Foreword - "President's Thoughts"
Having spent almost forty years doing research in the area of allergy, I have attended a great many meetings including, for almost thirty years, meetings of the CIA. In my opinion, the CIA is by far the most preeminent allergy group in the world. Its meetings are not only amongst the very best scientifically but, without question, are socially the most pleasant. The CIA, as I understand it, was the child of Paul Kallós, a non-university allergist who nonetheless provided a basis for a scientific approach to allergy in Europe. At the outset the CIA was largely made up of European allergists, immunologists and pharmacologists. Over the years, it acquired a significant membership from North America and, in recent years, has become truly global, bringing in scientists from Asia, South America and elsewhere. It has limited its membership to a few hundred distinguished scientists in order to keep the meetings collegial and communicative: when the major American, Asian and European societies meet today, their participants are in the thousands, whereas the CIA meetings never involve more than two hundred individuals.
A unique feature of the CIA, noted from my first days of attendance, was that scientists were drawn more or less equally from the academic and the industrial spheres. This was long before the current mingling of academic and pharmaceutical/biotechnology scientists which has occurred, especially in North America, in the last few years. It is a very important interaction, and one which I cherish and intend to attempt to strengthen.
The CIA was also unique in that its "rules" were very hard to define. Membership numbers were vague because members were kept on the role long after they retired and often, even after they had died. For most of my years of CIA attendance, the group was actually run by Alain de Weck and Peter Dukor; although there was a succession of presidents and a facade of democracy, it was always clear who, in fact, led the organization. Although the rules were vague, membership has always been sought after and highly appreciated. We have gotten a little bit more organized in the last four years but I promise that it won’t go much further!
Lawrence M. Lichtenstein