On behalf of the ESGE Governing Board, please allow me to wish you and your families a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2021.  I also wish to take this opportunity to look back on our many activities in 2020, and to share our perspectives for the upcoming year.

One year ago, we announced the launch of the ESGE strategic planning process that has now been successfully concluded, having a formal strategic plan document as an output, and including an extensive review and update of our bylaws.

Both our strategic plan and the updated bylaws are now available on the society’s website (www.esge.com).  Our vision as a society is to work together to give our community the professional tools to provide optimal patient care through high quality GI endoscopy. Our mission is to continuously support education, training, and innovation towards that vision.  In summary, three major pillars were established in our strategic plan – to continue advancing scientifically, to promote and grow our major annual educational congress (ESGE Days) while at the same time embracing the e-world through online initiatives such as eLearning, and thirdly to continue to interact with and involve all our stakeholders. Of course we also wish to implement these plans in an explicit and financially sustainable structure.

2020 will be remembered for a unique situation for humankind – the COVID-19 pandemic. This has affected all of us, not only on a personal, but also on a professional level, with challenges never faced before. 

On behalf of all of those who volunteered their time on behalf of ESGE activities during this ongoing pandemic, allow me to express my sincerest thanks to have served ESGE and our community during this “storm”.

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed ESGE to adapt and alter its internal workflows and some of our educational activities. Despite these changes, ESGE has maintained its focus and mission and I wish to thank all who have worked extra hard this past year to ensure ESGE’s ongoing success!

As the term of the current ESGE Governing Board comes to an end in March 2021, I would like to highlight some of our achievements – starting with the increased number of written outputs from all our committees and working groups. This includes ESGE guidelines and quality documents, as well as our curricula papers, technology reviews, and position statements. All these are published in the scientific journal Endoscopy – with the highest impact factor in the field of GI endoscopy.

Moreover, I would like to highlight the weekly online ESGE Webinar Wednesdays and our online educational programmes (myESGEtutor). We have also developed an updated approach to being a facilitator in the field of GI endoscopy research by revising the process for funding research grant proposals, by endorsing and also awarding more money to meritorious research initiatives from our members.  Finally, I am very happy to report that our membership continues to steadily grow – we are now at almost 3,000 individual members. 

We have also promoted two of our working groups to full committees:  The ESGE Young Endoscopists (EYE) Committee and the Public Advocacy Committee (PAC). Both of these committees will allow ESGE to further grow and better serve its members and the European public at large.

Finally, the entire ESGE leadership is actively involved and working hard to deliver the best meeting in the field of gastrointestinal endoscopy – ESGE Days.  In 2021, an augmented version of ESGE Days will be presented to our community.  ESGE Days 2021 will go virtual and will continue to deliver to our community a diverse scientific programme, lively interactions, and didactic discussions.  ESGE Days 2021 is being developed and organized by our Scientific Committee and will “cover” the entire field of GI endoscopy. I hope you and your endoscopy team will take part!

At ESGE Days 2021, we will continue to offer predefined educational pathways and a variety of exciting educational forums including guideline presentations and debates, educational endoscopy videos and live endoscopy demonstrations, case-based presentations with expert-led discussions and of course original research presentations, both oral and e-poster presentations. We will also have special programmes in collaboration with our national member societies and our worldwide endoscopy society partners including WEO, ASGE, A-PSDE, JGES, KSGE, EGEUS and of course ESGENA.

Again, I am honored and humbled to be the President of ESGE and wish once again, on behalf of ESGE, to you and your families, a very happy New Year!

Mário Dinis-Ribeiro
ESGE President