Australia Wins Bid for World Congress of Optometry in 2021

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ST. LOUIS—The World Council of Optometry (WCO) announced this week that the 4th World Congress of Optometry (WCO4) will be held Sept. 2 to 4, 2021, in Melbourne, Australia, and will run in partnership with the highly successful Australian clinical conference and trade show O=MEGA21. (The 3rd World Congress of Optometry begins Wednesday, Oct. 23 and runs concurrently with the American Academy of Optometry’s Academy meeting in Orlando, Fla., through Sunday, Oct. 27.) The World Council of Optometry is a global optometry association with members in 83 countries, according to its announcement.

WCO facilitates the development of optometry around the world and supports optometrists to promote eye health and vision care as a human right, through advocacy, education, policy development and humanitarian outreach.

The winning competitive global tender was put together by Optometry Victoria South Australia (OV/SA)  and the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association of Australia (ODMA), the announcement noted.

OV/SA is part of the professional association for optometrists in Australia, and it committed to delivering quality, practical, cutting-edge education for optometrists, according to the announcement. ODMA is the leading industry body, and operates the largest eyecare and eyewear show in Australia.

Paul Folkesson, the incoming president of the World Council of Optometry, will confirm the partnership at a ceremony during the 3rd World Congress of Optometry in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 26.

“I’m delighted that the WCO is heading ‘Down Under,’” Folkesson said in the announcement. “We had a very strong international field of contenders wanting to host the 4th World Congress of Optometry, and the Melbourne bid was exceptional. I have no doubt that the Australians have the experience, infrastructure and professionalism to deliver an outstanding event.”

OV/SA president Elise Pocknee-Clem added, ‘It’s an honor to have been chosen to host the 4th World Congress of Optometry. Early September is a great time to visit, get high-quality continuing education, and see how optometry is practiced in Australia and the Asia Pacific region. It will be a tremendous opportunity for our members to come together, share ideas, and make international connections.”

ODMA chairman Robert Sparkes said that O=MEGA21 is the largest and most credentialed clinical conference and trade show in the Southern Hemisphere for optometry and the ophthalmic optics community. “It has always been our plan to expand the reach of our new O=MEGA offering, and make it a truly regional event.”

In July 2019, OV/SA and ODMA joined forces to welcome more than 3,500 visitors to its first ever combined event, O=MEGA19.