Gwladys Guillory, Events and Conference Coordinator introducing Alzheimer Europe.
When was your association founded?
Where is your association based, how many members do you have & in how many countries?
Alzheimer Europe is based in Luxembourg and is an umbrella organisation of 40 Alzheimer associations from 35 countries.
Who are your members?
Our members are all active National Alzheimer organisations in Europe (WHO European Region).
What is your mission & aim of the association?
Alzheimer Europe is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) aiming to raise awareness of all forms of dementia. We are a lobbying organisation promoting dementia awareness, care and research within the EU institutions. This effort includes the European Alzheimer’s Alliance, a group of more than 110 MEPs in the European Parliament, aiming to make dementia a public health priority.
We are also a source of information on all aspects of dementia through our yearbooks, which focus on different issues linked to dementia (e.g. on the legal rights and protection of people with dementia, social support, care pathways and dementia-friendly environments), the Dementia in Europe magazine, which covers dementia policy at the European level and our monthly newsletter.
We are also active in many European projects funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and Horizon 2020.
In 2012, we set up a European Working Group of People with Dementia (EWGPWD), comprised of people with different forms of dementia and of different ages and nationalities. The EWGPWD advises our board (through the Chair of the EWGPWD, who is a full board member) and participates (either as a group or as individual members) in all our activities and projects.
We also organise ethical reflection and develop ethical guidelines and positions on topics of relevance to the rights and wellbeing of people with dementia (e.g. on restrictions of freedom, assistive technology, dementia research and ethical dilemmas faced by people with dementia and carers) through the European Dementia Ethics Network (EDEN), which we established in 2009.
What are the major challenges facing your association?
Our organisation aims to make dementia a priority for public health at EU and national level, as well as a research priority. We wish to promote a holistic approach to research which focuses both on providing hope for a better cure, treatment or prevention of dementia in the future whilst also providing practical care and solutions for people currently living with the condition. This may best be summarised by our motto “Care today, cure tomorrow” which was also the title of our 2017 Annual Conference in Berlin.
What kind of events are organised by your association?
We organise the following events:
- An annual conferences which rotates within European Countries where our members are located. It attracts people with varied backgrounds in dementia, including people with dementia and their carers, representatives of national Alzheimer associations, healthcare professionals, academics and researchers, as well as policy makers.
- Lunch Debates at the European Parliament to regularly update Members of the European Parliament on a number of important issues.
- Public Affairs meeting for our members to exchange on EU and national policy developments and campaigns.
- Company Round table meetings bringing together the AE Board, representatives of corporate sponsors and AE member organisations to discuss the progress of the organisation’s different corporate projects.
- Meeting of the European Working Group of People with Dementia where they provide views of people with dementia on various topics
- Ethics working group meetings with a panel of experts from various countries on ethical issues.
What is the decision process behind the selection of a destination/venue?
Regarding the destination of the annual conference, we rotate within 5 European Regions, within each region only the countries where the conference has not been in the last 10 years can be selected. We compile research of potential venues, cost and practicality for each of the electable countries. The Best 3 are selected and presented to the Board. After selection of the country we compile more detailed bids comparatives and again a selection of 3 venues is presented to the Board who will make the final decision.
Can you share your insights about the latest trends within the association community?
The association communities, I think want to be considered as serious players in the meeting industry. I believe there is a real collaboration and knowledge sharing trend within Associations but also a real need and desire to share this knowledge with the rest of the meeting industry players.
What does your association do in terms of legacy, do your meetings have a societal impact on the destination?
I believe we do have a societal impact on the destination where we host our annual conference, we create this event to raise awareness and create a dialogue within the population, the health care professionals but also the policy makers. A good example would be the Glasgow Declaration, it calls for the creation of a European Dementia Strategy and national strategies in every country in Europe. The signatories also call upon world leaders to recognise dementia as a public health priority and to develop a global action plan on dementia it was launched at the opening ceremony of our conference in Scotland and signed by 153 policy makers, 205 organisations and 11613 individuals.
Also in Ljubljana where following the conference the National Dementia Strategy was adopted.
Are you looking to forge collaborations with other associations? If so in what areas of expertise?
We are always looking for collaboration with other associations, whether it is to support our activities, help us identify experts, identify funding, share knowledge. I often look for association where we can collaborate on the promotion of the conferences, sharing knowledge about meeting industry experts we have had good contacts with, or sharing ideas that can help us create the perfect event for our delegates.
For more information on Alzheimer Europe you can check their website: www.alzheimer-europe.org