Social Change: President’s Message for IFMSA MM2012 General Assembly Accra, Ghana

Social change—the process by which individuals organize based upon a common set of beliefs and values to impact and move society toward a more progressive, cohesive, and visionary place.

Around the world this year, social change has taken on an even more impactful course—with governments collapsing, policies challenged and redefined, structural changes in some of the most revered international organizations, social issues brought to the forefront by the people—and at the heart of all these socially driven actions around the world are inequalities.

Inequalities are an ongoing challenge that humanity faces. However, notable are the periods in history where inequalities cannot be denied, ignored, and put at the back burner. We are in such a period of history, as we are in the second decade of the 21st century.  Especially for health, development and equality, this decade is marked by goals and promises to achieve a universal improvement in health and quality of life through international and multi-sectorial collaboration.

As we gather here in Accra, Ghana at the 61st International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) March Meeting 2012 (MM2012), General Assembly, I encourage us to contemplate about social change and how we, as aspiring physicians, leaders, public health activists, are partaking in redefining social and health issues and leading social change.  

At the IFMSA March Meeting 2012, students, health professionals, physicians, public health experts will engage in knowledge and skill sharing, inspiration exchanging, building capacity, increasing opportunities and expanding the IFMSA and health network, and most importantly, creating a snowball effect on our motivation to take on social and health challenges around the globe.  

It is important to take these next days to not only think out of the box, but as well defining the next steps on how together, as being part of IFMSA, we can further drive social changes on the issues that are the most important ones for those in our communities and ourselves.

Promoting and implementing change and innovation is often a long, enduring process requiring years of preparation and follow-up. The work that has been carried out in previous years has reached a critical point and today provides us with an immense momentum to take the next big leap in IFMSA. Now, we have the chance to translate this opportunity into concrete actions and measures to strengthen the ties of our federation and set a path for the future.

IFMSA AS THE LEADING PROFESSIONAL, STUDENT NETWORK AND VOICE ON HEALTH RELATED ISSUES WORLDWIDE, not only has the ability to lead social change, but realize we are leading social change around the globe—in our communities, nationally and internationally.

It is also a very special moment for IFMSA to have our General Assembly in Africa and provide this opportunity to our members and to the region. Many of the largest battles in health and social inequities are taking place here in Africa, and we have this unique opportunity to being medical students from around the world to the front line. The very dedicated Organizing Committee (OC) FGMSA-Ghana of the MM2012, lead by Mr. Jones  A. Gyedu, OC President, have provided us with an exciting setting and a program focusing on the main theme–Social Determinant of Health and Youth.

I wish every delegate and partner of IFMSA a memorable, empowering experience here in Accra, Ghana for the MM2012 GA and that you take home the necessary skills and motivation to pioneer social change within your communities.

Yours truly,
Christopher Pleyer
IFMSA President 2011/12

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