Comments on the 2008 Meaning Conference  

From Dr. Danielle Nahon, University of Ottawa

Having attended over 200 academic conferences around the world, your International Meaning Conference held in Toronto this July and August stands out as a unique academic forum. First, this is the only conference of its kind in the world, with an existential,
meaning-centred focus. Secondly, I found the level of scholarship to be outstanding. If anything, there was an embarrassment of riches. Every hour there were so many different sessions to choose from, from academic research papers to workshops by invited topics on the timely and important topic of death and dying with dignity and meaningfulness. Third, I have never seen so many plenary presentations available at a conference; I had to get up extra early to be there for the first and second plenary speaker, and that was just the first part of each day’s program! Finally, it was great to have such a breadth of attendees, from the many students from Canada and other countries that attended, to leaders in their fields from academic settings all over the world. I have made good contacts and look forward to future dialogue with colleagues from Indonesia, Taiwan, the USA, and Australia.

From George Abbott, Minister of Health, BC

On behalf of the government of British Columbia, I am pleased to send greetings to the participants in the Addiction, Meaning and Spirituality conference and to welcome you to Vancouver.

This government has long recognized addictions as a health issue. BC is proud of the strides we have made in integrated mental health and addictions services and supports that meet the health needs of our communities. We have drawn on the best practices to promote a compassionate and effective response to problematic substance use and addictions in our communities and to support individuals and their families in the recovery process.

As participants in this international conference you will have the opportunity to share your experience and your expertise and to examine the current evidence in addictions care and its application.

From Anthony E. Brown, M.D., M.P.H., Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Family and Community Medicine

It was a privilege to meet all of you at the Vancouver "Addiction, Meaning, and Spirituality? Conference.

It was an excellent and well organized conference with insightful keynote speakers and presenters. I want to thank all of you for organizing this great program and for the opportunity to present a poster there.

From William F. Evans, Ph.D., James Madison University (Now INPM President)

It was such a pleasure to meet Paul and Lilian, and to experience firsthand the vision, faith, compassion and determination they both have for INPM! I truly enjoyed the conference - Paul brought in some truly inspiring speakers, and Cindy and I met some wonderful people affiliated with INPM. I look forward to our ongoing friendship!

From Pam Meredith Scarfone

What a wonderful conference and wonderful people. I thought the conference had diverse topics, lively debate, talented speakers, and compassionate people obviously full of commitment to their work and the field.
I am forever grateful for the opportunity to participate.
Thank you again, I will always remember the hippo!

From Alexander Batthyany, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy of Science, University of Vienna

Yesterday night, I arrived back in Vienna and, guess what, I already miss your company and the company of the many, many nice colleagues I came to know and the friends I made during these remarkable days in Vancouver. I also relish how fast and natural our friendship grew. Just as if it was to be (thanks to Irmeli). I would like to thank you for being such superb hosts and for nourishing it in so many ways (scientifically, personally, and not to forget the tasty and mouthwatering menus). To summ it all up in one word: it was a personally inspiring and scientifically important conference and I am looking forward to our growing and continuing friendship and collaboration between INPM and the Viktor Frankl Institute Vienna. Thanks again and my best greetings (also from the Frankl-Family which joins me in sending you cordial greetings).

From Kenneth E. Hart, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Windsor

Congratulations on hosting a successful conference! I'm writing to say my attendance and involvement in the sessions was both edifying and enjoyable. It refreshing to see people smile at an academic symposium. The shared enthusiasm was clear to see and refreshing. My impression was that the delegates all shared a strong sense of mission and purpose. I felt privileged to share company with the special breed of delegates you were able to attract. The delegates consisted of a heterogenous group, which was a strength. I liked the opportunity to understand different world views and to build bridges and cross disciplinary boundaries. If we are to advance viable solutions to the problem of addictiions, so much integration needs to be done to close gaps. In this regard, I feel the conference helped bring stakeholders that much closer. Personally, I found the experience to be valuable from a personal and professional standpoint. Attending the sessions enhanced my knowledge and competence as a scholar and researcher. I also found the opportunity to informally interact with other delegates during the lunches and dinners to be beneficial. During this informal sessions meant for socializing, I gave and received a number of business cards from delegates who shared common values. Thanks for providing a wonderful opportunity to network with others concerned with the three way intersection of addiction, meaning and spirituality. If everyone benefited as I did, you should feel very satsified that such a high level of value was added. Speaking personally, my welfare has been enhanced by attending and participating in the Vancouver experience. I'm grateful you had the vision to host such a specialized conference and that you followed through with all your hard work. Congratulations on being a trailblazer.

Again, I extend my sincere thanks to you and everyone on the organizing committee for a job well done! It all came together because you were able to work in harmony together in a unified team effort. Bravo!


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