After Christmas, summer holidays, Argentina's Bicentennial celebrations and other circumstances that are as ephemeral as time, we are coming to the end of the XXI World Allergy Congress (WAC 2009).

We continue working in 2010 with unusual satisfaction, after having been able to organize an extraordinaryWAC 2009, not only from the point of view of scientific excellence but also from the perspective of the social program. The organizational and logistical work done by the Organizing Committee, especially the local one, and the Professional Congress Organizer (PCO) of Argentina was world-class and of such efficiency that it was highlighted by many colleagues and friends in their warm letters of congratulation.

We specially thank our closest collaborators for their commitment, selflessness and time devoted to the organization of WAC 2009 since they were essential for the achievement of this success. We expected to hold a congress that would finally ratify what we are capable of doing in the field in our country when we commit ourselves to working with seriousness, creativity, dedication and respect for the rules that make ventures successful, and we feel the satisfaction of having attained it. Moreover, we want to express our pride in having been able to show all of Argentina’s greatness. At every minute, this Cordobese and this Italian that sign below have felt how “our” dear Buenos Aires welcomed us with her traditional and warm hospitality and beauty.

We had to preside over this congress in a very complicated context, the world financial crisis that still affects the global economy, Swine Flu and other international and local obstacles are just some examples of those difficulties, but...we did it!

We would like to highlight the wonderful work done by Argentina’s PCO, Ana Juan Congresos, as well as the collaboration of the WAO, Edi Inc. Secretariat in the United States.

WAC 2009 has been the result of many years of enormous work of the different committees, but, especially, of the small and stoic local committee that worked with total commitment and generosity during the last year in the final stages of the organization, which were the hardest and most intense. For us, the undersigned, organizing WAC 2009 meant to continue serving WAO and trying to devote our years of dedication and experience to the international community of the field. To all who made WAC 2009 possible, to sponsors, to hired service companies that worked with great professionalism, to those who encouraged us, to those who constructively and healthily criticized us, to those who gave us ideas and affection, to those who have glowingly praised us... THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Kind regards,
 
Chairman
WAC 2009
Prof. G. Walter Canonica 
Professor of Medicine 
University of Genoa DIMI 
Genoa, Italy
Chairman
WAC 2009
Prof. Carlos E. Baena-Cagnani 
Catholic University of Córdoba 
Córdoba, Argentina 
University of Genoa DIMI 
Genoa, Italy
 
 
2º INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON IMMUNOTHERAPY
Emulating the success of Bangkok 2007, the 2º International Symposium on Immunotherapy was held in Buenos Aires with new and innovative ideas and a new format. Together with the traditional plenary sessions “Breakout Sessions” were programmed to enable participants to listen to specific topics related to this treatment of their interest. The conferences and sessions presented by world experts on this topic were followed by a great number of participants on the first day of the Congress; the room had 1.800 seats and… there were people standing!
 
1º INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON RHINOSINUSITIS
Michael A. Kaliner, former President of WAO, together with Mario Zernotti, Claus Bachert and Ruby Pawankar, designed the 1º International Symposium on Rhinosinusitis. This program also had great acceptance by the participants that attended the conferences and had an active participation in debate and question-answer sessions on the last day of WAC 2009. We appreciate Mike and Mario’s idea to carry out this symposium.
 
2º INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON FOOD ALLERGY
Also along the same lines of Bangkok programs, the 2º International Symposium on Food Allergy was held with great success. Two international authorities on the subject, Prof. Sami Bahna, President of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and Dr. Alessandro Fiocchi led this educational activity which attracted the interest of 600 participants.
 
1º WAO GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON PEDIATRIC ASTHMA
Thanks to the idea of one of the Presidents of the Congress, the 1º International Conference on Pediatric Asthma was held on the last day of WAC 2009. This program was directed by Carlos E Baena-Cagnani, Stanley Szefler and Peter Le Souëf, and featured the participation of international renowned speakers such as Andrew Bush, Robert Lemanske and Heather Zar, among others. 
This activity was related to the World Allergy Day (WAD), which focused on pediatric asthma. 
On this day, the Declaration on the Rights of Asthmatic Children was issued, which has been recently published (JO Warner, N Rosario, P Potter, U Wahn, CE Baena-Cagnani. A children's asthma charter. Ped Allergy Immunol 21: 1-Part-I, 1-2, 2010). On more than one occasion, the 900 seats in rooms Libertador A and B were filled. The scientific program was excellent, with plenary sessions and “breakout sessions”.
 
 
During WAC 2009 six special activities were carried out. These enriched the scientific program and showed once more that WAO is an organization that attracts international activities of great importance.
The American NHLBI (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute) has been developing a research program for several years now with different studies that shed light on different asthma phenotypes. Several of the results already obtained and some hypotheses generated by these studies were presented in Buenos Aires.
 
As for the World Health Organization, it held a consultation on the definition of severe asthma in the headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva. Its main objective was to reach a definition of this growing problem that would be operative not only in developed but also in middle and low-income countries. Several participants in the Congress were present in this consultation; such is the case of J. Bousquet, C.E. Baena-Cagnani, K. Rabe and A. Bush, among others. The first reports drawn from this meeting in Geneva were presented in a special symposium.
 
The scientific program dealing with nutritional aspects of food allergy was extensive and varied. As a crowning achievement of this program, a meeting of experts was held in Buenos Aires concerning WAO’s Position Paper about the diagnosis and treatment of cow’s milk allergy: DRACMA (Diagnosis and Rationale for Action against Cow's Milk Allergy), which has been recently launched in Milan. This program was led by Dr. Alessandro Fiocchi.
 
GA2LEN is a network of excellence which promotes research on allergy in Europe. During WAC 2009, GA2LEN focused on the dermatologic aspects of allergy, mainly based on the guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic urticaria, which GA2LEN has recently published.
 
ARIA (Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma) is a guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of Rhinitis and its comorbidities, especially asthma, which has achieved worldwide recognition. This program led by Jean Bousquet was developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization. During WAC, several topics related to the ARIA initiative were presented and it was in Buenos Aires where the ARIA Executive Committee met for the first time. The latter is made up by the following members: J. Bousquet, C.E. Baena-Cagnani, C. Bachert, G.W. Canonica, A. Cruz and T. Zuberbier.
 
Allergic and Asthmatic Patients Summit: During WAC 2009, the World Summit of patients with asthma, allergy and other chronic respiratory diseases was held in collaboration with UNASMA, EFA from Europe and FUNDALER from Argentina.
Marianella Salapatas (EFA), Otto Spranger (EFA), Antje Fink-Wagner (EFA), J. Lötvall (President of EAACI) and Natalio Salmún, together with Edgardo Jares and Marcelo Kohan, carried out this activity, which will give birth to the Buenos Aires Declaration of Asthmatic Patients. 
Under the sponsorship from GARD Argentina (Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases, WHO) and the support of the Ministry of Health of Buenos Aires, a sanitary trailer was set up for patients to undergo spirometry and allergy tests. These activities involved the whole community and marked a milestone in allergy world congresses working with the community.
 
Sister Society Symposia

27 WAO sister societies participated in the Sister Society Symposia held during WAC 2009. On this occasion, the number of this type of sessions was far superior to previous editions.

More than 1000 professionals attended. The selected topics were varied and included the different areas of allergology.
Among the most attended symposiums, there were two that stood out: one from the Brazilian Society of Allergy and Immunopathology titled “Allergic Diseases and Parasitosis”, and the other symposium from the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology titled “Sublingual Immunotherapy.”

We thank all the Sister Societies that participated in WAC 2009 and collaborated on the development of this ambitious Scientific Program.

 
WAO House of Delegates

As it is tradition, the WAO House of Delegates was held, presided over by Prof. G W Canonica in his capacity as President of WAO.

Delegates from all the countries that have Allergy Societies and that are members of WAO as well as of Regional Societies and affiliate organizations participated. Prof. Canonica made a summary of the two years of his successful presidency, which was unanimously approved of by the delegates.

Also, the presentation of the candidate cities to organize the WAC 2015 World Allergy Congress was made and Seoul, Korea was the chosen one by the delegates.

Tribute was paid to those who collaborated selflessly in the 2008-2009 Board of Directors and the new 2010-2011 Board of Directors was ratified.

Finally, Prof. Canonica handed over the hammer which stands for the WAO presidential power to Dr Richard F Lockey from Tampa, Florida, United States.
 
 
The request for WAC 2009 organization started in 2002 during Dr.Anahí Yáñez presidency. Buenos Aires ran for and won the host city designation for the 2009 World Congress. The group that made the presentation (C Crisci, EJ Jares, H Neffen and A Yáñez) was led by Dr CE Baena-Cagnani who, on that occasion, assumed the presidency of WAO and of the Local Organizing Committee.

From that moment on, work was done silently, but steadily, and in the year 2007 the committees that would work in the Congress in conjunction with Ana Juan Congresos company from Buenos Aires started to be set up.

The scientific program was designed by a group of recognized experts and researchers in the field and the meetings came one after another in Europe as well as in the United States. 

Two meetings deserve special consideration: in January 2009 the Scientific Committee Executive Group met in Paris to complete the program. That meeting was attended by Carlos E. Baena-Cagnani, G. Walter Canonica, Jean Bousquet, Richard F. Lockey, Cezmi Akdis, Karen Henley, Mariú Denovi (Ana Juan Congresos) and Chiara Criugliano (University of Genoa).

The second meeting that is worth mentioning is the one held in August 2009, in Cancun, where the final program was developed, international travel grants were assigned, and abstracts and papers were organized. Besides, this meeting came in useful to visit the WAC 2011 host city along with our Mexican colleagues. The meeting was attended by: Natalia Jauregui and Hernán Marano (AJC), Charu Malik, Kate Kirchner and Katie Vande Zande (WAO) and the same colleagues that were in Paris, except for Jean Bousquet who was replaced by Juan Carlos Ivancevich. Mario Zernotti and Carolina Sedrán also participated.
 




 
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The WAC 2009 Organizing Committee gratefully thanks those who made this extraordinary Congress possible by providing their services: Ana Juan Congresos (Professional Congress Organizer), BiniVisión from Córdoba (audiovisual equipment), Sergio Ochoa (event organizer), José María Oribe (publicist). Estudio Pino y Asociados (Accountancy Practice), Ana de Choch Asseo (Simultaneous Interpretation), Pallissó Diseño Arquitectura Express (Technical Direction, Signs and Structures for the Secretariat) and Conti Tecnología Informática (Accreditations). 
Prof. Carlos E. Baena-Cagnani would like to give special thanks to: Mariú Denovi, Carolina Sedrán, Jimena Alvarez de Toledo, Candela Fernández Wyngaard, Natalia Jauregui, Susana Ibáñez, Ivanna Yurcich, Paula Paladini, Katie Vande Zande and Carla Flecha.
 
 

Dear Walter and Carlos,

Congratulations on a superb WAC in Buenos Aires. The planning was about the best I have seen and the scientific level of the meeting was outstanding. Lee and I enjoyed every aspect of our time in Buenos aires and even with 3 lectures and a fair number of meetings for a " retiree", I managed to see the city once again including a day trip to Uraguay. We then visited Iguasu Falls and Bariloche--Argentina is great and exceeding all my expectations !
We wish you and your families a Happy and Healthy 2010. . Happy belated Chanukah, and Merry Christmas.

Sincerely,
Allen

Allen Kaplan. Past President WAO and President WAC 2003 Canada
Dear Carlos and Walter,

Unforgettable. This is the word to summarize the combination of excellence of the scientific program with the wonderful social events despite all the economical and infectious threats. It was the best WAO Meeting ever, no doubt, and sets a new standard for this creative federation of societies both of you have nurtured so carefully.
I thank you enormously for the generosity of the award and for the chance to be part of this unforgettable congress, being proud of being Latin, and being Latin American. Buenos Aires was beautiful as always. 
Please rest and enjoy the holidays. God bless you in 2010!

Your admirer,
Álvaro

Prof Alvaro A Cruz.
Salvador, Brasil. GINA Miembro del Comité Ejecutivo

Thank you Dr. Carlos Baena,

I feel really proud of the work done on the organization of the congress. I’ve been in touch through different means and somehow I feel as if I had participated.
The Argentinian friends couldn't do less.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year full of success

Regards, 
Olimpio

Dr. Olimpio Rodríguez Santos 
Second Degree Specialist in Allergology
Prof. I.S.C.M. “Carlos J. Finlay” Camagüey Cuba

Dear Juan Carlos: 

Thank you again for a very successful WAC, both scientifically and socially. 
Best wishes to you & your family for enjoyable Holidays and Happy New Year.

Sami 

Sami Bahna, MD, DrPH, FACAAI, FAAAAI
President, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
I share congratulations with Dr. Alfonso Mario Cepeda. I was astonished by the high quality of the World Allergy Congress. All details were carefully checked and the results obtained were impressive.
On this occasion, I participated as a trainee and I had the honor of observing and becoming acquainted with the lectures and papers of the best doctors in the world. This has been a real source of inspiration and motivation.

Thank you for eveything.

Hector Cuevas Castillejos 
Pediatrics Resident Hospital Ángeles del Pedregal, Mexico
Dear Carlos,

Accept my congratulations on the organization and scientific level of WAC 2009 and extend them to Walter. Unfortunately, I was not able to express them in person because we both - you, the organizers, and us, the lecturers- were always very busy.
Anyway, I appreciate that you have allowed me to give 5 lectures which, apart from helping us make our papers spread, it made me feel that I was making my contribution to this important meeting.
I wish you happiness in the year to come and high productivity at work.

Regards,
Lucho

Prof. Luis Caraballo. University of Cartagena
Dear Carlos,

Today I have came back home after short visit to Iguazu Falls.
I would like to thank you for invitation, great opportunity to participate and contribute in the extraordinary scientific program. It was perfectly combined science news/ beautiful city of Buenos Aires/exciting Opening and even more fabulous Closing evening.
Congratulations in my personal name, my husband´s name and all 15 participants from Serbia. We have been active if you consider the distance and costs apart of me we had one oral presentation and 2 posters.

Looking forward to seeing you agan.
Best wishes and Merry Christmas!

Zorica Zivkovic
Academica. Universidad de Belgrado
Carlos:

I take the opportunity to thank you very, very much for your generousness, hospitality and support.
The Congress was really a big success. Congratulations!
Dear Carlos, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

With my best wishes 
Yours grateful

Otto Sprengel
Prof.Bauer & Spranger Communication Consultancy GmbH. EFA

Dear Carlos, 

I let some time pass so that your mailbox would not be deluged with emails and you could receive mine showing my gratitude for the opportunity you have given me to participate in this major event with three lectures and the submission of four abstracts. I think this was a memorable congress, and as a whole, the best world congress I have ever attended: the scientific quality, the organization with everything at hand, the social events and contacts with colleagues from all over the world, which provide ample growth opportunities and new plans/relations for the future, all of these in an Argentinean setting that for some reason I love. 
Thank you and best wishes for the end of the year and a great 2010! We will continue striving to improve the living conditions of our allergic children around the world and in our continent of which I feel part, although I am only half Latin. 

Regards,
Désirée

Désirée Larenas-Linnemann, MD, FAAAAI, Dist.Intl.FACAAI. Mexico
Dear Carlos, Dear Walter,

Thank you very much for the Best WAO Congress ever!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
BR Erkka and Satu

Erkka Valovirta M.D. Ph.D., Adj.Prof.
Chief Paediatrician and Paediatric Allergist. Finland

Dear Dr Carlos: 

On behalf of myself and the Lebanese Society of Allergy & Immunology, I would like to thank you and the Organizing Committee of WAC 2009, for such a truly memorable and wonderful meeting, which was rich not only in its well organized and scientific content, but also its warm spirit of friendship and hospitality.
On a more personal note, the Buenos Aires trip and experience was among the most enjoyable of my life.
I would also like to thank the committee for giving us the privilege of hosting the sister society symposium on December 7th ( although we were quite disappointed with the location (Marriott instead of Sheraton), which contributed among other reasons to a very low audience turnout).
Once again, thank you and VIVA L´ARGENTINA !!!!!!

Fares Zaitoun, MD
Lebanon
Carlos:

Although I have not been present in the WAC Congress, I am so glad about its success, because it reaffirms that we, Latin Americans, have enterprising and organizing abilities.
My congratulations to you. I send you a hug for Christmas and I hope that 2010 is even more successful.

José Jardim
University of Sao Paulo. Former President of ALAT