The idea to found the EHPBA was conceived in May 1990 during the 3rd World IHPBA Congress in London, England. At that time there were two European candidate cities for the organization of the 4th World Congress in 1996: one was Bologna (Italian, Chapter), headed by Prof. G. Gozetti and the other was Athens (Greek Chapter), headed by Prof. B. Kekis. Bologna was chosen to organize and host the 4th World Congress.
It was thereafter suggested that a European Congress should be organized in between odd years of the World Congress. By making the venues more accessible we would facilitate the participation of colleagues from Europe, who constitute the majority of IHPBA members.
John Terblanche from Cape Town, South Africa, proposed to give the Greek Chapter the opportunity to organize the First European Congress in Athens in 1995 to test the suitability of a regional HPB organization. President Martin Adson adopted the idea, and Secretary General Robin Williamson replied: "Let's give it a try! If the meeting in Athens is a success, then we shall continue; if not, then we will forget the idea altogether."
The Athens Congress in 1995, under the presidency of Basil Kekis was a great success both in terms of participation of HPB specialists from all over Europe and in terms of the quality of the organization. To pursue this positive experience, it was decided to organize a follow up 2nd Congress in 1997 under the Presidency of Christoph Broelsch, Hamburg, Germany.
Inspired by the success of these two European meetings, the idea for the creation of a European Chapter matured; By-laws were written and European leaders in HPB were identified to serve as founding members. The first General Assembly took place in May 1999 in Budapest, Hungary, during the 3rd European Congress. The creation of the Regional European HPB association was voted unanimously in this 1st General Assembly. The by-laws were approved and the founding officers were elected to serve for the initial period (1999-2001). It was as follows:
Founding council and Officers
President: Basil Kekis (Greece)
President-Elect: Christoph Broelsch (Germany)
Secretary-Treasurer: Spyros Skaltsas (Greece)
Peter Kupcsulik (Hungary)
Dirk Gouma (The Netherlands)
Robin Williamson (U.K)
The new general Committee took the responsibility of selecting venues for the bi-annual Congresses of the Association. Amsterdam was chosen for 2001 and the meeting was successfully organized by Dirk Gouma. Istanbul held the 2003 EHPBA meeting under the leadership of Ali Emre. It was during this meeting that the EHPBA, which now included the Middle East and Africa, was inaugurated formally. The council was expanded more formally organized and new officers were elected. In Istanbul, the vision, spirit and tradition of the EHPBA became established, and its future secured.
Basil P. Kekis