It is a great honour for me to be the new President of the European Society of Pathology (ESP). In the 35 years of my connection with the ESP, I had the pleasure to see our Society growing to become the leading force in European Pathology and the membership increase from 600 to more than 3000 today. It is with humbleness and a great sense of commitment that I will try to follow the successful steps of my predecessor Pierre Bedossa, who with his unique quiet strength achieved so much for ESP in just two years by reorganising the office in Brussels, restructuring the Education subcommittee, launching the Giordano and the EORTC/ESP fellowships and new partnerships with clinical and educational scientific societies, to name a few. However, Pierre was the last in a long line of outstanding colleagues leading ESP to become the true Home of European Pathology devoted to education, training, harmonisation, innovation and quality assurance in pathology. I look up to Han van Krieken, Fatima Carneiro, Michael Wells, Fred Bosman, Niki Agnantis, Antonio Cardesa, Manuel Sobrinho Simoes, Günter Klöppel, to name a few, whom I watched as a younger pathologist strengthening ESP with every passing year and thus increasing its visibility in the scientific world. All the above could not have been achieved without the support of the officers of the Executive Committee, the Council and the Advisory Board, the chairs and the active members of the ESP working groups. It is, therefore, a great pleasure for me to be part of a dynamic Executive Committee, along with Pierre Bedossa as Past President, Marco Santucci as Treasurer keeping our finances safe for many years now, Aurelio Ariza as the new Secretary in the steps of the able Ilmo Leivo, and Holger Moch as President-Elect. Having by our side the skilful Raed Al Dieri, in his role as ESP Director-General, and a strong Council I am confident that we will be able to continue successfully on the path of our predecessors. We are fortunate to have a very active Educational subcommittee led by Ales Ryska and a spirited Trainees subcommittee chaired by the enthusiastic Charlotte Kweldam and Daniel Pinto. Our official scientific journal, Virchows Archiv, has seen its impact factor increase under the steering of Daniela Massi, Editor-in-Chief. Equally important is the support of our experienced staff managing the ESP headquarters in Brussels and handling effectively its day-to-day activities, Sarah Byaruhanga and Gosia Short whose smiling faces most of you have recently seen at the ESP stand during the 29th ECP Congress in Amsterdam.
It is my aspiration to see our society advancing to become a society for ALL European pathologists by increasing our membership in countries where this is currently low and by strengthening the bonds with the national societies. ESP can work more towards further reducing inequalities in the delivery of diagnostic services in pathology across Europe by promoting and disseminating appropriate guidelines and standards in various formats, and by continuing the provision of high quality educational courses. The ESP Alfonso Giordano Fellowships will continue promoting advanced training of young pathologists in selected centres of excellence throughout Europe, and the newly launched ESP Junior Academy will nourish the pathologists-scientists of the future shaping research in pathology. ESP aims to support the new generation of European pathologists to become leaders in the field of translational medicine collaborating actively with our clinical colleagues towards the new brave paths of precision medicine. ESP will continue promoting the expansion and harmonisation of External Quality Assurance schemes across Europe through the ESP foundation and collaborating with IQN-Path to ensure the accuracy of applied diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers. Interdisciplinarity of ESP may increase further by continuing the fruitful collaboration with leading professional societies, such as EORTC, ESMO, UEG, and ECCO and by encouraging the development of bonds with new ones always with mutual benefits. Finally, I envisage the European Congress of Pathology (ECP) becoming THE scientific event in international pathology in learning, sharing new ideas and networking with peers to advance translational research activities in Europe and beyond. Indeed, the terrific success of the 29th ECP 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands with more than 3,780 participants from 100 countries shows that this goal is not too difficult to be achieved. I trust that with the support of all colleagues in ESP committees, the input of our Director-General, and most importantly the collaboration with our active ESP members, whose suggestions and ideas for improvement are truly cherished, we will be able to reach the remaining goals outlined above.
Last but not least, the ESP together with the Spanish Society of Pathology are now completing the scientific programme of the next ECP taking place in Bilbao, Spain 8-12 September 2018. This will be a special congress as we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of ECP. ESP welcomes ideas and suggestions from the members on how to make this a truly memorable event. Please do contact us with your proposals. Together we will thrive!