I would like to publicly express my gratitude and congratulations to Mr Giannis Chrysoulakis, the Secretary General of Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy, who with his vision and charismatic personality managed to unite many agencies in the co-organisation of the first World Panomogenetic Medical Conference held in Thessaloniki between 15 to 17 July and attended by 220 delegates from 25 countries.

“Hippocrates meets Aristotle” was the theme of the conference, which reminded us, of two ancient Greek giants who have influenced medicine and ethics, thus highlighting the importance of ethics in medicine.

It was a free global conference, world-centric, not Greek-centric like other conferences I had attended in the past in Greece and open not only to doctors but also to other scientists and those interested in the field of health and ethics.

I attended part of the conference and was impressed by the excellent organization, the teamwork and cooperation, the technical support and in general the lectures by the distinguished doctors and academics from Greece and the Greek doctors of the diaspora and in general impressed by the whole program.

An atmosphere of high emotion, friendliness and admiration was displayed towards Mr. Chrysoulakis and his co-organizers from Aristotle University. It is noteworthy that such conferences are not free in Australia. Usually the conferences I attend there, have a registration fee and are often out of reach for most.

The two concerts part of the conference were also impressive.

One with the talented Evanthia Reboutsika and the second dedicated to the late Grigoris Bithikotsis on the anniversary of what would have been his 100th birtday, which turned into a proper festival, with the lively dancing of the 40 hosted young people from Australia who were honored at the conference.

(L-R) Katerina Fasouli, Dr Magdalene Simonis and Varvara Athanasiou-Ioannou. Photo: Supplied

I am particularly pleased that the patron of the our Food For Thought Network, (FFTN) Professor Vaso Apostolopoulos – via ZOOM and our medical expert and friend of FFTN Magdalene Simonis, were among the distinguished presenters.

Dr Simonis lecture stood out, due to being the only one , which touched on gender inequality, which has increased during the pandemic, based on international research.

“The clash of competing responsibilities between work duties and caring for children/elderly/protecting the family from illness has created increased stress for women doctors and fewer opportunities for career advancement,” Said Dr Simonis.

The conference ended successfully, but global networking and communication will continue through a steering committee formed by doctors from various countries, Medical Societies, Researchers, Greek doctors and doctors of Greek origin in the diaspora. Its aim is to build friendship networks, student exchange programs and postgraduate programs, sharing valuable knowledge.

Congratulations again to the General Secretariat of Hellenism Abroad, hoping that the next Global conference which we would like to contribute will be on women, since women are the bearers of the Greek language and Greek culture in the diaspora.

Varvara Athanasiou-Ioannou is the Founder and Chair of Greek Australian Women’s Network Food For Thought.