29th Meeting of the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons
20 - 22 June 2021 - Virtual Meeting - CET Time Zone

Welcome Address

­­­Dear Friends, Members, and Guests,

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Program Committee it is a great pleasure to invite you to the 29th ESTS meeting next June 20-22.

2020 has been a complicated year for everyone, and all the events, including all scientific conferences, were held virtually all over the world.

Along the past year we have all progressively learned how to connect to virtual platforms to see friends, relatives and parents, to attend meetings, to share experiences, to work from home. For some it was fun, for others (the young) it was routine, and for many people of my age it was quite complicated. But we eventually managed it, after all, and now we cannot live without Zoom/Webex/Meet for most of our relationships and for our social and professional life.

During the last year the ESTS leadership and the Programme Committee has constantly followed up national and international travel and event-planning regulations and the pandemic figures. As months passed and as it became increasingly clear that the global situation would not change at least for the first half of 2021, we were faced with the difficult decision of how to organize our Annual Meeting, whether in a physical form on our usual late-spring period or maybe later in the year, or in a virtual form. It was a difficult decision, none has the crystal ball to foresee the future, and, at the same time, we really wanted to have a meeting which would be as “normal-looking” as possible, and at the same time to have a meeting in line with the quality and scientific value expected from the largest general thoracic surgical society in the world.

In the end we decided for a virtual meeting.

The risks of a last-minute cancellation of a physical event with severe consequences for the Society and our sponsors, the perfectly understandable safety concerns of many delegates about travelling and accommodation, and last but not least the costs of the congress registration, travel, accommodation after a year of financial restrictions for many young delegates were all key elements for the decision to go for a virtual  event.

As for the date, the decision to maintain the usual period of our Annual Meeting (June) was made because with this choice our beloved delegates and members could stick to the tradition of thinking of June as the ”ESTS month” and so they could “save the date” similarly to the previous years without too much overlap and interferences with other events..

Differently from last year, where the decision to cancel the meeting in June in The Hague and to go virtual in October was made quite late in the year, this year we are very happy to have plenty of time ahead to organize a memorable event. The success of our 1st Virtual Meeting in October, the accumulated experience and the feedbacks from the delegates and sponsors about the October event, represent a valuable background and a powerful stimulus for the organization of the virtual event in June 2021.

We are working hard and with enthusiasm to provide a top-quality, interactive, up-to-date event using the most advanced technology of virtual platform, worthy of the reputation of ESTS.

A particular thank goes to our sponsors, whose support remains fundamental for the organization of the meeting. They continue to trust us, to invest on us, and to support us. We do and we will ever do our best to be up to the service we are asked to provide to the Thoracic Community and to our membership.

History teaches us that every crisis in the human history did not last forever. We defeated smallpox and other virus outbreaks in the past using vaccination. We have developed a safe and effective set of vaccines against Covid-19 through an amazing global collaborative effort. We will make it to defeat and contain Covid-19.

And as it occurred after every big crisis in the past, humankind will arise stronger, wiser and better.

I look forward to having you connected next June at the 2021 ESTS Annual Meeting.

A big virtual hug from your President.

Enrico Ruffini
ESTS President