One to Remember! The 26th World Congress of IACAPAP in Brazil

By Guilherme V. Polanczyk, MD, PhD
Congress Chair and Associate Professor of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of São Paulo Medical School

For the first time in the history of our association, the 26th World Congress of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions was held in South America, hosted by the vibrant and culturally rich city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This historic event marked a significant milestone in our efforts in sharing knowledge, fostering collaboration, and advancing our understanding of mental health problems faced by young people worldwide. The success of this congress was made possible through the collaborative effort of colleagues from across Brazil and Latin America. 

Highlight Video of the IACAPAP Congress 2024 Rio

The congress commenced with an inspiring opening ceremony that set the tone for the meeting, combining science and culture. Miguelzinho do Cavaco, a 13-year-old boy played Brazilian classics including "Girl from Ipanema,"Aquele Abraço," and "O que é, o que é?”—songs that captured the spirit and cultural richness of Brazil.  

The ceremony featured the compelling opening address by Tom Osborn titled "Decolonizing the Mind," which explored the critical theme of addressing and dismantling the lingering effects of colonialism on mental health practices and perspectives. After the ceremony, delegates were delighted by a vibrant performance from Mangueira do Amanhã, the youth wing of the famed Mangueira Samba School. Their lively show added an energetic and culturally rich backdrop, celebrating the local heritage and bringing the flavors of Brazilian carnival to the event. 

Congress Opening Speech by Dr Guilherme V.Polanczyk, the Congress Chair of the IACAPAP Congress 2024 Rio

Congress delegates attended the Opening Ceremony of the Congress

The congress took place in the stunning neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca, right in front of the sea. The picturesque setting provided delegates with breathtaking ocean views. The warmth and hospitality of the local people added to the welcoming atmosphere, making participants feel at home and enhancing the overall experience. Throughout the congress, various critical themes were explored, featuring insightful keynote conferences. New formats for activities were organized: debates, grand round, and a scientific arena. A significant feature of the program was the wealth of symposiums submitted by delegates, showcasing the diverse research and clinical advancements from around the world. These symposiums provided a platform for professionals to present their work and engage in rich, collaborative discussions. Delegates also had the opportunity to present their work in dedicated poster sessions and oral communication sessions. These sessions allowed for dynamic exchange of ideas, fostering an environment where innovative research and effective practices could be shared and discussed by a senior colleague and peers. 

In addition to the academic sessions, the congress included networking events and social activities, fostering connections between professionals from different regions. This edition marked the 20th year of the Donald J Cohen Fellowship Program (DJCFP). The program plays a critical role in nurturing the new generation of mental health professionals dedicated to children and adolescents. Hundreds of colleagues have experienced the program as mentors and fellows, and all the DJCFP community met and celebrated this important milestone in Rio de Janeiro. 

The success of this congress would not have been possible without the extensive efforts and support from countries across Latin America. Their contributions were pivotal in organizing and promoting the event, ensuring wide participation and representation. The dedication and collaboration of Latin American professionals underscored the region’s commitment to advancing child and adolescent mental health. 

The congress concluded with a strong sense of accomplishment and a shared commitment to the mission of IACAPAP - improving mental health of children and adolescents wordwide. The discussions and networks formed during the congress are set to influence future directions in the field. The 26th World Congress of IACAPAP in South America was a resounding success, reflecting the collective efforts of all involved. We extend our deepest gratitude to the speakers, attendees, sponsors and the PCO CCM for making this event possible. We look forward to continuing this journey of collaboration and learning and to meeting the IACAPAP community in Hamburg!

Performance by Miguelzinho do Cavaco at the Congress Opening Ceremony

The 26th World Congress of IACAPAP - Country Photo Booth

Keynote session at the Congress

Scientific Area @ Exhibition Area

This article represents the view of its author(s) and does not necessarily represent the view of the IACAPAP's bureau or executive committee.