It was a highlight moment of my career when I received the poncho from KC Wang during the 41st annual meeting in Mainz, Germany.

The poncho, the symbol of the presidency, was established by Anthony Raimondi during the 1979 annual meeting held in Chicago in remembrance of Raul Carrea who died shortly before the meeting while serving as president of the ISPN.  All the names of the past presidents were embroidered on that poncho with a new name being added each year thereafter.  As there was no more space on the original poncho for additional names, Shizou Oi in 2002 presented the ISPN with a second poncho to enable the tradition to continue.  At the 2009 meeting in Los Angeles the original poncho was given to Graciela Zuccaro for safe keeping and put on display in a glass case at the Asociacion Argentina de Neurocirugia in Buenos Aires, Raul Carrea’s home town.

As an organization, the ISPN continues to mature and its scope has broadened.   In keeping with our mission statement the ISPN’s primary goal is education, one that has been greatly aided by the development of the internet.   William Harkness was instrumental in developing our significantly expanded website and updating our logo.  Rick Abbott has pioneered the production of the “Guide”, the Wikipedia for pediatric neurosurgery.  The prestige of Child’s Nervous System with the guidance   of Concezio Di Rocco continues to increase as reflected by its ever higher citation index.  Under the leadership of KC Wang the ISPN now has a professional congress organizer, Kenes, to deal with the clerical matters and to facilitate the holding of the annual meeting.   The teaching courses held worldwide, scholarships and grants round out our expanding educational goals.  All of these activities have required more commitment that has been generously given by our members.

Wolfgang Wagner and his associates held a wonderful meeting in Mainz, a beautiful and historic city on the River Rhine.   The scientific content, social program and hospitality more than exceeded the ever higher expectations for the annual meeting.

As per our mission statement, the ISPN is dedicated to promoting the health of the world’s pediatric neurosurgical population and teaching the neurosurgeons who provide the care.  Our impact on the overall health and wellbeing of a society is very small but very large to those whom we treat.  It is most satisfying to know that one can make a significant difference in a child’s life for decades to come.  For most of us in pediatric neurosurgery it is a calling more than anything else.

We are all looking forward to our next meeting in Rio de Janeiro with Francisco Salomao as the local host.  Chandrashekhar Deopujari will be poncho’d and provide the leadership for the year to come.  Thank you for allowing me to serve as your president for this year.

Come the time, a decade from now, when the need for a third poncho will arise, it is anticipated that the ISPN will be exercising an even larger global role in fulfilling our mission statement.

Gordon McComb