WFOT: President's Message January 2022 - for information

I hope this finds you well. The start of 2022 brings new opportunities and also a chance to reflect on the previous 12 months.

Throughout 2021 the global pandemic continued, and still does, to affect our personal and professional lives however, as a profession we demonstrated our adaptability, resilience and creativeness finding new ways of working to meet societal needs alongside producing research evidencing our essential contributions to health, well-being and education.

Along with the challenges came many opportunities, such as expanding scope of practice, highlighting the essential and unique contribution occupational therapy brings to rehabilitation and leading on new education methods including innovative approaches to practice placements (fieldwork).

As member organisations you responded to the circumstances and needs of your members often holding very successful online conferences and congresses allowing for different ways to engage with members and widening participation and inclusivity by enabling many who cannot attend conferences in person to experience large professional events. Thank you to all of you who extended complimentary conference/congress registrations to WFOT thereby allowing members of the Executive to attend, learn about practice and pertinent issues in your country and region and contribute to discussions with your members. WFOT was also delighted to contribute to many of your programmes with keynote speeches and welcome messages enabling us to promote and develop WFOT’s work.

Within WFOT, 2021 was a busy year. In January we held our first ever online Council Meeting with an agenda that included electing new members of the Executive. The Executive Management Team have since held regular virtual meetings and continued to work on our governance responsibilities including the objectives within the Operational and Strategic Plan,  financial management, executive programme projects, working with new and existing member organisations and their Governments, progressing WHO initiatives and providing international representation at strategic partnership events.  The Operational Management Team (formerly the Secretariat) has progressed with its structural changes, enabling WFOT to address and deliver critical, time-responsive initiatives in addition to managing the ongoing work of the organisation. We have managed over 70,000 emails, coordinated the approval/reapproval of education programmes, developed publications, online learning modules and established a centralised orientation and communication platform for Delegates and Alternates.

So now we look forward to a new year, a year of new opportunities and also a year that celebrates WFOT’s 70th anniversary. We will continue to draw on our resilience and creativity as the pandemic continues around the globe and we advocate for vaccine equity. Work with WHO will continue to focus on the Rehabilitation 2030 agenda, including assistive technology, mental health and primary care. Our commitment to human rights will be at the core of all our activities as we look forward to working with you all to promote and further develop occupational therapy around the world.

Throughout the year we will celebrate our 70th anniversary particularly during the 35th Council Meeting and the 18th WFOT Congress in Paris in August where I hope we can celebrate in person. An anniversary gives an opportunity to reflect on past achievements, lessons learnt and look to the future.

I look forward to working with you all in this coming year, wishing you all a healthy, joyful and peaceful 2022.


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