President's message


Team Marilyn


Marilyn Pattison

Executive Liaison for: Asia Pacific

President’s Message – January 2019

Read the Message in German, Portuguese and Spanish.

What an exciting year 2018 has been and I would like to thank all of you who contributed to making this another successful year for WFOT.

In May we joined with colleagues from around the world for the Executive Management Team Meeting, Council Meeting, and the 17th WFOT Congress in Cape Town, South Africa. Due to the severe water shortage in Cape Town at the time, the Executive Management Team and Council Meetings were held over a slightly shorter period than usual. Congress 2018 went ahead as originally planned. WFOT consulted with our South African colleagues on strategies to balance the issues arising from the water shortage with supporting the Cape Town community and our African colleagues to ensure the success of this first ever Congress held in Africa.

WFOT welcomed the following New Member Organisations, approved by Council:

• The Cyprus Association of Occupational Therapists as a Full Member, with an approved education programme at the European University, Cyprus.

• The Madagascar Occupational Therapy Association [Association Malgache Pour L' Ergotherapie (AMET)] as a Full Member, with an education programme at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar.

• The Professional Association of Occupational Therapists from Romania as a Full Member, with an education programme approved at the Vasile Alecsandri, Bacau University, Romania.

• The China Occupational Therapy Association (with already WFOT Approved education programmes in China)

Associate Members approved and welcomed were:

• Occupational Therapy Association of Jamaica
• Occupational therapy Association of the Bahamas

• Lebanese Occupational Therapy Association
• Guyana Association of Occupational Therapists
• Polish Occupational Therapy Association
WFOT is proud to announce these new Member Organisations – we now have 101 Member Organisations around the world, with an individual membership of in excess of 29,000 therapists and a national organisation membership that represents over 550,000 occupational therapists internationally.

At each Council Meeting, existing WFOT projects are reviewed to monitor their progress and any budgetary implications. Programme plans and projects are developed for action in the two years until the next Council Meeting. You can learn more about these plans and projects by accessing the WFOT Operational Plan 2018 – 2020, available at

It would not be possible to undertake the many important WFOT projects without the major voluntary contribution of time and expertise from our colleagues from many countries. WFOT recruits project volunteers from a range of countries/regions to ensure an international perspective in the outcomes. I would like to thank all who have volunteered in projects including the development of position statements, review of WHO documents, establishing an online education module, responding to surveys, and much more. Our volunteers are our greatest asset – if you would like to be available as a volunteer, please speak with your WFOT delegate.

The WFOT Congress 2018 in Cape Town was a highlight for occupational therapy internationally. Over 2,000 colleagues attended the four days of Congress, and participated in a wide range of educational and social opportunities. The Congress website at provides information on many of the sessions that were held. In addition to being able to read the abstracts for sessions, some presenters have kindly shared their presentations via the website. I encourage you to take some time to review the website and to be inspired by the reports, videos, photos, and other information. WFOT sincerely thanks all who were involved in the Congress organisation and delivery– there was an overwhelming generosity of spirit from the committee volunteers (who shared many hours of their time); the presenters; the sponsors and exhibitors; and, the delegates.
We are already planning the WFOT Congress 2022, 28 – 31March, in Paris, France. The official WFOT Congress 2022 Facebook page is at - please share your plans and communicate with colleagues from around the world. WFOT looks forward to seeing you in Paris in 2022.
World Occupational Therapy Day, 27th October, was another great success this year. Be inspired by the photos of celebrations around the world here. Thank you to all who organised events to celebrate and promote our wonderful profession.

This year, WFOT is excited to be celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the WHO/WFOT Collaboration. WFOT continues to work closely with WHO to promote the profession of occupational therapy, and to ensure that the occupational therapy perspective is included in WHO programmes, policies, and publications. The priority areas for WFOT involvement include assistive technology, mental health, rehabilitation priorities, international classifications and human resources. Reports on collaborative activities are regularly published in the WFOT e-newsletter.

The WFOT Executive Management Team (EMT) are preparing for their annual face to face meeting, to be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, 1st – 5th April 2019. This meeting will provide the opportunity for the EMT to review the business of the Federation, most importantly governance and financial issues.

Last year, 2018, was again one of many great achievements for WFOT. Congratulations to all, and thank you to all who have supported and inspired WFOT. I look forward to building on these achievements and creating new opportunities for WFOT and the occupational therapy profession in 2019. I encourage you all also to be inspired and share in the WFOT excitement again in 2019.

With Best Wishes for a healthy, happy and successful 2019.

Marilyn Pattison


Read the Message in German, Portuguese and Spanish.