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The WAAVP was formed in 1963 and has an expansive and impressive history. This is the history of the WAAVP presented by Professor Lord Soulsby at the 19th WAAVP International Conference in New Orleans. Lord Soulsby is a charter and honorary member and the first president of the WAAVP.
In 1959 at a Madrid conference, the World Veterinary Association called for an association of veterinary parasitologists. It was to be a world wide organisation, open to all countries, and initially 140 members from 35 countries were recruited. The Committee who co-ordinated the start of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) were: E.J.L. Soulsby who was chair of the committee, W.S. Bailey and T.W.M Cameron.
The Association met in 1963 in Hannover, where 'The Evaluation of Anthelmintics' edited by E.J.L. Soulsby were the first proceedings.
The Association was organised during this conference, and the executive committee was formed. E.J.L. Soulsby from the UK was elected President, with K. Enigk from Germany and R.D. Turk from the US as Vice Presidents. The Directors were delegates from across the globe.
Over two decades, ten biennial meetings and five presidents the WAAVP was becoming a force in global veterinary medicine; by 1985 there were 400 members.
Parasitology was gaining momentum and had a section in WVA meeting every four years. The WAAVP meetings were bi-annual with a shadow meeting after each WVA conference.
By the 1980's there were 7 books published from the invited papers presented at the conferences, and in 1983 Veterinary Parasitology became the official 'organ' of WAAVP.
Conferences gave the parasitologists an opportunity to learn about the parasitological perspectives of the hosting country, and to enjoy the culture!
The WAAVP was propelled to it's heights by the dedication of some of the founding members in the beginning. Some of these key parastiologists were:
During the 1980's there was a revision of the statutes. This was initiated by S.M. Gaafar (pictured above) who appointed a committee chaired by G. Urquhart. In 1983 the eight-year Executive Committee term was born, to encourage new and innovative thinking in the WAAVP. Other changes within the executive committee around the terms of Presidents etc. were also recommended.
The WAAVP's link with the WVA is obvious, and has been an important part of the development of this association. The locations of meetings, such as Rio and Australia have been a common link as both associations hold conferences frequently after one another in the same place. But this relationship underwent some strain in the late 80's with corporate conflicts after 'disappointing attendance' for the parasitology section of the WVA. This prompted President Eckert to write to the WVA with concern. In 1995 three speakers from the WAAVP were invited to speak at the Yokohama conference.
The WAAVP provide guides and information to benefit the understanding of parasites, and have helped organisations such as FAO and WHO who deal with some of the effects of parasites. To advance the understanding of this speciality the association has a grant scheme for students to travel and learn. The WAAVP also created SNOAPAD/SNOPAD to promote consistency for the naming of diseases or infections caused by parasites.
There are many traditions within the WAAVP. The Cowbell (pictured above), handcrafted by Mr. G. Szoboszlay (Debrecen, Hungary), was a gift from the Hungarian Society of Parasitologists (HSP) to the WAAVP at it's IXth conference on 14th July, 1981 in Budapest. It was the intention of the donors that the bell should be rung at the convening and adjournment of all future conferences of the WAAVP and handed over to the organisers of the following conference. The belt of the cowbell was furnished by eight bronze rings, to hold the inscriptions of individual conferences.
Also pictured above is the WAAVP gavell which is used at each WAAVP bi-annual conference.
Registrations for the WAAVP conference have increased over time, there was a large increase in the 1980's; 450 in Rio, 400 in Montreal and 490 in Berlin, and the price has steadily increased aswell. The 1980's were also a 'golden era' for anthelminthic discovery and development.
Awards have been created through out the life of WAAVP to honor its members, to acknowledge special parasitologists in the form of honorary members, and in Peter Nansen's case created an award in his memory.