AGORA | The 8th Agora Conference took place in Nicosia, Cyprus, between 27th and 28th of September 2019; the organisation elected new Board members
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The 8th Agora Conference took place in Nicosia, Cyprus, between 27th and 28th of September 2019; the organisation elected new Board members


The 8th Agora Conference, the platform that brings together MSD patient organisations from South-European countries took place in Nicosia, Cyprus, between 27th and 28th of September 2019.

The Conference has been opened by the Minister of Health of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Constantinous Ioannou, Ms. Victoria Romero Pazos, Chair of Agora and the Chairman of Cyplar, Marios Kouloumas.

Over 40 participants from 14 different Southern European countries had the opportunity to follow expert presentations on relevant topics for the AGORA members, such as:

  • “From theory to practice, how to build campaigns effectively” by Dr. Theano Kalavana (Health Psychologist),
  • “Building Partnerships & developing sustainable networks” by Ms. Elsa Mateus, President of the Portuguese League Against Rheumatic Diseases
  • “How can rheumatologists contribute to patient advocacy” by Dr. Maria Michaelidou (Rheumatologist)
  • “Advocacy through lobbing – the key to success” by Mr. Neil Betteridge (Strategic Adviser, Public Affairs EULAR)

The presentations have been followed by a series of workshops: “Building Partnerships & developing sustainable networks (facilitated by Ms. Elsa Mateus), “Positive outcomes of a successful communication plan” (facilitated by Dr. Theano Kalavana);  “Project Based Funding” (facilitated by Ms. Sophie Christoforou & Ms. Elena Tsigk); “Successful lobbying activities of an Umbrella Organization – The example of ENFA”  (facilitated by Ms. Souzi Makri and Mr. Maarten de Wit); “How Agora can lobby as un umbrella organization” (facilitated by Mr. Neil Betteridge) where all the participants had a chance to engage in lively debates and gain valuable hand-on experience.

Added to that, “Improving the employment conditions for people with RMDs through synergies” panel discussions brought together various points of view from the industry, regulatory authorities and patients alike, the conclusion being that paid or voluntary work is essential for the psychological and financial well-being of the people with RMDs and the fact that returning/keeping them into an active life is beneficial to the state budget too.

The 8th AGORA Conference in Nicosia also coincided with the organisation’s annual General Assembly during which a new Board has been elected. The new Board of AGORA is as follows: Chair of the Board – Mr. Ovidiu Constantinescu (Romania); Mrs. Boriana Boteva (Bulgaria) – Secretary General; Mr. Sebastian Micallef (Malta) – Treasurer; Mrs. Ana Vieira (Portugal) – member of the Board and Mrs. Andri Phoka (Cyprus) – member of the Board.

About AGORA: Agora is an umbrella platform representing patient organizations of people with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMDs) in Southern Europe. Since its inauguration in 2011, Agora has been very active in raising awareness on RMDs aiming at creating a better quality of life not only for its member organisations, but also all people with RMDs in Southern Europe. The membership of Agora is open to all patient organizations from Southern European countries, as defined by geographical criteria and according to the United Nations classification, providing support for people with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases. As of 2016, Agora has also opened its membership, in the form of a co-opted membership, to countries that fall outside the geographical boundaries of Southern Europe


30th of September 2019


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