IASP Executive Committee Statement on Congress Location

Statement of the Executive Committee of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), on Behalf of the Organization, Regarding the Location of the 17th World Congress on Pain, in Boston, USA, September 2018

In February, the IASP Executive Committee, with support of the IASP Council, issued a statement opposing the U.S. president’s executive order restricting entry into the country from specific nations. IASP leaders firmly believe that scientific progress and medical advances depend on the free exchange of ideas among international networks of diverse health-care professionals and researchers. That is why for more than four decades IASP has convened international meetings of scientists and clinicians who meet in person to advance learning.

The U.S. president’s executive order, the legality of which remains under judicial review, could undermine these important scientific collaborations as well as the 17th World Congress on Pain, scheduled for September 12-16, 2018, in Boston, USA.  Consequently, IASP leaders have reviewed a broad set of factors—financial, contractual, moral, and political—to determine whether to relocate this meeting. Because predicting the status of United States travel policies in 2018 is impossible, balancing these factors proved difficult. Nonetheless, a diligent assessment, including an analysis of alternative locations around the world, has clearly shown that remaining in Boston is the most appropriate choice.

We respect and sympathize with the concerns of our members about the United States travel restrictions, and we recognize that some may be apprehensive about traveling to the United States. For those delegates holding a passport from a country affected by any travel restrictions that may exist in 2018, IASP stands ready to assist as best we can. We will also explore the possibility of making program content available to those who cannot enter the United States because of any such restrictions.

We are aware that some members of the international scientific community are discussing boycotts of meetings in the United States, and we understand that such protests express our long-held shared values. However, this form of protest, especially if undertaken widely, could hinder the success of the World Congress and diminish our ability to serve the international pain community.

IASP looks forward to returning to the United States after a 16-year hiatus. Boston, with its rich history and prestigious academic institutions and medical organizations, is an excellent setting for Congress delegates to share and increase knowledge concerning the latest advances in the study of pain. Our Scientific Program and Local Arrangements committees are working hard to ensure that this is the case. Not only will your attendance enhance the premier global forum for advancing pain knowledge and treatment, but you and the other Congress delegates will visibly demonstrate the power of collaboration to advance scientific knowledge and clinical practice.

We hope we can count on your support, and we look forward to seeing you in Boston in September 2018 at the 17th World Congress on Pain.

Please let us hear from you.

Judith A. Turner, PhD, President (USA)
Lars Arendt-Nielsen, Prof., Dr.med., PhD, President-Elect (Denmark)
Rolf-Detlef Treede, Prof., Dr.med., Past-President (Germany)
Michael Nicholas, PhD, Secretary (Australia)
G. Allen Finley, MD, FRCPC, Treasurer (Canada)
Matthew R. D’Uva, FASAE, CAE, Executive Director (USA)