|1.1. The pioneers
The HIStory of the Hellenic Society of Immunology starts in the late 1960s. At that time, a number of Greek medical doctors had returned to Greece from abroad (USA, UK, France and other countries) where they had been trained in Immunology, created a core of scientists with interest in this field.
With the new knowledge they had got, they were well aware of the close relation of Immunology with all medical specialties and had also recognized the necessity of all new doctors, general practitioners and other specialized doctors have an education in Immunology.
In October 1970, the above group (E. Kaklamani, P. Kalpaktsoglou, A. Mantalenaki, I. Economidou, C. Pathouli, M. Pavlatou, N. Renieri, C. Stavropoulos) organized a 7-day seminar: “Days of Immunological Methods”. The seminar, which was held in a different institution each day, included lectures on immunological subjects as well as demonstrations of immunological methods. The unexpected success of the seminar, the enthusiasm of the participated lecturers, the increased number of immunological articles in the literature and the discussions of the Greek immunologists with their colleagues from other countries, made them decide that that it was time to create a society in Greece. Through this society, Greek immunologists could act officially and could also communicate with immunologists from all over the world.
1.2. The establishment
Professor M. Pavlatou, who was the pioneer of the effort, invited 40 distinguished members of the medical community with interest in Immunology and in a meeting at Athens University, she talked to them about the importance of a society of Immunology for the evolution of the field of Immunology in Greece.
1.3. The first period
Professor Pavlatou became the first President of HIS and, with the members of the Board as well as several other members of the Society, started to organize weekly meetings and presentations by Greek and foreign lecturers.
1.4. Efforts for a research centre
Between 1971 and 1975, the HSI Board was encouraged by foreign Immunologists as well as by the key persons for Immunology of WHO (H. Goodman and G. Torigiani) for the establishment of a Greek National Center of Research and Education in Immunology (NCREI). The idea was this center to be unfolded into a reference center for Immunology in the East Mediterranean area.
1.5. Member of International Societies
In the meanwhile, HSI became member of IUIS (1973) with its representatives participating to International and European Meetings. Some years later the Society became also member of EFIS (early 90s), of the European Federation of Laboratory Medicine (1993) and started also been represented to the Section of Biopathology of UEMS.
1.6. New constitution
HSI continued its function under the rules of the first constitution up to 1996. Then, a new constitution was proposed by the Board and was approved by the General Assembly and then by the Greek Court.
The HSI’s activities in order to meet with the above goals are:
1.7. Structure of HSI
HIS´s body consists of Ordinary, Honorary and Auxiliary members.
It meets once a year and whenever something urgent appears. The executive body is the Board, which consists of seven Officers: President, Vice-President, Secretary General, Secretary, Treasurer and 2 Counselors.
1.8. Regular activities
The scientific events of HSI are regular (the Panhellenic Congress for Immunology every three years and the annual Seminar in Immunology) and Extra (lectures by invited speakers, organization of seminars and symposia independently or in collaboration with other societies).
1.9. Balkan collaboration
In 1996, HIS accepted the invitation by the Yugoslav Society for Immunology for a collaboration between Balkan countries and worked with the other societies into this direction.
1.10. Current period
In 1996, the 25th anniversary of HIS was celebrated. During this celebratin, a number of Society members that had actively effectively worked for its objectives were honored.
Some years ago (1993), Professor M. Pavlatou was recognized as the Honorary President of the Society, while other distinguished scientists were recognized as HIS´s Honorary members (Professor G. Merikas – 1987, Professor P. Vasileiadis – 1987, Professor Avrameas – 1991, Professor N. Matsaniotis – 1991, Professor G. Panayi – 1991, Dr. A. Theofilopoulos – 1996).
Currently, HIS counts 400 Members (table 2).
Throughout these years, HIS has been successfully administrated by capable Presidents (table 3) and Boards, who have effectively worked for the objectives of the Society. The new elected Board (the 14th from HSI’s establishment) also works into the same direction. The organization of the “15th EFIS Congress in 2003″, which has been entrusted to HSI’s not only will give the Greek Immunologists the opportunity and pleasure to host their European colleagues, but it is also expected to make closer the links of the Hellenic Society with the other European Societies for Immunology.