The 10th Congress of the Balkan Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Expanded from the print edition

November 2016 - Vol. 35, No. 10

Eugene N. Myers, MD

Skanderbeg Square in Tirana.

Skanderbeg Square in Tirana.

In June, the 10th Congress of the Balkan Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery convened in Tirana, Albania. The Tirana International Hotel served as fitting location for diplomatic and scientific meetings. The hotel is located at the foot of Skanderbeg Square, which boasts the monument of George Castriot Skanderbeg, the national hero of Albania.  Astride his horse in the square’s heart, the 15th century leader is renowned for resisting the Ottoman Empire for 25 years.

Suela Salavacci, MD, PhD, president of the Albanian and Balkan Societies of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

Suela Salavacci, MD, PhD, president of the Albanian and Balkan Societies of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

The Balkan Society was founded in 1935. Congresses were held in 1931, 1933, 1935, and 1938, but with the advent of World War II followed by the Soviet era no meetings were held during these perilous times. During the Joint Meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and the Pan Hellenic Society in Athens in 2001, under the leadership of Prof. Manolis  Heladonis, of the University of Crete, the modern day Balkan Society was founded. Prof. Todor Karchev became president of the Society and organized the 4th Balkan Congress in Bulgaria in 2004. I have been the Honorary President since 2001 and have had the pleasure of watching the society grow and mature largely due to good leadership and the high quality of the scientific meetings. A Congress is now held biannually in a different country of the Balkan Peninsula (except Croatia and Slovenia).

Eugene N. Myers, MD, presents the Magisterial Lecture.

Eugene N. Myers, MD, presents the Magisterial Lecture.

The 10th Congress was organized by Suela Salavacci, MD, PhD, president of both the Albanian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and the Balkan Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery. She did a remarkable job in assuring that the goals of the scientific and social programs were met. There were 353 participants from 29 countries on four continents. There were also 53 well-known otolaryngologists from around the world. At the beginning of the Opening Ceremony, I presented the Magisterial Lecture, “How Head and Neck Surgery Has Changed during My Career: A Reminder of the Past and a Glimpse into the Future.” Words of welcome were given by the president of the society as well as political and professional personalities.  An elegant reception followed a concert by an accomplished string quartet.

Dan Fliss, MD, Todor Karchev lecturer; Suella Salavacci, MD, PhD, Congress president; and Eugene N. Myers, MD.

Dan Fliss, MD, Todor Karchev lecturer; Suella Salavacci, MD, PhD, Congress president; and Eugene N. Myers, MD.

This was an interesting, broad-based scientific program, which included 22 round tables, 15 conferences for key lectures, and seven conferences for oral presentations. There were 80 free papers and 92 e-posters. The first Todor Karchev Lecture was given by Dan Fliss, MD, of Tel Aviv, titled “Innovation in Oral Cavity Resection and Reconstruction.”

The Social Program included the Opening Ceremony, the elegant Presidential Banquet, which was enlivened by music and dances from many Balkan Countries as well as an evening at the Opera House. All told, it was an excellent experience in international fellowship.