The island paradise of Honolulu is still three years away for AVMA conventioneers, but already, the Association is trying to attract foreign veterinarians for the special event.
Dr. Allen Y. Miyahara of Honolulu, AVMA ambassador for Pacific Rim Development for the 2006 Annual Convention, is busy cultivating relationships and planting seeds.
"The Hawaii VMA meeting, which has a fully translated program, averages 125 Japanese veterinarians each year," said Dr. Miyahara, who has been a force behind that showing. He is hoping for several hundred Japanese veterinarians to attend the 2006 AVMA convention. And if the Korean economy continues to be as strong as it currently is, he is optimistic that many Korean veterinarians will attend as well.
Whenever he and his wife, Sue, travel on vacation, Dr. Miyahara extends the trip so he can meet with veterinary representatives in that country. In the past few years, the Miyaharas have been to China, to Korea, to Thailand, to Taiwan twice, and to Japan frequently. Their most recent trip to Japan was this January, when he met with officers of the Japan VMA, Japanese Small Animal Veterinary Association, Japanese Animal Hospital Association, and Nagoya VMA. Their response to arranging special meetings with AVMA officers and committees of particular interest to them at the 2006 convention was encouraging.
Every other year, Dr. Miyahara attends the Federation of Asian Veterinary Associations meeting, where he makes contact with key people in 15 countries. This October, he is invited to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, another opportunity to promote the 2006 convention.
Dr. Miyahara has been a catalyst in fostering the warm relations between the Hawaii VMA and Japanese veterinary organizations since 1975. At the HVMA annual meeting last November in Honolulu, Tabito Yabu, president of the Inter Zoo Publishing Company in Japan, hosted a social for international guests and key veterinary officials, calling it the American-Japanese Veterinarians Friendship Party.
AVMA President Joe M. Howell gave an address. "As national borders have become more open and our economies have become more dependent on international trade and global markets," he said, "we have acknowledged the importance of fostering greater professional understanding and have sought out more opportunities for exchange of information and ideas."
Dr. Howell praised the Japanese veterinary community's contributions to the World Veterinary Association, such as hosting the WVA 1995 silver jubilee congress in Yokohama. He extended an invitation to the 2005 World Veterinary Congress the AVMA is hosting in Minneapolis and the 2006 AVMA Annual Convention in Honolulu. Dr. Howell noted that in March, AVMA staff support to the Council on Education will meet with deans and other members of the Japanese veterinary community to discuss the options available for accreditation of Japanese veterinary schools.
The state of the economy and whether there is war between nations, Dr. Miyahara said, will influence the international presence at the 2006 AVMA Annual Convention.