Chapter 8. 50 Years of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN): Captivating Witness Reports of a Success Story

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Abstract

Since the conception of an idea of a few paediatric gastroenterologists in Europe to create a society for Paediatric Gastroenterology in 1967, and its foundation in 1968, half a century has passed. The European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) now celebrates its 50th anniversary and its utmost success in combining clinical and scientific expertise in the fields of paediatric gastroenterology, haepatology, and nutrition. To describe this success story 14 of the still living presidents of ESPGHAN recount their impressions of the steady growth of ESPGHAN with all the historical facets from their own points of view. This historical view of ESPGHAN over the last 5 decades provides personal accounts of the development of all activities and creations of this great European Society. The Society started as a small family of experts in the field into a global working open society involved in a large variety of activities within the subspecialties, becoming a leading organisation in Europe and beyond. This unique view gives also a wonderful insight into the famous clinicians and researchers from all over Europe who have helped in the growth and development of ESPGHAN. By describing all these activities and collaborations it becomes clear that this astonishing pan-European enterprise was achieved by people who put considerable effort and time into the development of this society. Their statements serve as a historical source and reference for future evaluation of the first 50 years of ESPGHAN. In depicting different time episodes, and by assembling all the historical pieces of a puzzle together, the statements help to illustrate how a highly structured society such as ESPGHAN has evolved over the last 50 years, for what it stands for today and what is to be expected in the future.

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