Welcome to the XVII EFTC Conference, Thessaloniki, 2019

This conference, the seventeenth international gathering organised by the European Federation of Therapeutic Communities (EFTC) will be my last as President.  So I may perhaps be forgiven for a slightly reflective welcome to you all. 
A great deal has happened since I was given the honour of serving the federation as its President six years ago.  EFTC members have hosted four hugely successful conferences (Prague, 2013, TC Magdelena; Malaga, 2015, Asociacion Proyecto Hombre; Dublin, 2017, Coolmine TC; and now Thessaloniki, 2019, KETHEA/Argo).  During the last conference in Dublin, a senior Irish academic remarked to me, “This is my first EFTC conference and it’s wonderful.  It’s just not like any other conference I have ever been to.”  That sentiment confirmed for me the feeling I have always had about our conferences.  They really are more like sharing thoughts and ideas with your family than going to an academic symposium.
We have steadily increased our membership and undertaken numerous consultancies to assist organisations across Europe and beyond in developing new and innovative therapeutic community approaches.  We have developed and strengthened our links with other organisations including: the European Working Group on Drugs Oriented Research (EWODOR); the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities (WFTC); the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs; the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction; the Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA); the Federation of Therapeutic Communities in Asia (FTCA); the Latin-American Federation of Therapeutic Communities (FLACT); and the United Nations.   These are I think extremely impressive actions from a small self-funded organisation such as ours.
These six years have also sadly seen the passing of two of my dearest friends.  David Turner passed away after a long illness in 2014.  Eric Broekaert died suddenly in Rome whilst attending the 2016 EWODOR Symposium.  Both of these deaths were a huge loss to the therapeutic community movement to which they had given so much for so long.  For me these felt like particularly devastating blows.  I had known David since 1972 and Eric since 1978 and I still miss their support, guidance and friendship.  I think that we all do.
Over these last six years also, we have continued a tradition of bringing together the practitioner and research communities in an increasingly successful effort to develop common understandings and collaborative initiatives.  The last four conferences have featured a large number of jointly undertaken research studies and this is extremely encouraging.
And finally, it has given me perhaps the greatest pleasure to see the growing number of younger researchers and therapeutic community practitioners attending our conferences.  We have clearly come to a point when it has become crucial for the older generation of therapeutic community advocates to pass on the baton to a younger generation.  And so to you in particular I would like to say this; go safely and tread lightly, listen as much as you speak, learn as much as you can and never, ever lose heart.  This is a precious inheritance we have been entrusted with.  Take good care of it.
Rowdy Yates
European Federation of Therapeutic Communities



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  • 19 Σεπτεμβρίου 2019 έως 20 Σεπτεμβρίου 2019
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