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Eduardo Gutiérrez Galiana
OPGE President 2018-2021

Thank you very much for being part of the XXXVII
Pan-American Congress of Gastroenterology!

On behalf of the Congress Organization and Scientific Committee, we would like to thank the 2242 participants from the Americas and the World, the 220 experts from 40 countries, and the 37 Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy Associations and Organizations from all over the World, who made 457 participations during the three days of the Congress, resulting in a high-class meeting, being the First Virtual Pan-American Congress of Gastroenterology in the history, that the OPGE Board from Uruguay had the enormous challenge and honor to organize.

We also want to express our gratitude to the two Organizing Companies, MCI Group - Grupo ELIS Meetings Management, as well as to all the Industry, for their significant hard work and invaluable support.

Personally, I aim to express my gratitude to the colleagues of OPGE Board and their families, that unconditionally accompanied me during these 3 years, in this huge challenge, doing a wonderful job, with remarkable dedication, commitment, support and encouragement, thank you very much dear doctors: Javier San Martín, José Pedro Ibargoyen, Ana Laura Rodríguez, Virginia González,  my nephew Juan Pablo Gutiérrez Aguiar, Edgardo Smecuol, Arnoldo Riquelme, my brother Horacio Gutiérrez Galiana, Thomas Kröner, Richard Kozarek, David Carr-Locke, and the administrative secretary María Deambrosio; also, my gratitude to the colleagues of the Scientific Committee of the Congress, dears Cristina Dacoll, Beatriz Iade,  Elena Trucco, Carla Bianchi, Carolina Olano, Susana Kohen, Adriana Raggio, Virginia López, Yéssica Pontet, Klaus Mönkemuller, Nicolás González, Federico De Simone. To the Committee of Past-Presidents, Julio Bai, Luis Carlos Sabbagh, José Roberto De Almeida.  To OPGE Special Commission,  Estuardo Ligorria, Robinson González,  and  to the Award and Evaluation Committee of Scientific papers,  Marisabel Valdez,  Marlene Pérez and  Marcelo Silva.

I wish to express my fraternal gratitude to the 37 Presidents and Boards of Directors of the 37 Associations and Organizations of Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy throughout the Americas and the World, who have strongly supported us throughout this process, especially to the World Gastroenterology Organisation WGO, with her President Professor Dra. Naima Amrani, his Past- President Professor Dr. Cihan Yurdaydin and the Elect-President Professor Dr. Guilherme Macedo. Also, express my gratitude to the Presidents of the Regional Association and their Boards of Directors, Professor Dr. Reda Elwakil, President of the African Middle East Association of Gastroenterology AMAGE, Professor Dr. Axel Dignass, President of United European Gastroenterology UEG, and Professor Dr. Dai-Ming Fan, President of the Asian Pacific Association of Gastroenterology APAGE.  I want to highlight, that it was a great honour for me to be a member of the  Governing Council of the WGO, during these years.

I wish to remark the formidable work done by the Scientific Committee of the Congress, resulting in a magnificent Scientific Programme, and to do a special recognition to Dr. José Pedro Ibargoyen, for his fantastic performance in the Presidency of this Committee; also highlighting his transcendental work as OPGE General Secretary.

During the Pan-American Congress, it took place the XX Uruguayan Congress of Gastroenterology organized by the Uruguayan Society of Gastroenterology SGU, being her President Professor Dra. Virginia López, and the X Uruguayan Congress of Digestive Endoscopy organized by the Uruguayan Society of Digestive Endoscopy SUED, being his President Dr. Federico De Simone. Both congresses had great success, contributing to the magnificence of the Pan-American Congress. On behalf of OPGE, we want to thank the SGU and SUED authorities for their invaluable collaboration.

I want to express our special recognition and gratitude to Professor Dra. Carolina Olano, Professor of Gastroenterology of the University of Uruguay, UDELAR, President of the WGO Scientific Committee, and Dra. Susan Kohen, Past- President of SGU; and Professor Dr. Nicolás González, Past-President of SUED; as well as Dr. Edgardo Smecuol, OPGE Honorary Executive Secretary, Past-President of SAGE; for their great compromise, hard work, and enormous support during the last 3 years, being very important for the great success of this meeting.

During the Congress there were multiple and excellent activities, highlighting the World Gastroenterology Organisation Symposium WGO, chaired by Professor Dra. Naima Amrani,  President of the WGO; the WGO Distinguished Lecture, given by ¨Professor Dr. Richard Kozarek¨, Former President of the WGO; as well as several magnificent State of the Art Lectures, one of them given by Professor Dr. Fabián Emura, President of the World Endoscopy Organization WEO and Former President of SIED; another given by Professor Dr. David Carr-Locke, Former President IHPBA and ASGE; and “Professor Carlos  Bonorino Udaondo”  State of the Art Lecture given by Professor Dr. Julio Bai, Former President of OPGE; also Professor Dr. Horacio Rubio, Former President of SIED, with his participation at the Americas Symposium, where all the 22 OPGE member Associations took part; the United European Gastroenterology Symposium UEG; the Latin American Association for the Study of the Liver Symposium ALEH; the Spanish Society of Digestive Pathology Symposium SEPD; the Spanish Association of Gastroenterology Symposium AEG; the American College of Gastroenterology Symposium ACG; the American Gastroenterological Association  Symposium AGA; the Pan-American Crohn and Colitis Organization Symposium PANCCO; the Latin American Neuro-Gastroenterology Society Symposium; the Spanish Group for the Study of Crohn´s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis  Symposium GETECCU; the Rome Foundation Symposium; the Mc Master University from Canada Symposium; multiple relevant topics about Digestive Endoscopy  such as the use of Artificial Intelligence and the Course of Competence in  Endoscopy;  the Digestive Endoscopy Assistants Course; the Young Gastroenterologists and Endoscopists Course; the Colorectal Cancer Symposium; the Obesity Symposium; and many other excellent conferences given by 220 experts from all over the world, about the most varied topics of Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy, especially those related to Covid-19.  We would like to emphasize there was also a motivational activity given by 2 of the Survivors of the Andes tragedy, called, It´s possible! It's up to us!

We had the honour of awarding the 3 best scientific papers presented at the Congress with:

- Professor Dr. Horacio Gutiérrez Blanco award, to the colleagues Dr. Marcos Leites,  Dra. Teresa Freire and Professor Dra. Carolina Olano – from Uruguay

- Professor Dr. Elbio Zeballos award, to the colleagues Dra. Alizon Morales, Dra.Laura Linares,  Dra. Fernanda Dávalos, Dra. Elena Cárdenas,  Dr. Miguel Motola,  Dr. Daniel Santana,  Dra. Adriana Alarcón, Professor  Dra. Gabriela Gutiérrez Reyes, and Professor Dr. Max Schmulson – from México

- Professor Dr. Luis Alberto Boerr award, to the colleagues Dra. Paula Fernández Álvarez, Dra. Belén Maldonado Pérez, Dr. Luisa Laria Castro,  Dr.Vicente Merino-Bohórquez, Dr. Ángel Caunedo Álvarez and Professor Dr. Federico Argüelles Arias – from Spain. 

Also, Professor Dr. Henry Cohen, Former President of the WGO, was acknowledged for his contribution to OPGE and for his great work advising the government of Uruguay during the pandemic.

Last but not least, we had the honour of appointing 3 new colleagues as “Masters of the Pan-American Gastroenterology”, they are:

- Professor Dra. Sheila Crowe from USA

- Professor Dra. Elena Fosman from Uruguay

- Professor Dr. Miguel Ángel Valdovinos from México

At the closing ceremony, it took place a heartfelt tribute to the gastroenterologists and digestive endoscopists from the Americas, that unfortunately died from Covid-19.

We want to highlight, that on the 17th of July took place the virtual OPGE General Assembly, where Professor Dr. Arnoldo Riquelme from Chile, Former President of the SCHGE, became the new President of OPGE for the period 2021-2023.

Congratulations to Professor Arnoldo Riquelme and to Chile!!

The Virtual modality in a Pan-American Congress of Gastroenterology has been a new experience that has shown significant advantages, allowing the participation of experts from all over the world, to contribute with their teachings and facilitating and globalizing the access of the participants.  We had a lot of feedback from participants, who valued the teaching aspect of the virtual modality since the congress remains on the web platform for a sufficient time to review the information and access the lectures of the rooms that could not be seen live.

Before finishing, I want to express my special feeling of gratitude to my friends, to all my family, and especially to my wife Marité Ferriolo Deambrosio, for her support and love, being a pillar for me, to move forward calmly, with firmness and enthusiasm, to face all the great challenges that have arisen during these years.

I want to thank, to the great Team that made this magnificent First Virtual Pan-American Congress of Gastroenterology possible! ¨Where there´s a will, there´s a way¨!

I wish to repeat what I expressed previously in the Opening Ceremony ¨When you work as a Team and with Love for what you do, the result will always have its reward¨!

We hope you enjoyed the XXXVII Pan-American Congress of Gastroenterology, and learned as much as we did, thank you very much! A big hug from Punta del Este, Uruguay

Eduardo Gutiérrez Galiana, President OPGE Uruguay 2018- July 2021, President of the XXXVII Pan-American Congress of Gastroenterology, 14 - 16 July 2021

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