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Mice Net : October 2008
news Unique touch to congress party ePresenter poster terminals. For Dr Jeremy Chapman, the Congress Chair, The XXII Transplant Society meeting was the culmination of an effort to bring the event back to Sydney which started on the closure of the Sydney congress back in 1988. “There was some scepticism from the pharmaceutical industry that distance would impact on our numbers and we might not attract all the right people,” he said. “Through the strong scientific program we developed, we’ve had outstanding attendance and the exhibitors are delighted with the quality and number of delegates.” He said the requirements of the American Medical Association with regards to the conflict of interest issue had been burdensome, with rigorous checking of some 2500 submissions. “This congress accounts for more than a third of CME points a doctor will require over a two year period, so it was essential that the scientific program fully met their criteria. The Meeting Planners team and our reviewers did an outstanding job to achieve this. “It’s very important that the TTS Congress pave the way for its successor and in this regard we’ve achieved admirably. The sponsors make a financial commitment to attend and the sponsored symposia during the lunch breaks and in the early evening have had attendances of 800 plus delegates, which is an outstanding result.” Dr Chapman, who is the incoming president of The Transplant Society, said The Meeting Planners had done an outstanding job in the organisation and management of the congress. “I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from delegates and speakers. The convention centre in Sydney is immaculate and has run like clockwork.” “The SCVB’s key strengths are their connections, experience in bid preparation and commitment to help.” 8 mice.net The Congress Party, staged by Corporate & Special Events, was one of the most ambitious ever developed for a Sydney conference. The organisers were keen to give their guests a taste of Australian life as it is rather than recreating it in some anonymous exhibition hall. They chose the birthplace of modern Australia, Sydney’s historic Rocks area right on the waterfront at Campbell’s Cove overlooking the floodlit Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The delegates were each issued with three specially minted $25 “Transplant money” coins similar to a casino chip which they could use to have dinner at one of four adjoining restaurants in Campbell’s Cove. The restaurants, the Waterfront (seafood), Wolfie’s Grill (Modern Australian), Imperial Peking (Asian banquet) and the Italian Village devised menus aligned with their particular specialty, which were circulated to delegates well in advance. The $75 chips also included a half bottle of wine and unlimited soft drinks. To cope with the numbers, two sittings were arranged, with the first starting at 6.30pm and the second at 9pm. The upper deck of the Overseas Passenger Terminal was transformed into a stylish cocktail lounge where delegates in the second sitting could enjoy cocktails, canapés and light music. On the area between the OPT and the restaurants, stallholders from the Rocks market who specialise in Australian arts and crafts were also accepting “Transplant money”. Delegates snapped up Australian gemstones, essential oils, gilded gum leaves, boomerangs and didgeridoos. On a still, clear night the carnival atmosphere was enlivened with strolling minstrels, street theatre characters and a town crier. There was no need for the 4000 umbrellas which had been factored into the congress sponsorship program. As the evening progressed, the tempo at the OPT was lifted with a lively band as delegates from the first sitting arrived for espressos and the chance to further their education on Australian wines. Adding to the atmosphere was the arrival of the pride of the Sydney Heritage fleet, the 1874 tall ship, the James Craig, giving the visitors the chance to explore this immaculate working ship from the age of the windjammers. Another highlight of the evening was a spectacular fireworks display over Sydney Harbour. Other social events included the President’s Dinner at Sydney’s Summit revolving restaurant. Delegates also had the opportunity to enjoy a performance of Donizetti’s epic Lucia di Lammermoor at the Sydney Opera House, while others attended Matthina, a brand new work from the renowned Bangarra indigenous dance company. With dozens of restaurants and bars in easy walking distance of the convention centre and downtown hotels, delegates made the most of their opportunity to sample some fine Australian fare and wines.