"The largest medical congress ever held on Australian soil" 
Sir Michael Hirst, President of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF)
The mission of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide. How important is your upcoming World Diabetes Congress in this context?
It is very important. The World Diabetes Congress 2013 will raise awareness of the diabetes pandemic and its impact by convening the global diabetes community. With 400 speakers and 275 hours of innovative and interactive scientific sessions, the Congress will bring together IDF Member Associations, healthcare professionals, researchers, policy makers, people with diabetes and their families from all over the world to discuss the latest findings in diabetes research and best practice.
15,100 participants were recorded at the World Diabetes Congress 2011 in Dubai, your largest congress ever. How many delegates do you expect in December in Melbourne and why did you choose Melbourne?
The World Diabetes Congress 2013 in Melbourne is now officially the largest medical congress ever held on Australian soil. We have 10,000 delegates and counting from over 100 nations.
We chose Melbourne and Australia for its position in the Western Pacific. Today, more than a third of all people with diabetes are found in the Western Pacific Region. It is also the region that has the highest number of undiagnosed cases and the highest number of deaths attributable to diabetes.
The choice of Melbourne as a host venue for the Congress highlights the State of Victoria’s reputation as a leader in diabetes prevention, management and research. Melbourne is home to several world-leading scientific institutions and researchers who are making a major contribution to the global understanding of diabetes.
For those delegates who cannot come to Australia, will you live stream sessions and share content in social networks?
All sessions will be webcast on the IDF website (www.idf.org) as from January 2014. We will also be doing real time Congress updates on social media throughout the Congres using #WDC2013.
Do you have social media strategy for the International Diabetes Federation?
Yes we have a strategy which encompasses all our social media pages. We have Facebook and Twitter feeds for IDF (@IntDiabetesFed) and for our World Diabetes Day campaign (@WDD). In English, French and Spanish.
What are the top three challenges for IDF these days?
Awareness of diabetes and its complications is still a major challenge. We hope that events like the World Diabetes Congress and our campaigns like World Diabetes Day will continue to put diabetes in the spotlight and onto the global health agenda. We also hope that by continuing to use the Blue Circle as the global symbol for diabetes more people will identify the diabetes cause.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an umbrella organization of over 200 national diabetes associations in over 160 countries. It represents the interests of the growing number of people with diabetes and those at risk. The Federation has been leading the global diabetes community since 1950. The World Diabetes Congress 2013 will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia from 2 to 6 December. w w w. idf. org, w w w. idf. org/worlddiabetescongress