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The 4th annual European League Against Rheumatism congress in Lisbon: a personal perspective

DOI: 10.1186/ar1023

Keywords: American College of Rheumatology, European League Against Rheumatism, poster sessions, rheumatology congress, satellite symposia

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The editors of this successful journal, Peter Lipsky and Sir Ravinder Maini, have again asked me to write a personal report, not a summary, of my views of the 4th annual European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Congress of Rheumatology, and indeed, to be as acid and provocative as I wish. The annual EULAR congresses are now firmly established as the European meeting of the year, combining education with science and politics. It is attended not only by Europeans, but also by delegates from North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia, and is therefore truly international. The new respectability is a consequence of the election of outstanding officers to the leading posts in the organization of EULAR.This time I was not an invited speaker or chairman, and I arranged my own trip and paid the registration fee out of my own pocket. I stayed in a modern four-star, air-conditioned hotel close to a metro station and used the free pass that came with the registration. This caused some expenses in time and convenience but provided for ample contacts with the locals. It was unfortunate that I did not speak their language. The registration fee of €800 (onsite registration was €1000) included a year's subscription to The Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, a good journal that now has an impact factor of 3.6. Even taking this into account, the surplus money made by the organization must be handsome. This helps keep EULAR strong, which is a good thing, although I would rather have seen the money coming from other sources than my pension.When the decision was made to hold this congress in Lisbon, someone said that it was 6 years ago, nobody had anticipated the attendance of more than 8600 delegates. The largest hall had a capacity of a little over 2000 seats. Most sessions were well or very well attended. It was fortunate for the organizers that some registered delegates spent time in cooler environments outside the center. The architecture of this conference center does not des


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