Last week, my daughter Joelle was married to Wesley in what was to me an unusual circumstance. Usually Asian marriages are large affairs involving hundreds if not thousands of people. The day usually starts with ceremonies involving tea and religious rites followed by the actual ceremony and ends in a large banquet. For Joelle and Wesley, the celebration was dictated by the rule that not more than 20 people can attend. It was decided then to make the wedding available online through the ubiquitous ZOOM platform so that more family and friends could attend. To me a wedding is a public stating and culmination of the relationship two people have for each other. The presence of family and friends serve to validate this relationship.
So it is with IACAPAP. IACAPAP is an association of associations. Our role is to marry the common interests of improving child and adolescent mental health across our diverse worlds. This is validated every 2 years when the associations, its members and interested advocates from around the world gather to celebrate, share and learn from one another. We have been doing it for the last 82 years but this year, the corona virus pandemic put a halt on the meeting. This has happened on 2 occasions in our history; once in Leipzig, Germany because of the world war, and the other, in New Delhi, India, because of regional political instability (almost war I guess). There was also a planned millennium meeting in 2000 in Jerusalem, Israel with two other associations, the International Society of Adolescent Psychiatry (ISAP) and World Association of Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) which fell through because of the political instability (rumours of war). And now this war against an unseen enemy almost made us cancel the Singapore meeting. We are not doing that. Whilst in 1941, 2000 and 2002, it was difficult to imagine meeting without actual face to face contact, technology today has advanced somewhat. It is true that video conferencing was first introduced at the World Fair in New York in 1968 where an expensive solution was unveiled. The development of Voice Over Internet Protocols were only becoming available from 1990s to 2000, the use was not widespread across the world. This pandemic has moved the technology from a geeky curiosity to mainstream pricing, adoption and implementation.
IACAPAP 2020, the 24th world congress will be going virtual in Dec 2-4, 2020. There is still work to be done to make the experience interactive and provide an immersive experience. We launched the virtual congress with a webinar discussing how COVID 19 pandemic has impacted practice across the globe. Like my daughter’s wedding that went virtual, we have to seal our regular union of minds in an online ceremony. I am looking forward to it and I hope you will all register for it – https://www.iacapap2020.org/programme-overview/.