“International Night” is a World Congress favorite.
By Janhavi Punyarthi
World Congress, the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation’s (IPSF) international conference, hosts a number of innovative and interactive sessions for students from all around the world. The 2018 forum was held in Mendoza, Argentina, and was extra special for APhA–ASP.
Some business, some fun
Generally, World Congress is a 10-day event. The Scientific and Educational symposia were held on the first 2 days, and included engaging speakers lecturing on novel pharmacy initiatives around the world, patient care advances, and more. The remaining 8 days included smaller discussions, debates, and competitions for students to partake in. APhA–ASP is proud to report that our members placed in the patient counseling and clinical skills competitions!
While general members attend lectures, the official delegates of each country attend General Assembly, the supreme governing body of IPSF responsible for voting on essential IPSF decisions (e.g. new member associations, the location of the 2020 World Congress, and IPSF executive board elections). Vineeta Rao, my fellow APhA–ASP International Standing Committee member, and I were honored to be official delegates for APhA–ASP and represent our delegation at the conference.
While the day is spent in professional activity, evenings are spent in a number of themed social events like “Argentinian Carnival” and “Costume Night.” The crowd favorite is
“International Night,” where each country has their own little decorated table with sweets and beverages. It was a blast walking around, learning about each unique culture, and sampling international refreshments along the way.
My final night
The last night was Gala Night, which is the final celebration and awards presentation. As the show was coming to an end, the only award left was the most prestigious achievement of the evening—the Sidney J. Relph Award for the Overall Best IPSF Member Organization. This award reflects how well an association has performed over the past year.
Then the announcement was made: “The IPSF 2017–2018 Sidney J. Relph Award for Overall Best IPSF Member Organization goes to … APhA–ASP!” Time stood still. I seemed to become frozen to my seat. There was a dull roar echoing in my ears as I saw people across the venue clapping their hands. I slowly looked over to the center of the ballroom where the IPSF President stood with a warm smile on his face and a 20-pound trophy in his hand. The IPSF Secretary General (APhA–ASP alum Allie Jo Shipman, PharmD) stood next to him, beaming from ear to ear. Vineeta must have nudged me, because I don’t remember getting to my feet.
As I walked up with our delegation, it hit me. IPSF represents more than 320,000 individuals in more than 88 countries, and somehow, amongst 100 different pharmacy organizations, APhA–ASP won!
Culmination of our hard work
My mind flashed back to the start of this remarkable journey: my first year on the APhA–ASP International Standing Committee as the new Student Exchange Officer-elect. I remembered the long hours during the Academies Leadership Retreat and the conference calls where we would talk about our upcoming projects. I remembered the passion and drive that each individual committee member brought to the table. I remembered the nervousness when I took over as the official Student Exchange Officer and Chair of the APhA–ASP International Standing Committee for the 2018–19 year.
Arms trembling and tears in my eyes, I accepted the trophy on behalf of the 2017–18 APhA–ASP International Standing Committee. With my delegation and friends surrounding me, I couldn’t have felt happier or prouder.
We did it!