Piran, Slovenia | 19th – 23rd September 2023
A long road has been traveled since the Slovene Centre for Suicide Research (UP IAM) proposed to host the IASP World Congress. Now it has closed the doors and we are reflecting on the journey.
The traditional biennial event is an opportunity to engage with a diverse community of academics, researchers, clinicians, crisis workers, people with lived experience, bereaved, volunteers and all associated with suicide prevention or working within suicide-related topics. It represents a rich platform for spreading knowledge and sharing experiences in the field.
Power of being together
Reflections in quantitative measures are impressive: almost 800 participants from more than 80 countries having 700+ presentations. Some arrived earlier for pre-conference workshops or site visits to local prison or wood institute.
The opening ceremony followed by the welcome dinner, visit of ethnic creatures Kurents, and dancing party created an inviting atmosphere for people to meet each other after the COVID-19 break. The scientific program offered keynotes, plenary- and special lectures, panels, symposiums, and individual oral and poster sessions, as well was enriched by discussion and debate. Special interest groups, national representatives of IASP, and the general assembly also took place.
Delegates could start the day with yoga, sound bath, or pilates and finish it with social and networking events, such as pecha kucha, and pirate ship sail (with the special dolphins’ visit – see below the video!), Piran walking tour or at the networking evening in the gardens of the baroque church of St. George.
Many people expressed (in qualitative measures) how balanced the event was: on the one side the emphasis on the inclusive and broad program, on the other, the beautiful landscape of Piran and conference bingo tasks encouraged participants to have a good time.
During the breaks, there was a lot to please different tastes. Photo, poetry, and game corners were always full, and so was the coloring wall. Participants had the opportunity to acknowledge the people lost in the memorial service and write personalized messages of encouragement for those in distress or who lost someone due to suicide. At the community day, these were highly appreciated.
Power of lights
Full attendance at the closing ceremony reminded us again about the power of being together. There was a special moment coming out of the darkness with participants turning on their cell phone lights while embracing the words of two poems by Slovene poet Tone Pavček. We can be again and again reminded that “only the light binds us together like stars in the sky”.
A POEM ABOUT THE STARS Every man is a world of his own, Stange, bright and fair, Like a star in the sky. Maturing as years go by, Slowly, in silence, within, Wherever to go and each way to try Each time anew he will have to begin. This is the way of life. Each of us steering towards one's last goodbye, And only the light Binds us together like stars in the sky. ... A POEM ABOUT THE SUN You are on earth to view the sun. You are on earth to track the sun. You are on earth to be the sun That shadows always shun. Tone Pavček
Power of memories
To keep the memories fresh please find here the links to the
The 32nd World Congress will forever remain in our best memories: as the colorful picture, we all drew together.
Thank you for your trust!
See you soon,
Slovene Centre for Suicide Research
Andrej Marusic Institute
University of Primorska
International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)
Community day reflection can be found here.