Dear Colleagues,

This year our 37th annual meeting was held in Pasadena, CA, USA hosted by Prof. Gordon McComb. It was a very successful meeting both scientifically and socially and I would especially like to congratulate both Rhoda & Gordon McComb for their splendid hospitality.

When I take a look at the past, I can see that time has gone by faster than the wind. I wish we were able to stop time for an instant in order to do what we needed to do and then push the button to start again.

In one’s life, there are interesting coincidences. 29 years ago, on 14 October 1980, I arrived in Chicago, U.S.A, to study Pediatric Neurosurgery. On the 14th of October 2009, I wore for the first time our traditional Poncho, which represents the most prestigious society in Pediatric Neurosurgery, the ISPN, again in the USA, this time in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity of meeting Raul Carrea, who gave this Poncho to Anthony J. Raimondi as a gift, as he had passed away the year that I became an ISPN member. However, I started my Pediatric Neurosurgery training with Anthony J. Raimondi, who started the tradition by giving this Poncho as a gift to ISPN to be worn by the ISPN annual President.

Almost 15 years ago, in one of the ESPN post graduate courses held in Antalya, Turkey, Harold Rekate asked me whether I was a member of ISPN. It is another interesting coincidence that I was the President of the 28th ISPN Congress held in Istanbul when Harold Rekate had become the president of ISPN. If I had to answer Rekate’s question today I would say proudly ‘Yes, I have been a member of the ISPN for 27 years, a little over a quarter of a century!’

In the ISPN, of which I became a member in 1983, apart from a scientific platform, I have also found a nurturing family environment. Within this family, which has kept growing over the years, I had the opportunity to meet the pioneers of Pediatric Neurosurgery such as the late Raimondi, Epstein, Hoffman, Lapras and distinguished members and friends, the late Rainer Oberbauer, Edgardo Schijman and most recently Tony Hockley. I am sure we all wish they were alive today and could see what we have been trying to do. May they rest in peace.

In 1987, Anthony Raimondi organized the unforgettable first European Pediatric Neurosurgery Symposium, near Lake Garda, in Italy. In our meeting we defined the Pediatric Neurosurgeon as: “A Neurosurgeon who dedicates him/herself to care of children with central nervous system disease.” The key word here is “to dedicate”.

If we hadn’t dedicated ourselves, could we have become pediatric neurosurgeons?

Many children we have operated on are able to continue their lives into adulthood. We are happy of our contribution which attaches them to life. Although they are adults, don’t we even try to take care of their social problems like a parent? Don’t we suffer from the pain of the patients that we cannot cure? Aren’t they all our kids? Don’t we try our utmost to let them survive? These are what differentiate the pediatric neurosurgeon from other neurosurgical disciplines. Unmeasurable efforts given to kids are always the main consideration for us.

In my country, for thirty years, I have been working and putting great effort in the foundation and development of pediatric neurosurgery. Today, as the president of ISPN, I have been given the opportunity to serve at a more comprehensive level. I feel honored and take great pride in being the President of this society, of this family. More importantly, I am aware that being President gives me more opportunities to serve pediatric neurosurgery.

I believe this year will provide us with more opportunities and developments for the ISPN. According to our mission the main issue will be education. The number of post graduate courses of the ISPN will increase in 2010 and also the web based educational efforts will be supported by the expansion of our new web site.

I am looking forward to seeing you all in Jeju, Korea next year.

Sincerely Yours

Saffet Mutluer
2009–2010 President of the ISPN