“Wolfgang, you have to come to Dubai !”

Sitting at a table at the historic fortress of Vysehrad overlooking Prague last June and looking into the dark eyes of Vassiliki Stathopoulou, one of Europe’s foremost veterinary gastro-enterologists and daughter of a Greek business man, I realised that resistance was futile……

Six months later, just 36 hours after my return from Latin America, I was standing on the tarmac of Dubai International Airport at the Persian Golf – a place that had so completely not been on my personal list of places to visit and yet, here I was enjoying comfortable dry 25C at 7 o’clock in the morning at the end of November.

Vassiliki truly was a women on a mission and this one was no trivial undertaking: bringing the first International Companion Animal and – of course – Equine Veterinary Conference to the Middle East.

Copyright MEAVC

Achieving this as a foreigner and as a women was even more impressive and I was very happy lending my support as a speaker at this inaugural event, especially as I had been asked to give a presentation on one of my favourite subjects: Professional Collegiality and the Global Veterinary Family.

This wasn’t too difficult as my mind was still full of so many fond memories of the times I had spent with many – for me – previously unknown collegues in South America over the past few weeks. In many cases their trust and their hospitality had been very humbling.

As it turned out, Dubai and the 1st Middle Eastern and African Veterinary Conference would not be any different.

Once adjusting to the futuristic skyline and to the splendour of some of the buildings,

I found myself again in the company of colleagues from all over the world meeting one another regardless of their religion, their nationality or their political orientation, unified just by the desire to learn and to become better in the work we are doing. The only difference here was that the delegates from Lima which mainly came from the Americas were now replaced by a genuine mixture of Europeans, Africans, Asians and by colleagues from the Middle East.

The people might have been different but the engagement with new technology like artifical patients to practice venipuncture procedures at the exhibition or their interaction with the speakers was not only the same but possible even more intense, considering that it was the first time that something like this had found its way to the Middle East.

The Emirates are certainly not short of funds (especially at the moment with sky high global oil prices), but good resources do not necessarily translate into good skills and certainly not into ethics.

As much as I admire the fast progress this part of the world has made in so many fields over the last two decades, one can not overlook that the human factor and the enjoyment of life with an element of reasonable restraint mighty at times appear forgotten. Excusions into the desert these days are no longer done on camel back but in Paris-Dakar style with highly powered, tyre pressure reduced SUVs…..

Even more encouraging than, that issues like responsible breeding, lifelong learning and collegiality were here addressed as part of the scientific programme right from the start.

As with all new ideas, it is not important that the first step is big, but it has to go into the right direction.

Sitting one evening during my stay in the desert at night and sharing a traditional meal with new friends from yet another corner of the world, I felt very grateful for having been part of this new project and I hope that Vassiliki’s vision will see many happy returns…..

Published by The Blue Vet

I am a veterinary surgeon with a German and Norwegian educational background. I have been the founder and for over 20 years I have been the senior veterinarian at the Virginia Water Veterinary Clinic in Surrey, England. When starting this blog I was also the President of FECAVA, the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations. In the summer of 2019 I left my clinic to work as an international locum and clinical advisor. I am interested in all aspects of clinical companion animal medicine, in endurance sports and in traveling and meeting people with and without their pets and especially in sharing my knowledge with colleagues in other parts of Europe and the World.

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  1. What an amazing journey. Wherever you go, do, you are touching people‘s hearts. Connecting with vets from all over the world, sharing ideas and good practice is precious and brings success and happiness. Dubai needs you and your team and above all, the animals need you. Any experience with the polo clubs and their horses there? Keep travelling the world and sharing your knowledge and experience as our top vet. Hope to see you soon though in England. Stay safe! Christa


  2. Professional Collegiality and the Global Veterinary Family are noble causes to champion, Wolfgang. I wish you best of luck, especially in this age of the drive towards corporatization of both animal and human medicine.


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