A Note on ISCGG – 2008
Dr P Vyasamoorthy
ISCGG: International Symposium and Conference of Gerontology and Geriatrics and 14th Biennial Meeting of the Association of Gerontology (India). December 16-18, 2008. SV University, Tirupati, India.
The Ninth Letter of the English Alphabet participated in the above Seminar as a special invitee. It was hosted by the Center for Research on Ageing, Department of Psychology, SV University. MOSJE, HelpAge India, ICSSR, ICMR, WHO, DST, CSIR, ASI, APSCHE were the sponsors.
There were approximately 300 (450 by The Hindu count) participants: 22 from abroad, 138 non-local and 140 local. Foreign delegated came from: Bangla Desh, Pakistan, USA, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, China, Malta and Denmark. Students from Nursing, Psychology and sociology disciplines attended in good measure. Almost everyone prominent in Indian Gerontology was there. I can quickly recollect from the top of mind many participants like: Sri KR Gangadharan, Dr SD Gokhale, Capt Singaraja, Dr PKB Nayar, Dr Indira Jayaprakash, Dr Ilango, Sri Sailesh Mishra and many representatives from SCAs in Guntur, E/W Godavary Districts. I missed seeing Sri RN Mital, Smt Vaithi to name just two. Of course Prof Jamuna and Prof PV Ramamurti were seen everywhere playing the host. Perhaps because they got so much entrenched in our hearts, their names are missing in the participants list given in the Souvenir. Another person who was most visible was Prof JS Troisi.
Themes, papers and Sessions
The theme of the three day event was: "Health and well being of the Elderly: Mainstreaming Ageing into Development Agenda". Presentations were grouped under disciplines like Biology, Medicine, Psychosocial gerontology, Geriatrics and Bio-gerontology. These were subdivided into Oral presentations and poster presentations. Oral Presentations were accommodated in combined sessions or concurrent sessions. Besides these, there were sessions for Inaugural, Valedictory, Book Releases, Orations, and Plenary also. Inevitably, the Business meetings of AGI and ICMR were also thrown in.
I was told that the organizers received some 420 papers / abstracts and had a very tough time screening through the lot. In all, some 240 lectures / papers / presentations were scheduled for the three day event as per the program sheet. Fortunately many speakers were absent. As many parallel sessions were going on simultaneously it was difficult to decide as where to go. I had the dilemma of choosing between 1) known speakers and known topics and 2) unknown speakers and interesting titles -- these groups were mutually exclusive.
A simple way to know how many oral presentations were finally made is to count how many certificates / mementos were distributed. The event was so tightly packed with several activities that I am wondering whether this is the most ear-full event of the year.
For some details of what actually was discussed read Sri Sailesh Mishra's posting in Silver Innings Website. As far as my talk on Care providers and Care Receivers is concerned, 'I also ran!' In general, most "bigwigs" devour all the time for themselves leaving just a few minutes each for other speakers. One exception is Sri Gangadharan.
- Food provided was superb, wholesome, hot and fresh. Catering arrangements were excellent, well spread out with multiple serving sections on two floors.
- Participants, who opted for it, were taken to Tirumala for Darshan of Lord Venkateswara. Three batches were organized. This part of the seminar gave immense satisfaction to many – comfortable, convenient and well organized.
- Four publications were released:
i. Dr SD Gokale: Spirituality and Ageing
ii. Prof PV Ramamurti: Joy of Ageing. (For a review, click here)
iii. Dr Irudaya Rajan: Care of the Elderly
iv. Special volume of Bio gerontology on "Brain Aging"
- Contribution of Volunteers who spent sleepless nights to look after the comfortable stay and local transportation for non-local participants was exemplary.
- News clippings about the event were displayed. However no photos were displayed, though the event was well video graphed.
- I found it odd that there was no promotion for AGI membership – no application forms or any literature.
- The Souvenir volume distributed contains 120 abstracts of papers..
- Venue: The venue was the SV University Library Building where a training center is located. Ample lecture rooms for concurrent meetings each well equipped with AV and LCD are available. For combined session a large lecture hall that can hold about 400 persons was used.
- Many speakers (irrespective of Age experience or reputation) need to undergo specific training in presentation skills, especially on how to prepare PowerPoint Presentations. I don't know what led them to imagine that binoculars will be given to each participant as a part of Seminar kit. Moreover, the screen was too small for a large hall.
It is impossible to cover an event of this magnitude in two pages. On the whole it is an event that will remain fresh in my mind for a long time.====================================================