The need for closer and personal scientific exchange among anatomists, histologists, embryologists. morphologists, anthropologists, veterinarians, dentists, biologists, and zoologists, and professionals of allied health sciences, and their interest in the uniformity of the technological language they all used in teaching and research, led a group of leaders in the field of Anatomy to found the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA).

The first step toward the foundation of the IFAA was taken by Prof. NICOLAS, of Nancy (France), who proposed the creation of an international, permanent central committee to lead the anatomical societies of the world. This committee would establish bylaws and periodically organize congresses, during which scientific findings and views of common interest could be exchanged. In addition, the congresses would allow the adoption of acceptable policies to be followed by its institutional members. These propositions were presented and approved during the I Federation International Congress of Anatomy, which was held in Geneva (Switzerland), in 1903, under the presidency of Prof. D'ETERNOD, who had organized the meeting. It was then decided 1) to create the IFAA; 2) to hold federative congresses under the aegis of the IFAA, approximately every five years; 3) to elect officers of a bureau or board, which would act as an executive committee in the administration of the business of the Federation between congresses. As a result, decisions were made to hold the II Federative Congress in Belgium and to elect the first bureau. The bureau was composed of representatives of the 5 founding societies, as follows:

NICOLAS (Nancy) and LAGUESSE (Lille) for the "Association des Anatomistes" (France)

WALDEYER (Berlin) and VON BARDELEBEN (Jena) for the "Anatomische Gesellschaft" (Germany)

FUSARI (Torino) and ROMITI (Pisa) for the "Unione Zoologica Italiana" (Italy)

SYMINGTON (Belfast) and ADDISON (London) for the "Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland" (United Kingdom)

MALL (Baltimore) and MINOT (Boston) for the "American Association of Anatomists" (U.S.A.).

The II Federative International Congress of Anatomy took place 7 years later, under the presidency Of Prof. WALDEYER, in Brussels (1910). During the business session of this Congress a committee to update the Nomina Embryologica was created, after the revision of the Nomina Anatomica, which was initiated in Leipzig (Germany) since 1887 and continued in the United Kingdom since 1894.

World War I prevented holding the subsequent Federative Congress in 1915 and no initiative was taken to organize the Congresses in 1920 and 1925.

The III Federative International Congress of Anatomy was held in 1930, in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), under the presidency of Prof. VAN DEN BROEK (Utrecht). The first changes in the membership of the Federation were made: 1) the "Unione Zoologica Italiana" was replaced by the Societa Italiana di Anatomia, which was founded in 1929; 2) 3 additional societies became members of the Federation: The Nederlanse Anatomen Vereniging and the Nippon Kaibo Gakkai (Association of Japanese Anatomists), both founded in 1893, and the Polish Society of Anatomy and Zoology, founded in 1926; 3) the total number of members reached eight. For the first time Latin American anatomists were represented at the Federative Congress, by a Brazilian anatomist, Prof. RENATO LOCCHI (Sao Paulo).

The war between Italy and Ethiopia delayed the organization of the subsequent Federative Congress scheduled for 1935 in Italy.

The IV Federative International Congress of Anatomy was held, then. in Milano. in 1936, presided over by Prof. LIVINI. During the meeting, an international Committee to revise the anatomical nomenclature was appointed and the membership of the Federation increased with the admission of the Luso­Hispano­American Anatomical Society, founded in 1930, and the Portuguese Anatomical Society, created in 1932.

Again. another war (World War II) prevented Federative International Congresses from taking place in 1940 and 1945.

On July 25-28, 1950, the V Federative International Congress of Anatomy was held in Oxford. under the presidency of Prof. LEGROS CLARK [United Kingdom). According to the title page and the introduction of the list of Nomina Anatomica (1955), "imprime en Grande Bretagne, chez Spottiswoode, Ballantyne et Cie., S.A.R.L., Londres et Colchester", written by Profs. JOHNSTON and MITCHELL (United Kingdom), translated and endorsed (page XII) by Prof. BEAU (France), the following excerpts are transcribed for historical record (page VI): "Le Congres [1950] chargea donc son President, le Professeur LEGROS CLARK, d'instituer un Comite international comportant trois representants de chaque pays participant a cette reunion, et d'inviter toutes les associations d'anatomistes a elire ses propres representants.Etant donne que ce comite international de la nomenclature anatomique (I.A.N.C.) avait ete cree par le Congres international d'Oxford, le secretaire de la Societe anatomique de Grande Bretagne et d'lrlande, demanda au representant Britannique le plus ancien, le Professeur T. B. JOHNSTON. de prendre toutes dispositions utiles pour organiser une reunion de l'I.A.N.C. dans les plus brefs delais possibles".

The I.A.N.C. was chaired by Prof. GEORGE W. CORNER (Baltimore) and Prof. T. B. JOHNSTON (United Kingdom) was selected as honorary secretary. the other members being: Profs. ARA (Spain), BEAU (France), BECCARI (Italy), INGLEMARK (Sweden), STARCK (F.R.G.) and WOERDEMAN (The Netherlands).

Page XII: ... "au cours des reunions de l'I.A.N.C. on exprima le desir d'etablir. de facon permanente, un Comite de la Nomenclature anatomique, destine a etudier les additions et modifications qui seraient ulterierement proposees a cette premiere liste de termes, avec mission de n'inserer de telles additions et modifications qu'avec son approbation. Celle-ci devrait etre confirmee par le suivant Congres International des Anatomistes...

Cependant, on se mit d'accord avec le President. le Dr. G. W. CORNER. pour soumettre le projet au 6e. Congres de sa session pleniere sur la Nomenclature Anatomique a Paris."

The frontispiece of the Nomina Anatomica (1955) contains the following statement: "Revises par le Comite de la Nomenclature Anatomique designe lors du Cinquieme Congres Federatif International d'Anatomie reuni a Oxford en 1950... Et devant etre soumis au Sixieme Congres International d'Anatomie qui si tiendra a Paris en Juillet 1955, apres avoir ete approuves dans une reunion de l'ensemble du Comite International de la Nomenclature qui aura lieu a Paris le 24 Juillet 1955."

The following anatomical societies, societies of anatomy or associations of anatomists were admitted as regular members of the IFAA : Argentine Society of Normal and Pathological Anatomy (1934); Free Association of Anatomists of Swiss Universities (1934); Swedish Anatomical Society (1935); Brazilian Anatomical College (1943); Bulgarian Society of Anatomists, Histologists and Embryologists (1944); Association of Soviet Anatomists, Embryologists and Histologists (1949) and Spanish Anatomical Society (1949).

The VI Federative International Congress of Anatomy was presided over by Prof. COLLIN (France) and was held in 1955, in Paris. The revised anatomical nomenclature, prepared by the Committee of the Federation, was officially adopted under the name "Nomina Anatomica Parisiensia", the revision of which was to continue and be approved at each international congress. 3 societies joined the Federation: India Anatomical Society (1951), Brazilian Society of Anatomy (1952), and the International Society of Developmental Biologists (1952).

The VII Federative International Congress of Anatomy was held in New York City in 1960, presided over by Prof. CORNER. At the plenary session of the Congress, a new edition of Nomina Anatomica was approved (published in 1961) and Prof. CORNER was succeeded by Prof. WOERDEMAN (The Netherlands) as chairman of the I.A.N.C. Subcommittees for the nomenclature of Histology and Embryology were appointed at this Congress. 3 additional societies were admitted as members of the Federation: Yugoslavian Association of Anatomists (1955), Czechoslovakian Anatomical Society (1958) and the Mexican Anatomical Society (1959).

Wiesbaden, in 1965. was the site of the VIII Federative International Congress of Anatomy, presided over by Prot. BARGMANN (F.R.G.). A revision of the Nomina Anatomica was approved and 2 societies were admitted as members: Anatomical Society of Australia and New Zealand (1963) and the Rioplatense Society of Anatomy (1964), the latter comprising anatomists from Argentina and Uruguay.

The IX Federative International Congress of Anatomy was held in Leningrad, in August 1970, presided over by Prof. JDANOV (Moscow). A revision of the provisional versions of Nominae Anatomica. Embryologica et Histologica was approved during the Congress. The following members of the Bureau or Board of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists were elected: Profs. JDANOV (USSR), BARGMAN (F.R.G.), NIIZIMA (Japan) and, as Secretary General. Prof. DELMAS (France). The Hungarian Society of Anatomists. Histologists and Embryologists (1966) and the Panamanian Society of Anatomy (1972) were admitted as new members. The president of the Pan American Association of Anatomists, Prof. L. J. A. DIDIO (USA). proposed that the Congress of 1980 be held in Mexico City, the first to take place in a Latin American country. and that the final decision be made in Tokyo. 1975, where the Federation would sponsor its Congress for the first time in Asia.

The X Federative International Congress of Anatomy was presided Over by Prof. NAKAYAMA, in Tokyo. in August 1975. The revision of the anatomical, embryological and histological nomenclatures was approved. On behalf of the "Gesellschaft fur Anatotmie der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik", Prof. SCHUMACHER, Rostock (G.D.R.) applied for membership in the Federation. Another candidate was the World Association of Veterinary Anatomists. Both associations were unanimously admitted.

The XI Federative International Congress of Anatomy was held in Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, in August 1980, and presided over by Prof. ACOSTA-VIDRIO (Mexico City). The opening Speech was delivered by Dr. J. LOPEZ-PORTILLO, President of the Republic of Mexico and Honorary President of the XI Federative Congress, who emphasized the importance of the meeting both nationally and internationally. The revision of the anatomical, embryological and histological terminology was approved and a new Bureau was elected: Prof. ACOSTA-VIDRIO (Mexico) as president, Prof. DELMAS (France) as secretary general, Prof. DIDIO (U.S.A.) as secretary and Prof. BARONE (France) as secretary . Several associations extended invitations to organize the subsequent Congress and the majority selected London (United Kingdom) as the site for the event. 9 new members were admitted: Argentine Society for the Morphological Sciences, Association of Anatomists of Costa Rica, Chilean Society of Anatomy, Indonesian Association of Anatomists, Israel Society for Anatomical Sciences, Korean Association of Anatomists, Luso­Brazilian Society of Anatomy, Philippine Society of Anatomists and the Anatomical Society of West Africa.

The XII Federative International Congress of Anatomy took place in London, United Kingdom, in August 1985, presided over by Sir RICHARD HARRISON (United Kingdom). Since Prof. ACOSTA-VIDRIO was unable to attend, Prof. DELMAS presided over the administrative session, when several decisions were made : 1) by majority vote, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) , was selected as the site to host the XIII Federative International Congress of Anatomy , in 1990. At the request of the Brazilian Society of Anatomy and its Organizing Committee, chaired by Prof. Moscovici (Rio de Janeiro), the year of the Congress was changed to 1989 because it will coincide with the celebration of the first centennial of the proclamation of the Republic of Brazil; 2) by unanimous vote the following officers were elected: Prof. HARRISON (president), Prof. DIDIO (secretary general), Prof. BARONE (Secretary) and Prof. ESPERANCA-PINA (Secretary). On Prof. DIDIO'S motion, Prof. DELMAS was elected by acclamation Honorary Secretary for his outstanding services rendered to the I.F.A.A. ; 3) 6 new members were admitted: Association of Anatomists of the People's Republic of China, Peruvian Society of Anatomy, Ibero-American Society of Anatomy, Anatomical Society of Turkey, Anatomical Society of Belgium and Greek Anatomical Society.

Since Prof. HARRISON was unable to continue as an officer of the Bureau, according to the bylaws Prof. DIDIO became president, Prof. ESPERANCA-PINA was promoted to secretary general, Prof. BARONE kept his position as secretary and Prof. GOSLING (United Kingdom).Substituted Prof. ESPERANCA­PINA as Secretary.

The members of the Bureau, in consultation with most presidents and secretaries of national associations, prepared a new set of bylaws. These were distributed to all members in order that there was ample opportunity to offer amendments in writing before the XIII Congress. In the plenary session of the Congress of Rio de Janeiro a final vote was taken to approve the definitive document containing the bylaws of the I.F.A.A.

In addition to the selection of the subsequent Federative International Congresses the planning for the celebration of the first centennial of the Federation, in the year 2003 , was proposed. Since WALDEYER, from Berlin, was a member of the first bureau and the president of the II Federative International Congress, held in Brussels, I would like to suggest that Berlin and Berlin (West), with a combined organizing committee, will be the cities host for the historical event. During the first Centennial celebration Of the Federation, WALDEYER'S contributions and achievements could be properly commemorated.

Professor LJA DiDio

List of IFAA Congresses

1903Fondation of IFAANicolas from Nancy, France
1903Ist Congress in Geneva, SwitzerlandD'Eternod
1905 6-10 AugustIst Congress in Geneva, SwitzerlandWaldyer
19102nd Congress in Brussels, BelgiumWaldyer
19303rd Congress in Amsterdam, The NetherlandsVan den Broek
19364th Congress in Milan, ItalyLivini
19505th Congress in Oxford, UKLe Gross Clark
19556th Congress in Paris, FranceCollin
19607th Congress in New York, USABennett
19658th Congress in Weisbaden, GermanyBargmann
19709th Congress in Leningrad, USSRJdanov
197510th Congress in Tokyo, JapanNakayama
198011th Congress in Mexico City, MexicoAcosta-Vidrio
198512th Congress in London, UKHarrison
198913th Congress in Rio de Janeiro, BrazilMoscovici
199414th Congress in Lisbon, PortugalEsperanca-Pina
199915th Congress in Rome, ItalyBrynmor Thomas
2004 22-27 August16th Congress in Kyoto, JapanBrynmor Thomas
200917th Congress in Cape Town, South AfricaBernard Moxham
2014 August 8-1018th Congress in Bejiing, ChinaBernard Moxham
2019 9-11 August19th Congress in London, UKBeverley Kramer
2022 5-7 August20th Congress in Istanbul, Turkey (online)Beverley Kramer 


International Federation of Associations of Anatomists

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