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35 orthodontists received scholarships to attend

Pictured here are the majority of the scholarship winners. They represented the following countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

Hoping to create a long-lasting legacy for the 8th International Orthodontic Congress® (IOC), the IOC planning committee offered scholarships to 35 orthodontists from less affluent countries so they could attend the Congress. 

“Early on in the planning of the 8th IOC, we realized we wanted to include orthodontists who have faced huge challenges to train as dentists and orthodontists,” said Dr. Trevor Hodge, who served as chair of the 8th IOC Allied Health Professional Programme. “We are grateful to Kenes, the conference organizers, for supporting the grant funding and making sure that the 8th IOC leaves a very special legacy.”

The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) provided £50,000 in scholarships that covered the orthodontists’ flights, accommodations and registration fees. The scholarship recipients practice orthodontics in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

Eight of the beneficiaries were from Cambodia, including Dr. Yin Sythan of Phnom Penh. She is a graduate of the first orthodontic training program in Cambodia, which was established by Dr. Chern Chern Ling (a Malaysian national), Dr. Hodge and several other UK orthodontists in 2004. She also pursued training in cleft lip and palate treatment in Taipei, Taiwan. This was her first trip outside of Asia.

Dr. Deepak Kumar Gupta of Chandigarh, India, also received a scholarship. Dr. Gupta is professor and head of the Department of Orthodontics at the Dr. Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences & Hospital at the Panjab University. He enjoyed the exposure to the scientific presentations and the state-of-the-art technology, he said.

“I got a chance to meet the great stalwarts of our orthodontic profession, which further strengthened my self belief of doing exceptional work in the field of orthodontics,” Dr. Gupta said. “The 8th IOC educational grant was a morale booster, and this will have a cascading effect. Already all my colleagues are really looking forward to doing exceptional work and are charged up to present their work on an international platform. 

“I stayed for the entire meeting and happened to be a co-chair for a scientific session on orthognathic surgery. The conference was high on content and equally high on technology. The state-of-the-art technology exhibits by various orthodontic manufacturers was literally icing on the cake. All in all, it was a very good lifetime experience, and I will remember it for a long time.”

In addition to the 35 scholarship recipients, the BOS also waived registration fees for Dr. Manish Bajracharya, Dr. Anjana Rajbhandari and Dr. Dashrath Kafle, who are members of the Orthodontic and Dentofacial Orthopaedic Association of Nepal. While at the 8th IOC, they spoke to different audiences about their work to rebuild five schools that were destroyed in the devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015, in Nepal. The group has raised approximately $18,000 (USD) and hopes to raise an additional $5,000. The Association of Philippine Orthodontists, the Indian Orthodontic Society, the Japanese Orthodontic Society, the Korean Association of Orthodontists, the Taiwan Association of Orthodontists, the Thai Association of Orthodontists and the Sri Lanka Orthodontic Society have all made contributions. Orthodontists and friends in Bangladesh, China, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK have also provided funding. “We have no words to express our gratitude to the BOS and the WFO for their generosity to help us,” said Dr. Bajracharya.

“The trip to London to participate in the 8th IOC was a memorable one,” Dr. Kafle said. “The trip was memorable in terms of academics, international relations, as well as fundraising. I gave four presentations about our school rebuilding project in four different sessions of the IOC. The response was very touching. There were many warm-hearted people who came to us and inquired about our work. We had an opportunity to thank orthodontists from all over the world for their unconditional support. We are hopeful to get more support from our friends abroad.”