastrointestinal radiology was open to me and I could attend presentations by those whom I knew only from their articles, which were difficult for me to obtain at this time. I met all these famous teachers and later many of them became my friends. They had also accepted my invitations to deliver their presentations at congresses in the Czech Republic.
The next year, at the congress in Nice, I presented my first poster. The year after, in Helsinki, I gave my first presentation. It was there where I told myself: "One day the ESGAR congress will be held in Prague". Who could have imagined then, how small Europe and even the whole world would become in a few years. ESGR became ESGAR, different cities and countries are hosting this congress. The number of ESGAR Members and congress participants has been increasing. Also gastrointestinal and abdominal radiology is changing. Double-contrast barium enema examinations have become a memory. Nowadays a congress is full of workshops and presentations about ultrasound, MDCT, MRI, PET-CT and PET-MR. The issues you will be presented with at this congress are fundamental for every radiologist. But some things never change. ESGAR still has the same atmosphere and enthusiasm. Thanks to this congress, every year many young radiologists are inspired to devote themselves to this subspecialty of radiology.
Year after year, the Programme Committee and the Executive Committee work very hard to make the congress interesting. They all endeavour to prepare an attractive, but also up-to-date programme. And I hope Prague will not be different.
I am honoured to be the ESGAR 2016 Meeting President in the capital of the Czech Republic and to have been given the opportunity to organise this congress. After all, Prague is not only a city whose architecture walks you through the centuries, but also mysterious and enticing, as our diagnostic images so often are to clinicians. In 1835, Prague became home to Christian Andreas Doppler. At first he taught at the Technical Secondary School and in 1841 he was formally appointed to the post of Professor in Geometry and Mathematics at the Polytechnic School, where he had already given some presentations. It was in Prague, in 1841, when he published his article "Über das farbige Licht der Doppelsterne und einiger anderer Gestirne des Himmels" ("On the coloured light of the binary stars and some other stars of the heavens"). This article was the first to define the Doppler effect. So you see, Prague has a close relationship to radiology and a very close relationship to ESGAR.
The topic of the ESGAR 2016 Postgraduate Course is "Common clinical problems in gastrointestinal and abdominal radiology". To find the causes for diarrhoea, blood in stool, uncertain abdominal pains and other common clinical problems is routine for all of us. Where else could you learn how to solve it better than at the Postgraduate Course organised by ESGAR?
I hope we will meet in large numbers in Prague, all of us interested in abdominal and gastrointestinal radiology. Let us breathe in the atmosphere of Prague and ESGAR.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Executive Committee and all ESGAR Members for choosing Prague to host the ESGAR Annual Meeting in 2016 and accepting my invitation. It could not have happened without the help and support of Brigitte Lindlbauer. Brigitte and her entire team are essential for the smooth running of the congress.
The Czech Radiological Society, of which I am the president, is honoured that ESGAR is held in Prague in 2016. The whole board of RS CLS JEP (Radiological Society of Czech Medical Society J.E. Purkyně) as well as the Local Organising Committee for ESGAR 2016 will try their best to make your stay in Prague a happy one and that you take home more than just professional experiences.
After all, Prague is worth it. And I am hoping that you will remember ESGAR 2016 and Prague as fondly as I remember my first ESGR and Oxford.
Prof. Vlastimil Valek
ESGAR 2016 Meeting President