Many South American countries are nowadays undergoing suffering and poverty because of problems related to drug production, increased use and trafficking. The Board of WFAD therefore decided that it would be important to have the first WFAD South American Conference in Buenos Aires with the aim to spread methods and knowledge around which interventions that work for a comprehensive drug policy.
A Coordinating Commission was established, headed by WFAD Board member Prof. Mina Seinfeld de Carakushansky, a Brazilian who was the first Special Secretary for the Prevention of Drug Addiction in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Prof. Seinfeld de Carakushansky has also been the International Coordinator of the Program Forging Leadership for Drug Demand Reduction in Latin America. Mina has been keeping frequent and close contact over more than 15 years with many Latin American organizations and individuals working with the same aim: educating families and official authorities regarding the perils to society caused by drug use, building a network of strong ties with many outstanding professionals and institutions of the continent.
The knowledge generated and spread by some of those professionals and their institutions has made them renown in many countries of the American continent, from North to South. Dr. Juan Alberto Yaria, General Director and Dr. Roberto Baiestrocchi, both from GRADIVA, were the main articulators locally, with the help of some other members of the Commission such as Jose Luis Viale, Diana Gomez and Carlos Peres Ulloa.
The number of participants was limited to 250, among the many others who also desired to participate in this Conference. Two excellent auditoriums were provided, free of cost, by the Barcelo School of Medicine, with all the necessary equipment regarding sound, image, professional translators, and technicians to care for all that, as well as the coffee-breaks.
The event, in one day, Dec. 3, 2014, resulted in a very dense conference, from 8AM to 7PM, where the main speaker was WFAD’s president, Sven-Olov Carlsson, explaining clearly what is the world scene regarding drug issues nowadays and what are the main principles which the WFAD has set for dealing with this very important and urgent subject.
All other speakers were carefully chosen among professionals who are leaders in their specific field of work and are sensitive and strive for a world with no drug use.
Since time was so precious, each speaker had only about 10 minutes to deliver his/her message and main thoughts. With no false modesties, it can be said that those speakers, because of their clear understanding, scientific knowledge and experience in the field, represent la crème de la crème of his/her own field of work. As examples of this statement, can be highlighted names such as “Father Pepe”, a Catholic renown Argentinean priest who is the Head of the Pastoral de Drogas and an advisor to Pope Francisco (who is Argentinean). Padre Pepe works with huge portions of Argentinean youth population who live in the slums. He is an inspiration and an example of spiritual effective work. Other speakers included Presidents of Associations (from Medical, Business, Education, etc.)
Also worth of highlighting among all the participants are Congressman Aurelio Elorrio and Maria Rosa Marcone de Pagano, who head the political party in Cordoba called “Encuentro Vecinal” (Neighborhood Encounter) who are organizing many youth seminars to teach the younger generations the risks of drug use and form the leaders of tomorrow. Dr. Jorge Gentile, a Supreme Court Judge, also from Cordoba and the President of Instituto Maritain and a high level lawyer in the field of finances who is determined, together with other leaders, to tackle more seriously and effectively the problem of drug trafficking.
The enthusiasm of working together for a common cause instilled hope and optimism that together we are stronger than by ourselves.
The next day, in a closed coordination meeting with WFAD President, the coordination group decided to aim at having an even bigger event in 2015 and invite more international speakers.