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Welcome messages

26–29 October 2023 | #WONCASydney2023
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Welcome messages


A message from the Host Organising Committee Chair - Adj. Prof Karen Price

WONCA began in 1972 in Melbourne, with 18 member countries and has now expanded with 110 countries representing primary care to nearly 90 % of the world’s population. WONCA advocates internationally as an official NGO (Non-Government Organization) to the WHO (World Health Organization) and has recently moved the head secretariat to Brussels. 

As Family Doctors, since Covid many things are changing in our world, and yet some very human issues remain. We need to recover, we need to reconnect, we need to revitalize and celebrate our profession. Concurrent history and evolution are both important structures for our human communities. WONCA[1] the organisation began in Melbourne in 1972. I was thrilled to be hosting the 50th anniversary of this major medical organisation in 2022, during my Presidential term of the RACGP 2020-2022. Alas, due to Covid we are now hosting the 50th anniversary in 2023 and like all adaptations, we will celebrate this important milestone in international medical advocacy with just as much joy. Perhaps even more so given how the world has rapidly changed during Covid. 

Attending the World WONCA Conference is a life changing experience as you network with family doctors around the world and understand the unique local contexts of the application of primary care. You come away with a shared understanding of the humanity of our profession and the influence that policy can make to the application of high-quality primary care. You network with incredible peers who are researching, advocating, and educating within the broadest of disciplines.  For me it has been such a privilege to have international networks and friends. Presenting workshops, participating in discussions, and listening to world leaders in primary care is such an opportunity to broaden and deepen your understandings. I strongly encourage you to join in the celebrations and I was proud to have contributed to the conference themes of Recovery, Reconnection and Revival. We all need inspiration and celebration. 

Within the scientific committee and the international committees, we have been working hard to present an exciting and stimulating program.  I have personally ensured there is support for the presentation techniques which are important to stimulate discussion and dialogue.  To connect with the audience and revitalize your works meaning is such an important part of recognizing what so many doctors and health care workers have been through during a historic global pandemic.  

The Sydney location has been reviewed by the CEO Dr Harris Lydiakis, Associate Professor Bohumil Seifert, Prof Mark Morgan, and myself, along with RACGP staff and it is a thrilling yet comfortable location on beautiful Darling Harbour, Sydney. There are many accommodation choices around with good local eateries and restaurants. We are arranging smaller intimate places to collect with your international friends on the many mezzanines at the Conference site, during the conference. We have some wonderful local entertainment centres booked for the official conference dinner and welcome your families with a partner program put together by Tourism Australia. The usual pre and post conference events are on including inter practice visits with Australian General Practices. Please consult the website for details. 

I look forward to hosting you and your families. I celebrate your stories and narratives from these extraordinary times we have been through. We are looking forward to welcoming a new President of WONCA Assoc Professor Karen Flegg, whilst celebrating the wonderful international achievements of President Anna Stavdahl in her brilliant advocacy globally for Primary Care. We will celebrate all the diversity of all the physicians and clinicians who dedicate their lives to this brilliant and extraordinary global vocation. By remaining openly curious about ourselves and our world we can truly demonstrate the very best of tolerant humanitarian professionalism and address more easily the very real and imperative global challenges ahead of us.

With my very best wishes for safe travels

Adj. Prof Karen Price
Immediate Past President RACGP
WONCA 2023 Host Organising Committee Chair


[1] WONCA is an acronym comprising of the first five initials of the World Organisation of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians. WONCA's short name is World Organisation of Family Doctors.


A message from the International Advisory Chair - A/Prof Karen Flegg

We look forward to welcoming you to Sydney, in October 2023. Recovery, reconnection and revival - a celebration of primary care is our theme. How appropriate this is for 2023!Our program is sure to have something for everyone. It will be a celebration of primary care. The past years have been tough – with hard work and with COVID affecting our work, our homes, our friends and families.

I was born in Sydney, and still think it is one of the world’s cities worth visiting and a great place in which to recover. You will be greeted with the well known Aussie friendliness!

This may be the first opportunity, since 2019, for many of us to see our Australian and International friends, so be assured we are aware that time for reconnection both academically and socially is important.We aim to revive personally, and in our passion for primary care. 

A/Prof Karen Flegg, President-elect WONCA

A message from the Conference Scientific Chair

As chair of the Scientific Committee for WONCA 2023 I am honoured to work with the members of the committee to design a program that has thought provoking and informative content that will be delivered in exciting and innovative ways. I hope you will come away from the conference with new global perspectives of primary care, new skills and new knowledge. Above all, I hope you will gain a sense of connection. The title of WONCA 2023, “Recovery, reconnection and revival. A celebration of primary care” is front of mind as we work through this global pandemic. The Scientific Committee will be working hard to ensure that WONCA 2023 lives up to this title.  

Professor Mark Morgan, Chair of the WONCA 2023 Conference Scientific Committee 

A message from the Minister

I am pleased to welcome you and delegates from over 96 countries to Sydney for the World Organization of Family Doctors’ World Conference in 2023.  I understand while you’re here you will participate in scientific and practical hands-on programs, and special events. I hope you’ll also have time to explore the city and engage with some of the best we have to offer – great cultural institutions, world-leading scientific researchers and institutions, wonderful food and a physically beautiful city and surrounds.

I look forward to seeing you, and a global community of academic and industry professionals across family medicine, in Sydney!

The Hon. John Graham
Special Minister of State, Minister for Roads, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy, and Minister for Jobs and Tourism

© 2023 The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) ABN 34 000 223 807