IFMSA has two general assembly each year, and August Meeting is one of the two. In this year of 2018, the August Meeting is held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and two of SCOPE’s own members, Valencia and Sylvie, are lucky to experience a week of summer in the origin country of maple for this meeting. The main theme of this year’s August Meeting is social accountability. Sessions in the August Meeting includes the standing committee sessions, the regional sessions, the plenary sessions, trainings, the main theme events, and the social programs. In this quick flashback, we will give you a quick peek into those sessions.
The opening ceremony is the first social program, and it is to send of the August Meeting to a grand start. For the next social program, we have the national food and drink party. We brought so many traditional foods from Indonesia such as Pisang Sale from Padang, Dendeng, the famous Indonesian Brand Instant noodle, and many other cookies and something spicy to let our friends from different NMOs come to taste Indonesian food. In exchange, we went and visit their stands to taste their local foods and drinks. All in all, it was such an interesting taste experience.
The standing committee sessions are usually held in the morning. The SCOPE Sessions Team has prepared it well and we discussed a lot of issues in these sessions that is relevant to what we face on daily basis. A few technical issues regarding SCOPE, IFMSA, and also the database are discussed, including the updates, the SCOPE strategic plan, the annual working plan, and the new Global Health Theme Strategy for 2019-2022. Other those technicalities, we have discussion sessions, which includes the Sharing is Caring session and Small Working Groups (SWG) sessions. The Sharing is Caring session had us discussing about the updates on SCOPE strategic and annual working plan and the IFMSA database. After the technicalities, we gather for a round of sharing session, where we share our opinion and thoughts for the selected issues, including fundraising in exchanges, capacity building of LEO’s, national social programs, good national general assembly, member’s lack of motivation, preparation for contracts fair, insurance issues, handover process, collaboration with other standing committees, and visa issues. The SWGs also had us discussing about more advanced issues, including how to improve the Academic Quality (AQ) with exchange outcomes, which we attended.
Besides the technicalities and the trainings, there is also the fun part. The first fun event, of course, is the famous event that will never be missed during the SCOPE Sessions in every general assembly—the contracts fair. The contracts fair is the annual event for NEOs to sign contracts for the next exchange season. It is the most celebratory and festive event of exchanges. Gifts and merchandises were traded, costumes of all kinds are shown off, and all NEOs will be running around trying to find each other. It is guaranteed to be the unforgettable highlight of August Meeting for SCOPE members!
The second fun event in the one preceding the contracts fair—the poster fair. The poster fair is the chance for all NMOs to promote their own exchange program. It is the perfect time to socialize and build connections with all the other NMOs. The poster fair is the chance for all members to up their SCOPE acquaintance and friends as many as possible.
We had 2 regional sessions in total in this August Meeting. The first regional session was held on the first day of the meeting, we were introduced to the Asia Pacific International Team by our Regional Director, Mokshada Sharma. We also heard a presentation about what has our Regional Director and her team has done so far, also been updated about the IFMSA Programs and how to enroll to IFMSA Programs. And we were also introduced to Asia Pacific Mascot and each of us got a mascot pin. It ended with us taking group pictures.
The last regional session was held on the 4th day of the meeting. Lots of presentations held in this session, the first was the presentation from the March Meeting 2020 host candidate, Rwanda. They presented how Rwanda, South Africa, is suitable for us to held IFMSA March Meeting. Then the presentation continued to IFMSA Hong Kong, who presented their progress for APRM 2019. Then moving on to the debate of Regional Director candidates where they were asked the same questions then they have to answer it quickly. Questions were collected from the NMOs who filled a form online, then current Regional Director and her team will read the questions out loud for the candidates. Our last regional sessions ended by taking pictures together for the last time with our current Regional Director, Mokshada.
Plenary sessions are held every night starting from 4pm till around midnight. NMO presidents were seated in the front and other delegates were seated in the back. NMO presidents must stay in their seats in case of the voting time comes. On the first day of plenary session, candidates presented their vision and mission in such a short time given. For the candidates who can’t attend the meeting or plenary that time, they were allowed to send their profile video talking about themselves, their experiences, motivations, and of course not to forget, their vision and mission. It was such an amazing feeling to see them so bravely have their presentations presented in front of the medical students all over the world. In the end, plenary sessions were continued by social programs till around 3 am.
Merci beaucoup, Montreal, it has been one pleasant experience.