Dear EFI member,
Theory and reality, sometimes they differ. Writing this address, for example, is done on the ninth day of spring. A time, one should think, that the days are bright and friendly, that trees start to cover their naked twigs with blossoms, and that this characteristic smell of beginning is throughout the air. Reality here in Vienna is, however, that it is wet and snowing more heavily than during the whole winter. Nature looks fairly paralysed and the constant grey outside seems to indicate that for presumably strange reasons the sky rehearses evening dawn all day.
Fortunately, I learn that the EFI business is not dependent on this rather hostile outside. Earlier this year, there was an extra meeting organised by the Accreditation Committee, that focused on the way in which EFI inspections will be undertaken in the future, especially in concert with national accreditation bodies. It also aimed at clarifying some issues that have arisen between standards and accreditation. On the whole, this was a constructive and fruitful start to the year.
This year EFI is organising the annual Summer school in association with ASHI and APHIA. These Summer schools mainly aim to train junior colleagues. Probably, it is not only training that is important but also to provoke enthusiasm among the students, making them passionate for immunogenetics. It is not unusual that colleagues bemoan the fact that the “young” are getting a bit rare in our field. I am not sure whether this is a real fact or it is just a natural feeling once one becomes more advanced in age. As long as there is progress in immunogenetics there will always be the need for experts who translate this progress into clinical applications. And it seems to me there is still a lot of progress. Therefore I agree that we should invest in making our field as attractive as possible for the successors and Summer schools are a very good means to do so.
If it comes to progress in immunogenetics, I should mention the next EFI conference, to be held in Maastricht from 11-14 May. EFI meetings can be seen in a lot of different ways; in the first place as a scientific event, gathering and giving space to all those who have contributed to the present state of the art of immunogenetics. At the same time it is a meeting point, a market place, an educational activity, an opportunity to foster communication between societies. Last but not least it holds the EFI General Assembly, to which I most cordially invite you. This is where you will learn about the work of the Executive Committee and the other EFI committees including our financial review. The General Assembly is also the best place where you can and should give your opinion and your input both as to the performance in the past and as to how to proceed for the future. You will find the agenda within this newsletter.
It is a huge task to organise an EFI conference, which is, in a nutshell, creating EFI’s annual business card. We are happy to have Marcel Tilanus and Junior Lardy as co-chairs, both with a longstanding track in EFI business, Marcel having served as secretary in the EFI Executive Committee and as Meeting Liaison for several years, and Junior who is an EFI inspector and an active member of the Education Committee and the Standards Committee. I have had the opportunity to follow their planning and they have implemented many new ideas for this meeting as you will hopefully see when coming to Maastricht. I hope also to see many of you there.
Looking out of the window, I see the same grey as before. But what is to come cheers me up; quite a bit.