Monthly Edition: September 2008

Come to Buenos Aires June 13-17, 2010

Oscar Gershanik
By Oscar Gershanik, M.D., Chair, Local Organizing Committee, 2010 International Congress

"Hard to believe Buenos Aires had any beginning. I feel it to be as eternal as air and water." (Fervor of Buenos Aires, poems, Jorge Luis Borges, 1929)

Although I am not a native of Buenos Aires, I have lived here since I was very young and I feel myself a true "porteño" (a person from the port) as we are called. People who live in port cities are used to welcomes and farewells and a quota of nostalgia is ingrained in our nature. Nothing best describes this nostalgia than one of our well known tangos "Mi Buenos Aires querido"….My beloved Buenos Aires, the day I see you again there will be no more sorrow nor memories lost...(Tango by Carlos Gardel 1934). In addition to being nostalgic we are very passionate about our "beloved Buenos Aires". We enjoy walking its tree lined boulevards and wide avenues, or stop for a cup of coffee and a newspaper in one of the thousands of cafes that dot every corner and every block, feel the vibrant rhythm of a city that "never sleeps", browse its numerous bookstores, listen to the Opera in the wonderful "Teatro Colon", cheer our favorite football team on a Sunday afternoon, dance a tango and of course eat a tender and juicy steak!

In addition to my personal feelings of Buenos Aires, how can I convey what this city is like to the people that will attend the International Congress in 2010? The city has been described as the "Paris of South America". Nothing is further from the truth. Buenos Aires is Buenos Aires, a synthesis of the diversity of the people that populated it from every corner of the world. It is true it has a European flair, but with the spirit of the "new world". The multinational people of Buenos Aires have an elaborate and rich cultural identity. Italian, German, Polish, Basque, Scottish, Irish names almost outnumber Spanish, and the lifestyle and architecture are a reflection of this true "melting pot". In parallel to its population’s diversity Buenos Aires' physical structure is a mosaic as varied and diverse as its culture. Buenos Aires is composed of many small places, intimate details, and tiny events and interactions, each with a slightly different shade, shape, and character. Glass-sheathed skyscrapers cast their slender shadows on 19th century Victorian houses; old style cafes and shops face dusty, treasure-filled antique shops across the way.

The sciences and the arts are also an important part of the rich cultural identity of Buenos Aires. Our university has produced five Nobel Prizes, three of them in the biosciences, and representatives of our literature and music are highly respected worldwide. You can listen and dance tango music in Tokyo as well as in London or Helsinki, and Borges as well as Cortazar has been translated to almost every language. As you can see Buenos Aires is the perfect setting for an International meeting. We are used to mixture and diversity, ours is a city of encounters. I encourage you to come in 2010 and enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of this "my beloved" remote corner of the world.

About Oscar Gershanik, MD
Dr. Gershanik is Professor of Neurology at the University of Buenos Aires and Scientific Director of the Institute of Neuroscience at the Favaloro Foundation University Hospital. He is also the Director of the Laboratory of Experimental Parkinsonism at the Institute of Pharmacological Research in Buenos Aires. Recently, he has been elected Treasurer of The Movement Disorder Society. He has extensively published both in the clinical and basic sciences in topics related to Parkinson’s Disease. His areas of interest include dopamine receptor interactions in motor control, biological effects of levodopa in animal models of PD, levodopa induced dyskinesias and the effect of DA agonists, and use of viral vectors and trophic factors to induce neuroprotection or restoration of DA neurons.