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President’s Message


President's Message - June 2018

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to report on the success of the recent WFOT events held in Cape Town, South Africa. 

The Executive Management Team Meeting was held at the President Hotel, Bantry Bay, Cape Town, on 16 and 17 of May. Whilst this meeting was shorter than usual, and the days were long, the WFOT Executive Management team concluded a productive meeting, addressing key issues for the Federation including governance, our collaborative work with WHO, and occupational therapy education programmes.

The Council Meeting was held 18 – 20 May, and it was exciting to see so many Delegates, Alternates and Observers participating in this meeting – 106 people in total. Again, the meeting was shortened to fewer but longer days, and I congratulate all on their ability to complete the significant meeting agenda.

WFOT continues to promote and support the development of the profession in many countries, and I am very pleased to announce that the Council accepted and welcomed the following new member organisations at the meeting: Cyprus, Madagascar, Romania and China (Full Members); and Jamaica, The Bahamas, Lebanon, Guyana and Poland (Associate Members). WFOT now has 101 Member Organisations – a wonderful achievement.

I would like to acknowledge those Executive Management Team members whose terms of office were completed – Sue Baptiste, Vice President, Lyle Duque, PCo Education and Athena Tsai, PCo Standards and Quality. I would like to thank them personally for their contribution to WFOT and it’s membership.

I would also like to welcome the incoming Executive Management Team 2018 – 2020 – Margarita Gonzalez, Vice President, Samantha Shann, Vice President Finance, Ritchard Ledgerd, Executive Director, Tecla Mlambo, PCo Education, Liliana Alvarez, PCo Research, Sandra Bressler PCo Practice Development. I have been re-elected for a further 2 year term as President and I want to personally thank the member organisations for re-electing me unopposed to this position. It is an honour to serve.

The WFOT Congress 2018 was a highly successful and stimulating event. The feedback and comments from delegates and exhibitors are still swirling in my head – “life-changing”, “re-defining”, “I am going to re-think my entire teaching strategy”, “career changing”. In organising the Congress WFOT, guided by our South African colleagues, tried to truly embrace the Congress theme “Connected in Diversity – Positioned for Impact”. The Congress was a truly South African experience. From the moment it began with the opening ceremony there was a “buzz” in Cape Town. There were more interactive sessions, the introduction of a plenary session presented by occupational therapy service users, a debate, panel presentations; and a world café producing high energy throughout the convention centre. The themes and presentations really struck a chord with the participants.

Concerns were raised that we would have poor attendance if we didn’t assist delegates to attend. Through the fund-raising efforts of WFOT, OTASA and Roshan Galvaan almost 90 delegates were given funding to attend and there may be others we don’t know about. It is pleasing to note that the highest attending group at the Congress were therapists from Africa. 

Concerns were raised that people wouldn’t attend because of the water shortage. I addressed the challenges of the water situation in Cape Town in my previous President’s message, and the steps that WFOT and our colleagues in South Africa were taking to ensure that the WFOT meetings and Congress could proceed in an appropriate manner in May. The considerations included the ecological impact, contributing to the local economy, and achieving the organisational requirements of WFOT. We are proud to announce that we had 2025 delegates from 85 countries – we are equally pleased to say that it rained while we were there.

I would like to thank everyone involved for their huge efforts in working together to meet our goals and achieve so many inclusive, stimulating, and informative outcomes. The messages of congratulations and positive feedback are still coming in from around the world and Facebook and Twitter are both still alive with comments. For a more extensive report on the activities in Cape Town, look out for the WFOT e-news which will be circulated soon.

The sense of achievement, support and connectedness generated during our experiences in Cape Town is of great value to WFOT, occupational therapists, and our profession of occupational therapy as we continue to develop and make an impact on the health and well-being of the populations that we serve. We are truly ‘Connected in Diversity: Positioned for Impact.’

With Best Wishes 
Marilyn Pattison

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