Special music at the Vet2011 opening ceremony at Versailles was
provided by the French Republican Guard playing, naturally, French
The opening ceremony of World Veterinary Year—Vet2011—and related events, held Jan. 23-24 in Paris, provided ample opportunities for international veterinary leaders to share successes, discuss common problems, and celebrate the profession.
Drs. Larry R. Corry, AVMA immediate past president, and Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO, traveled to France to represent the Association.
Part of their agenda involved attending the Vet2011 executive council meeting Jan. 23, held at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) building in Paris.
Participants included Dr. Bernard Vallat, director general of the OIE; Dr. Jean-François Chary, executive secretariat of Vet2011; and about 20 others from around the globe.
Attendees at the meeting learned that in May 2010, there were 268 Vet2011 corresponding members in 43 countries and 15 national committees. Those figures had grown substantially by January, when there were 1,040 corresponding members in 119 countries and 42 national committees. It was also announced that 154 events had been planned to celebrate World Veterinary Year in 55 countries, but only a third had been accredited by a Vet2011 national committee or the Vet2011 Management Council.
The next Vet2011-accredited international event will be the second World Conference on Veterinary Education, May 13-14 in Lyon, France. This year's conference will elaborate on a plan to create harmonized, adaptable educational techniques for each participating country. Several proposals have been submitted for inclusion in the program, including one from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.
At the conference, Dr. DeHaven also plans to present the work of the OIE on model standards for veterinary education. Since the first conference, an ad hoc group of veterinary authorities, including Dr. DeHaven, have considered how to establish basic veterinary education standards, provide food safety and guard against diseases, improve public perception of veterinary services, and support continuing education (see JAVMA, April 1, 2010, page 712).
On the same day as the executive council meeting, the Vet2011 Gala Dinner at the Eiffel Tower was held. Drs. Corry and DeHaven and their spouses attended this dinner, which was limited to 140 VIPs.
The following day, Jan. 24, the Vet2011 opening ceremony was held at Versailles. The Corrys and DeHavens were given a private tour of an educational exhibit at the Chateau de Versailles prior to the event, which more than 700 invited guests attended.
Speakers included Margaret Chan, MD, director general of the World Health Organization, by video; Jacques Diouf, PhD, director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization; Dr. Vallat; Dr. Chary; and Dr. Tjeerd Jorna, president of the World Veterinary Association.
Deans from four French veterinary schools attended the ceremony, as did approximately a dozen veterinary students from Alfort and Lyon—some of whom may participate in exchange programs with U.S. veterinary colleges.