David Wilson © ECCO
The first International Symposium on Paediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (PIBD) took place in Rome in 2006 and was hosted by Salvatore Cucchiara. It was followed by the second PIBD Symposium in 2009 in Paris, hosted by Frank Ruemmele. Both were private initiatives. After a pause while plans to alternate PIBD Symposia between venues in Europe and North America were considered, the paediatric IBD Porto group of ESPGHAN took over all organisation. This resulted in the 3rd Symposium in Rotterdam in 2014, hosted by Hankje Escher.
The PIBD Symposia are the largest stand-alone monothematic meetings on paediatric IBD in the world, and PIBD 2017 in Barcelona, hosted by Javier Martin de Carpi and spanning September 13–16, was the largest ever in the series. In terms of numbers, there were 528 delegates from 57 countries in five continents, eight sponsors and also a separate parallel nurses’ and dietitians’ session with 35 delegates. There were 51 invited speakers and chairs, 15 oral (plenary abstract) communications, 40 e-posters and 112 hard posters. As well as state of the art lectures, there were patient and EU perspectives, considerations of controversies in paediatric and adult IBD, presentation of PIBD guidelines and position papers, and a grand finale with two breathless and comprehensive compilations of all key messages from the entire meeting. The abstracts were published as a special online supplement in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.
As could have been expected in Barcelona, there was a superb social programme, with my highlight being the speakers’ dinner in the amazing Hospital Sant Pau, a modernist and Catalan Art Nouveau classic, and an oasis in the middle of this busy city; the conference dinner was held in the stunning Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. In a very thoughtful gesture, the organising team donated 20% of the symposium profits to the IBD patient association of Catalonia.
The PIBD Symposia are now a fixture in the paediatric gastroenterology and IBD calendars, and going forward they will be biennial events, held under the auspices of ESPGHAN yet still organised by the Porto group. Our next and 5th symposium (PIBD 2019) will be hosted by Gabor Veres in Budapest over September 11–14, 2019, and there will be a particular emphasis on opening up IBD education to our colleagues treating IBD in Eastern Europe at an affordable price; the 6th symposium (PIBD 2021) will be in Edinburgh.