27 January 2022

 

Congress starts in

Welcome Address

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of the organizers, let me greet you at the beginning of the second year of Prague Endoscopy Days, which are a direct successor to the twenty years of IKEM Endoscopy Days. This is the most traditional event of its kind in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest in the region of Central Europe. The first event took place in 1996 and we welcomed Horst Neuhaus, head of the gastroenterology department in Düsseldorf. In the next years, we hosted three generations of endoscopists, starting with the founding fathers represented by Michel Cremer or Hans Joachim Schultz through a very strong generation, born around 1955, namely Paul Fockens, Jack Deviere and Guido Costamagn, to experts who could be children of the first two generations, for instance Marianna Arvanitakis and others. We hosted a total of seven ESGE Presidents! This selected variety of experts are, or more precisely before the pandemic they were, with exaggeration a kind of condottieres – free-lancers traveling from centre to centre and performing their endoscopic equilibristics. Never for a reward, always as a commitment and pure pleasure. It is gratifying that our invitation has never been refused, even in the case of endoscopists from distant continents such as Michel Bourke from Australia and Haru Innoue from Japan. In this difficult time, we can add two anecdotes: Twenty years ago, we invited a real star, Jerry Waye, in whose clinic I had been before, and he said: You know, it's like with the athletes – each category has to represent a certain status, and that in my case means that I can only fly with a Concorde and accompanied by my wife. By way of explanation, because Concorde has not been flying for years: the ticket price was CZK 250,000. I thanked him and, following the example of the sports environment, I waited for several years. The market value of the performer went down, and he contented himself with a business class ticket. Armengol-Miro insisted on completing a difficult case, and during the afternoon we changed the air-ticket to Barcelona three times, until it cost CZK 60,000. At this point, it is already clear that the January event will take place virtually, but provided that conditions do not change, our international guests will arrive. We believe that you will find time to watch the programme either at your table at work or at home. The transmission from several operating rooms will offer a diverse programme fulfilling the intention of education and implementation of innovations, and the current generation of endoscopists will certainly keep up the level set by their teachers. We look forward to meeting you!

Julius Špičák

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