Optometry Victoria, in consultation with the Melbourne Convention Bureau, has submitted a bid to host the fourth biennial World Congress of Optometry in 2021.
The Congress is expected to attract 1,500–3,000 delegates from around the world, presenting a major opportunity for professional international networking and education.
Pete Haydon, CEO of Optometry Victoria and Murray Smith, the Victorian Association’s President, said the opportunity to host the World Optometry Congress had come at the right time.
“We’ve always had the concept that our conference would be something bigger than the quasi-national conference for optometry. We’ve wanted to turn it into a truly international event, so when we were invited to submit a bid we were really excited. It’s a significant project,” said Mr. Smith.
presenting a major opportunity for professional international networking and education
Although there is plenty underway at the moment due to the proposed amalgamation of Optometry Victoria and Optometry South Australia being fully scoped, Mr. Haydon said the Association was in a strong position to host the international Congress.
“We spent some months assessing the viability of hosting the congress. Melbourne is a great place to hold an event like this and Optometry Victoria has the required experience and expertise in event management – our current conference, SRC, is well respected and is a truly scalable model. Our education committee has demonstrated its ability to develop educational themes and source international speakers that address the professional development needs of optometrists. We believe that we have the best destination in Australia for this Congress, and we’re looking forward to working with the Melbourne Convention Bureau and other partners to bring it here. The support we’re getting from the sector to date has been fantastic,” said Mr. Haydon.
Mr. Smith said the opportunity to invite a significant number of international eye health experts to Australia to speak would provide local optometrists with valuable exposure to global knowledge, experience and approaches to practice.
“Our members are very supportive of our bid – they are very receptive to the development and progression of the Association, to what we do and what they gain from our activities. They are also always open to expanding their own roles and scope of practice. But, as well as learning from others, Australian optometrists can be influencers and drivers of optometry in other countries too. We can be proud of what optometry does in Australia… and this Congress will cement our place in optometry in a global context.”
The third World Congress of Optometry takes place in Orlando, USW from 23–28 October 2019. Optometry Victoria will find out whether it is successful in its bid to host the 2021 Congress in late 2018.