Report of the 7th
CPLOL Congress in Ljubljana
Speech-language therapy in
sharing good clinical
7th CPLOL congress - "Speech-language
therapy in Europe: sharing good clinical
practice" - was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia from 14 to 16 May 2009.
The organization of the congress was a co-operation
between the Executive Committee of CPLOL, the Slovenian Association of Logopedics and the Cankarjev
Dom Congress Centre (CD-CC).
The webmaster prepared a helpful and attractive congress
website where all information was published (www.cplol.eu/congress2009).
For the congress some improvements were realized
to make the CPLOL part of the organization more efficient. For the first time in the history of CPLOL,
potential presenters had to submit abstracts of free
papers and posters online, in a custom-made system. In
addition, there was no scientific committee to review the abstracts and decide on the programme, but
10 delegates to review online designated abstracts
independently. The vice-president for congress
constructed the programme based on the approved
abstracts. In total, 182 abstracts were submitted of
which 166 (91%) were in English. Eleven proposals were
rejected or withdrawn. The final programme, except for
the three invited speakers and two CPLOL workshops on
education, included 6 workshops, 60 oral presentations
and 105 posters. The English-French ratio was 10 : 1.
The first version of the programme was available
online just before the end of 2008.
All abstracts were made available online one month prior
to the congress.
All presentations and posters that were sent by presenters
are made available online (http://www.cplol.eu/congress2009_proceed/proceedings.htm).
Informal comments made perfectly clear that all participants enjoyed the congress, the international
networking and the warm atmosphere in Ljubljana. The congress was formally evaluated with the same
items on 5-point semantic scales as the previous congress to be able to make a comparison. A total
of 320 participants visited the congress, of which 91 were from Slovenia (28%) and 31 were francophone
Ninety-one evaluation forms (28%) were returned. Overall the congress met the expectations similar
to 2006 (mean 3.6). When a mean rate larger than 3.0 is considered acceptable, the fee (2.9), the
exhibition (2.6) and the catering (2.8) were below satisfaction. The fee was indeed 50% higher than
in 2006 to cover the costs and the catering was kept to a minimum for the same reason. Despite
intense work by CD-CC only a few companies were prepared to come to Slovenia, probably also
due to the economic crisis.
Although lower than in 2006, the keynote speakers (3.5) and the theme (4.2) had good rates.
Moreover, the parallel sessions (3.6), the posters (3.8) and the venue (4.1) were rated significantly
better than in 2006, so the efforts to improve the programme have paid off.
Both the organization prior to the congress and
during the congress had good rates (4.2). The technical
support (4.4) and translations (4.0) were similarly
appreciated as previously, but the social evening (4.1) was rated higher than last congress.
The congress was visited by fewer than the 400 paying participants who were anticipated in the
budget. Because of serious economizing measures by the EC and CD-CC, the deficit could be limited
to 6000 euros (see the treasurer's report). A quarter
of the total costs was needed for translations. The
website and programme were in two languages and presentations were allowed also in both
English and French. Simultaneous translation was possible in English, French and Slovene. One conclusion
must be that translation into three languages is too expensive and that this
regrettably cannot be sustained in the following congress in 2012.
Another aspect is that this kind of international meetings cannot be realized without huge amounts
of unpaid work. The congress in Ljubljana was an excellent opportunity to meet colleagues from
parts of Europe where speech-language therapists are a relatively small group of
professionals. Nevertheless, maybe only large scale congresses in
large capital cities are potentially cost-effective.