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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-12
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 1st Syposium of Seven Wise MenSeven renowned heart surgeons from all over the world opened the 1st Syposium of Seven Wise Men of the Modern World met in Athens and Delphi, reviving a practice in Ancient Greece that provided an intellectual foundation for addressing the most challenging issues of the day, with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias delivering the opening greeting.
The inaugural two-day Symposium -- held at Athens' Zappeion Hall on Friday and moving to Delphi on Saturday -- is dedicated this year to cardiovascular surgery, and is being held under the aegis of President Papoulias.
Each future "Symposium of the Seven Wise Men of the Modern World" will address diverse topics challenging humanity, presenting some of the most renonwed and acclaimed thinkers and practitioners in the world in the fields chosen.
Addressing the Syposium, President Papoulias noted the inconsistency of modern-day reality, stressing: "At the same time that we are taking great strides forward, thanks to technological development and scientific progress, sicknesses, poverty, hunger and illiteracy reign in many corners of our planet, including in the so-called Western world. The conclusion, for every thinking person, is that science cannot exist without ethical consolidation and its contribution to social progress".
That was why "the need for re-linking the sciences with the deeper values of humanity is more imperative than ever", the President said, adding that the institution of "The Seven Wise Men", comparable to that of the seven sages of antiquity, "will continue in the coming years with similar meetings of acclaimed personalities, modern-day sages of the Sciences and the Arts, who will hold discussions on the field in which they have distinguished themselves, and on the human being".
The idea of reviving the Syposium was praised by health minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, who said that the meeting of the seven top cardiosurgery scientists provided a unique opportunity for exchanging precious experiences and knowledge.
Cardiosurgeon Christos Lolas, chairman of the Syposium's organising committee, expressed the hope that the revival of the institution of the Seven Wise Men of the modern world in the sciences and arts will "contribute to the smooth building of a broader society in which the individual will not lose his unique identity and maintain the right choose, in accordance with his abilities, the way of life he desires and to believe in whichever God he deisres".
The driving force behind establishing the international institution of the Syposium is Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos, founder of the company TEMES S.A., also addressed the event, expressing his certainty that the institution would continue.
The Seven Wise Men, in the first day of discussions, replied to a number of questions posed by the public, and by academics/professors D. Nanopoulos and Al Fokas, and a representative of the Youth Parliament.
To one question, they replied that although 200 years have passed since the French Revolution, society today was still far from the three principles of Equality, Fraternity and Liberty.
To another question, it was stressed that a child in Sub-Saharan Africa had a 6 percent chance of survival, compared with 83 percent in Sweden, and "this is why we must take care of the social aspect of Medicine".
"In order to ameliorate the acute gap between the achievements of Medicine, which save lives, and the wars that cause death to millions of people, "what the people must learn is the value of life, whether it be one or millions," was the reply to another question.
"It is important that scientists and doctors work together and be accountable to public opinion, with rspect to the application of the newer developments in Medicine, because some of these developments have not yielded the expected results, and entail serious risks or pose serious bioethical issues," came another reply.
"I always try to learn. I have always tried to do the best", "It is hard to explain the beginning of the universe and the beginning of existence - Man was seeking these answers well before religions appeared", and "Hard work, group work and vision are the components for acquiring wisdom and success" were the answers given to other questions.
The Seven Wise Men
The Seven Wise Men of cardiovascular surgery attending the syposium are:
Alain Carpentier, who heads the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at the H?pital Europ?en Georges Pompidou in Paris. He published a landmark paper on mitral valve repair titled "The French Connection". He is the innovator of a tissue valve, the cardiomyoplasty and of many other techinques.
Denton A. Cooley, who founded the Texas Heart Institute in 1962. A world-renowned surgeon who has received more than 100 honors, he has pioneered many techniques used in cardiovascular surgery and performed the first successful human heart transplant in the United States in 1968. In 1969 he became the first heart surgeon to implant an artificial heart in man.
Adib Jatene, who was the first physisian to introduce thoracic surgery in Regiao, Brazil and it was there that he made his first model of an artificial heart. Dr.Jatene has made original contributions in the area of bio-engineering, including the development of an artificial heart-lung machine, bubble oxygenator, valvular prostheses, and pacemakers.
Donald Nixon Ross, who is a consultant at Guy‚s Hospital in London. He was appointed in 1970 as Director of the Department of Surgery at the Institute of Cardiology of the National Heart Hospital in London. He spent an enormous amount of his time achieving a safe heart-lung apparatus. During the past 25 years, his research has been directed toward the use of human valves and biologically constituted valves for heart valve replacement.
Albert Starr, who introduced open-heart surgery to the Pacific Northwest of the United States and with Lowell Edwards developed the first mitral valve prostheses. In 1960 he performed the first clinically successful mitral valve replacement in the world, contributing to surgical techniques for congenital heart diseases.
Juro Wada, who has invented many new surgical instruments for chest and open-heart surgery: the Wada Stethescope, cardiac fibrillator and defibrillator, Wada-Cutter heart valve, as well as collapsible hyperbaric chambers. In addition, he developed the Sternal-Turnover procedure for the correction of funnel chest deformity that attracted worldwide interest. He performed the first heart transplant in Japan in 1968, the 30th in the world.
Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub, who taught at the University of Chicago before moving to Britain where he became a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Harefield Hospital (1969-2001) and Director of medical research and education (from 1992). He was appointed professor at the National Heart and Lung Institute in 1986. He has performed more heart transplants, including the Domino Procedure, than anyone in the world.
The History of the Symposium of Seven Wise Men, and the thoughts behind its revival, are presented below from the symposium website http://www.7wisemen.com
Ancient Greece, the birthplace of democracy, was a center of philosophical, scientific, and artistic thought. Commerce thrived and man produced spectacular achievements in what was the first global society, made possible to a great extent by remarkable advances in maritime navigation. At the center of ancient Greece's glory was one pivotal element: the quest for knowledge. This quest for knowledge, thirst for discovery, and yearning for enlightenment were the means to a social order of the highest level.
The ancients relied on "sophia", or wisdom, for leadership, guidance, and inspiration. In the 6th Century BC and after, the Symposium of Seven Wise Men provided an intellectual foundation to address the most challenging issues of the day. The seven sages, whose well-trained minds were adept at complex and deep thinking, engaged in retrospection and analysis to create a body of knowledge that assisted members of the ancient community to solve difficult problems, both personal and social.
The Symposium of Seven Wise Men was a valuable institution whose legacy is still with us in the form of ideas and sayings that have as much currency today as they did 2,500 years ago. Its modern revival will be a valuable tool for the global society of the 21st Century.
As we navigate our way through today's perplexing world, we face enormous challenges in a host of areas. Economic justice, social integration, healthcare, sustainability, technology, communication, and the built environment are some of the topics that man must address in a way that leads to a better society for all.
Today, the revival of the Symposium of Seven Wise Men is dedicated to conducting public discourse on issues that require our close attention, reflection, and analysis. The 1st Symposium, focusing on values and ethics in medicine today, provides us with an opportunity to examine topics that have a profound effect on the course of our lives.
The 1st Symposium of Seven Wise Men of the Modern World will bring together seven of the world's most gifted cardiovascular surgeons to examine the values, ethics, and challenges that medicine faces today. These issues also touch upon wider social concerns since we are all affected by such topics as access to, and equity in, healthcare.
Today's pioneers in surgery are highly talented physicians whose visions and techniques are altering medical care dramatically. Seven extraordinary surgeons are to launch the 1st Symposium of Seven Wise Men of the Modern World in cardiovascular surgery in May 2007.
The Symposium's two roundtable discussions, one in Athens, the other in Delphi, will provide a unique platform for the seven wise men to discuss challenging scientific, ethical, and social issues. The distinguished speakers will also share their thoughts on contemporary human values.
In the future, the Symposium of Seven Wise Men of the Modern World will address diverse topics that challenge humankind and will present some of the most renowned and acclaimed thinkers and practitioners in the world. Topics under consideration include communication, architecture, technology, mathematics, sustainability, and interfaith relations.
Caption: File photo of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias (ANA-MPA/S. Pantzartzi).
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