History and Tasks of the Federation of International Danube Symposia on Diabetes mellitus (FID)/Central European Diabetes Association (CEDA)

Werner Waldhäusl, Vienna, and Michael Roden, Düsseldorf

The Federation of International Danube Symposia on Diabetes mellitus (FID) was founded in 1969 with the aim of facilitating the exchange of ideas in the field of diabetology between countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain in the Danube region. This idea was obvious at that time and is still relevant today as shown by the recent creation of Danube symposia for cancer and biomarkers.

The initiative for the founding of the FID came in 1968 from the then head physician of the 1st Medical University Clinic in Vienna, Univ. Doz. Dr. Alois Beringer. He succeeded in gathering like-minded and well-known founding members from Central Europe separated by the Iron Curtain. This group included Professors K. Schöffling (Frankfurt), E. F. Pfeiffer (Ulm), H. Mehnert (Munich) and F. W. Stratmann (Stuttgart) in the west and Professors I. Magyar (Budapest), Z. Skrabalo (Zagreb), A. Andreev (Sofia) and A. Kreze (Bratislava) in the east. All founding members grew up in the early 20th century and were impregnated by the common cultural history of the Danube region.

Initially, the symposia of the FID were interlinked with those of the Austrian Diabetes Association and – starting in 1969 in Vienna – took place every two years alternatingly on both sides of the Iron Curtain. They were well received in the east and the west, since the alternating conference venues allowed both sides to gain deep insights into the other countries on medical, personal and human as well as political levels.

After the first conference in Vienna (1969), the FID symposia moved to Budapest (1971) and then from Salzburg (1973) to Dubrovnik (1975) and Russe (1977). This enabled a small and undoubtedly privileged group to exchange not only intense medical discussions, but also to better understand the respective host country.

A first highlight of FID was the successful invitation to and the organization of the 10th congress of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in Vienna in 1979 with the organisation of the scientific program largely in the hands of the first author of this text.

In the following years, the FID symposia moved along the Danube from Budapest (1981) to Ulm (1983) and Bratislava (1985), where a new generation took over the responsibility for the FID and extended the geographical area for its symposia, after Professors Beringer and Magyar had passed away. This new generation included the first author as president (1985–1995), who was supported by Professors H. Bibergeil (Karlsburg), J. Sieradzki (Krakow), G. Tamas (Budapest) and J. Skrha (Prague). From then on, FID symposia were also held beyond the immediate Danube region, such as in Porto Carras (1987) and in Dresden (1989).

The coincidence of the conference in Dresden with the fall of the Iron Curtain was without doubt another highlight in the lifetime of FID. The spirit of this time and the easier communication facilitated the organization and increased the numbers of participants up to 500 of the following conferences (Regensburg, 1991; Krakow, 1993; Vienna, 1995).

Subsequent conferences explored further geographic areas for the FID. For example, Professor Spinas explained the choice of Zürich as conference venue in 1999 with the fact that approx. 6 million years ago the proto-Rhine (Ur-Rhein) flowed into the Danube.

Under President Professor H. Schatz (2003-2009), the interval between meetings was shortened from 2003 on to one year. Furthermore, English was introduced as second language of the symposia. Additionally, the FID was named Central European Diabetes Association/CEDA (Zentraleuropäische Diabetes-Gesellschaft). This improved the communication at FID conferences that took place for the first time in Riga (2006), Kos (2007) and Plovdiv (2008).

When the second author of this text was the president of the FID/CEDA (2009-2013), the conferences moved to Belgrade (2013) in the south and to Düsseldorf (2015) in the north. Particular support was given to organizing the FID/CEDA conferences head-to-head with national and regional scientific associations for endocrinology and diabetology as well as with symposia of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). In order to increase visibility, scientific symposia were established at national congresses e.g. of the German, Austrian and Hungarian Diabetes Associations.

Despite all these efforts, the FID/CEDA is faced with new challenges. Our association has specific advantages that will help to address them, such as

  • the common Central European history and culture,
  • the bilingual basis of communication and
  • the enormous medical and scientific talent in Central Europe,

which need to be coordinated for the benefit of joint research efforts and thus for the benefit of persons with diabetes.

There are multiple options in order to achieve this:

  • let us define diabetology as a discipline that focuses on the whole and often multimorbid patient and let us develop a new curriculum for diabetologists along these lines,
  • let us join forces to actively support the exchange of talented junior researchers between CEDA/FID member countries,
  • let us collectively focus on health services research to analyze the real-world efficacy of prevention and treatment of diabetes in the context of modern outcome research, and  
  • let us raise the required funding together from European and national funding agencies.

It would be a great task for CEDA/FID and its member countries to implement the aforementioned topics in clinical practice and research with the final aim of a modern precision medicine. The scientific and clinical expertise is present in the countries of Central Europe and only needs its activation.

WW, MR


Past Presidents

196 -1985Prof. A. Beringer,
Vienna
1985-1995Prof. W. Waldhäusl,
Vienna
1995-1999Prof. S. Raptis,
Athens
1999-2003Prof. E. Standl,
Munich
2003-2009Prof. H. Schatz,
Bochum
2009-2013Prof. M. Roden,
Düsseldorf
2013-2018Prof. R. Lehmann,
Zürich
since 2018Prof. T. Stulnig,
Austria

Previous Congresses

YearCityCountryCongress-President
2018KrakowPolandKlupa
2017PragueCzech RepublicSkrha
2016BernSwitzerlandDiem
2015DüsseldorfGermanyRoden
2014Riga BeachLatviaKonrade
2013BelgradeSerbiaLalic
2012BudapestHungaryKempler
2011 Zürich Switzerland Lehmann
2010 Cluj-Napoca/Klausenburg Romania Hancu/Veresiu
2009Salzburg Austria Weitgasser
2008Plovdiv BulgariaTemelkova-Kurktschiev
2007Kos IslandGreece Hatziagelaki
2006Riga Latvia Pirags
2005Wiesbaden GermanySchatz
2004WroclawPoland Wasikowa
2003Wiesbaden Germany Schatz
2001 Wiesbaden Germany Sachse
1999ZürichSwitzerlandSpinas
1997Prague Czech RepublicSkrha
1995Vienna Austria Waldhäusl
1993Krakow Poland Sieradzki
1991Regensburg Germany Standl
1989Dresden GDR Hanefeld
1987Porto CarrasGreece Raptis
1985Bratislava Czech Republic Kreze/Klimes
1983Ulm Germany Pfeiffer
1981Budapest Hungary Magyar/Tamas
1979Vienna Austria Beringer
1977Russe Bulgaria Andreev
1975Dubrovnik Yugoslavia Skrabalo
1973Salzburg Austria Beringer
1971Budapest Hungary Magyar
1969Vienna Austria Beringer