Looking ahead to ADI International Conference

Since this blog was published, the ADI International Conference has been postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak in East Asia. The conference will now take place on 10-12 December 2020 in Singapore.

by Paola Barbarino

With ADI’s 34th International Conference taking place in Singapore in just two months’ time, I and the rest of the team are busy preparing ourselves for what promises to be a captivating few days. We are expecting over 1,200 delegates from over 100 countries, so it will truly be an international affair. The theme for this year speaks to the need for ‘new’ as we enter a new decade: Hope in the age of dementia. New science. New knowledge. New solutions.

Here are five key highlights of the conference I am most looking forward to:

1. The programme – Since the adoption of the WHO’s Global action plan on the public health response to dementia in 2017, ADI has been thinking of innovative ways to increase progress towards the targets of the plan, and in so doing, to improve the lived experience of those 50 million people living with dementia. For the first time, our Conference programme will be built around the 7 action areas of the plan: dementia as a public health priority; awareness and friendliness; risk reduction; diagnosis, treatment, care and support; support for carers; information systems and research and innovation. Our array of plenary speakers, parallel sessions, poster presentations and symposia have been carefully selected to ensure expertise around the seven themes, as well as a global representation including people living with dementia, carers, scientists and researchers, healthcare practitioners, and staff and volunteers of Alzheimer associations. 

2. Guest of Honour – I am delighted to announce that the President of the Republic of Singapore, Mdm Halimah Yacob, will grace the opening ceremony of the conference on 19 March 2020 as the Guest-of-Honour, hosted with our member Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA) in Singapore. There may be other surprise announcements so stay tuned on our website www.adi2020.org for further news.

3. Film – As we all know, storytelling is a very powerful and emotive tool. For the first time ever, the ADI International Conference will have a film room. This is something I am very much looking forward to, as it will be a chance to showcase some real-life stories and their different socio-cultural contexts. We will also launch a film with ITN Productions aligned with the theme ‘Hope in the age of dementia’. The news-style production will focus on the latest advances in care, research and technology, showcasing organisations which are driving change and innovation around the world.

4. Representing people with dementia – As always, we will be proud of the many voices of people living with dementia throughout the programme. It is with greatest admiration that I see passionate, articulate and powerful dementia advocates presenting at our Conference, people who dedicate their lives (and resources) to fight for improvements in the far-reaching areas covered by the WHO’s Global plan. For example, we will have Eileen and Dubhglas Taylor from Australia providing the closing plenary of the Conference, and Roman Szydlowski from Sweden speaking about his experience as a trial participant in a clinical trial. But there is a lot more to be heard about the unique journey of each of our advocates.   Many family carers will also share with us their stories and experiences.

5. Location, location, location – I don’t feel this point demands much explanation! Singapore is the perfect location for ADI to host a conference, not only because of the excellent flight connections for our global audience, but it has culture, adventure and iconic buildings in abundance. For foodies like myself, there is everything from Michelin starred restaurants to hawker stands. I can’t wait to have a pepper and a chilli crab again! For those concerned with sustainability (which frankly should be all of us!), the city-state aspires to be the world’s greenest city – from the iconic Gardens by the Bay where we will be hosting our Conference dinner, to Marina Bay, where all developments comply with a 100 percent greenery replacement policy, their approach to sustainability is inspirational. More than anything Singapore will be a magnet for many of ADI’s Asian members whose innovative and ground-breaking practices have been the blueprint for many initiatives helping people with dementia and their families live a better life worldwide. Come and hear about South Koreas innovative approaches to information sharing and registries, Japan’s new legislative aspirations, Indonesia’s ever improving awareness raising technique amongst many, many others!

I hope to see you all there!


Paola Barbarino is CEO of Alzheimer’s Disease International and a WDC council member

ADI’s 34th International Conference is taking place on 19-21 March 2020. Further details can be found here: https://adi2020.org/