2023 WFN Elections

Report of the WFN Nominations Committee

One Treasurer and one Elected Trustee are to be elected at the Council of Delegates (CoD) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in October during the World Congress of Neurology in Montreal. The nominating committee of the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) now recommends to the membership those listed here as candidates in accordance with the Federation’s Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Recommended candidates

(Click on each name for their candidate statement.)

Treasurer to take office Jan. 1, 2024

  1. Prof. Marianne de Visser (The Netherlands)
  2. Prof. Barbara Tettenborn (Switzerland)

Elected Trustee to take office immediately after the COD Meeting

  1. Dr. Lawrence Tucker (South Africa)
  2. Dr. Mohammed Wasay (Pakistan)
  3. Dr. Tissa Wijeratne (Sri Lanka / Australia)

The deadline for submitting candidates for nomination was April 3, 2023. Nominations made after this deadline are possible. To nominate another individual (who must be a member of a WFN member society),

  • Obtain the supporting signatures of five or more authorized WFN delegates.
  • Submit the name(s) of the individual(s) in question to the Secretary General, along with a CV and a letter of the candidates agreement to stand.
  • Send to WFN headquarters at info@wfneurology.org 30 days prior to the start of electronic voting on Sept. 22, 2023.

Voting Timetable

Voting will take place by electronic voting (remote online ballot). This method of voting enables all member societies to vote in the elections, regardless of whether they are attending the CoD meeting.

Voting will be carried out in advance of the WFN AGM of the CoD. The election results will be announced at the CoD meeting.

• Registration to attend the WFN AGM CoD Meeting and to vote will open Sept. 1, 2023.

• Voting will open for two weeks between Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, @ 12 p.m. UTC and Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, @ 12 p.m. UTC.

The method of voting and timetable provides voters ample time and opportunity to register, and equity when making their vote without adverse conditions such as differences in time zones, or stresses due to travel restrictions that may impact their sound decision-making.

For more details on the method of voting, please contact info@wfneurology.org.


Candidate Statement for Treasurer: Marianne de Visser

My name is Marianne de Visser. I am an adult neurologist and (emeritus) Professor of Neuromuscular Diseases at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Marianne de Visser

Marianne de Visser

I would like to apply for the position of treasurer.

I have been committed to the good cause of the WFN for several decades. I have served under inspiring presidents. First, as a delegate on behalf of the Netherlands Society of Neurology, subsequently as an elected trustee under the late Presidents Jun Kimura and Johan Aarli. Under Bill Carroll’s presidency, I was chair of the Nominating Committee, and most recently, co-opted trustee. President Wolfgang Grisold appointed me as chair of the Membership Committee and chair of the Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

I have witnessed the growth of WFN. The increasing membership, but also the expanding role of the WFN in several impactful initiatives worldwide, are clear signs of leadership.

The close collaboration with the WHO has borne fruit for neurology.

One example is the Neurology Atlas, showing the country resources for neurological disorders. The data highlight that while the burden of neurological disorders is disproportionately high in low- and middle-income countries, health care services and resources are often scarce. The main project presently is the implementation of the intersectoral action plan for epilepsy and other neurological disorders, IGAP, which was approved at the World Health Assembly in May 2022, and has a time of 10 years for the duration of the program. It focuses on advocacy, treatment, prevention, research, innovation, and public health awareness, and is meant to implement neurology in all countries of the world.

The WFN puts many efforts in fulfilling its mission: “Fostering quality neurology and brain health worldwide.” One example is by organizing the World Brain Day, together with the six regional societies. World Brain Day is an extremely successful recurring event on July 22. This year, World Brain Day focuses on Brain Health and Disability: Leave No One Behind, conveying five important messages: Awareness, Prevention, Advocacy, Education, and Access.

Several WFN Programs focus on education, in particular aimed at residents and early career neurologists. This year, we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of WFN training centers, which provide one-year fellowships but also four-year residency programs. Another great success is the department visit program which enables an exchange of experiences and practices and also creates an opportunity to create an academic network for future cooperation.

At the beginning of his term, President Grisold stated that the WFN will need to take diversity, equity, and inclusion into consideration in its strategy, that the needs of early career neurologists require specific attention and action, and a platform for patient organizations should be installed in the WFN infrastructure. I embrace those initiatives, and I am fully committed to serve the WFN as treasurer to make those initiatives to a success in close collaboration with the trustees and the indispensable colleagues from the Head Office. •

Candidate Statement for Treasurer: Barbara Tettenborn

My name is Barbara Tettenborn. I am professor of neurology in Switzerland and Germany with both citizenships. I was born in Halle/Saale in East Germany, spent my later childhood and youth in West Berlin, studied medicine in Germany, England, and Ireland, and passed my neurological residency at the University Hospital in Mainz in Germany (Head of Department Prof. H.C. Hopf) followed by a stroke fellowship with Prof. L.R. Caplan in Boston in the United States.

Barbara Tettenborn

Barbara Tettenborn

I am a general neurologist with special interests in epilepsy, stroke, sports neurology, and brain health. After more than five years as vice chair of the department of neurology in Mainz, I was elected as head of the department of neurology in St. Gallen, Switzerland, in October 1999, and kept this position until my retirement in March 2023. I am still affiliated with the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz as professor of neurology continuing to give lectures and teaching courses on a regular basis. I am a member of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) as editor-in-chief of e-Learning. Together with a great team from the EAN and the editorial board, we built up the new e-Learning platform in 2021/2022, which was launched at the EAN annual meeting in Vienna last summer.

Regarding my experience in administrative boards:

  • I was member of the board of the Swiss Neurological Society for more than eight years and treasurer of the Swiss Federation of Clinical Neuro-Societies for more than four years until the end of 2022.
  • I served as a member of the administrative board at the hospital in St. Gallen for four years.
  • I am president of the Swiss League against Epilepsy and president of the organization Women in Neurology (WIN) Switzerland.
  • I am vice president of the scientific board of highly specialized medicine in Switzerland. My special research interests are epilepsy in the elderly, seizures due to vascular lesions, new antiepileptic drugs, vertebrobasilar ischemia, gender aspects in neurology, and sports neurology.
  • I am author and co-author of numerous publications and editor and co-editor of several textbooks of neurology, including “Paroxysmal Disorders in Neurology”’ and “Sport as Prevention and Therapy of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders.”

Neurology is not only my profession, but also my first and most favorite hobby, my second hobby being sports, especially triathlon and mountaineering. I like to cooperate and communicate with people and to encourage especially the next generation. Being recently retired from my position as head of department gives me the time and energy to take on new tasks. I have quite a lot of experience in administrative positions and political communication, including the position of treasurer of a large national society for several years.

It would be a great honor for me to serve the World Federation of Neurology as treasurer, and I promise to put all my energy, enthusiasm, time, and effort into this position in order to help to give neurology as much worldwide visibility and impact as possible. 

Candidate Statement for elected Trustee: Lawrence Tucker

It is an immense honor to be nominated for the position of WFN trustee.

Lawrence Tucker

Lawrence Tucker

After completing a laboratory-based, neuroscience PhD in Cambridge as a young doctor in 1993, I returned to train as a neurologist in sub-Saharan Africa where neurologists to general population average one per five million. I now head of neurology at Groote Schuur Hospital and the University of Cape Town’s Neuroscience Institute. I am president of the College of Neurologists of South Africa and past president of the Neurological Association of South Africa. I also sit on the boards of various other national, neurological, professional, and academic bodies

I am a general neurologist with an interest in epilepsy, but my passions lie in the advancement of neurological education, training, clinical practice, and advocacy, especially in resource constrained environments. Little surprise, then, that working with the WFN over the past decade has been a privilege and source of great personal fulfilment. I have been a WFN delegate for almost a decade and served on many WFN committees (core education, grants, public awareness and advocacy, RTC, e-Learning, 2023 WCN, and finance). In these and other roles, it has been a pleasure and honor to interact with esteemed WFN colleagues, including four presidents, trustees, and many other office bearers.

I am grateful to the WFN for providing me with opportunities to pursue its mission. For example, using WFN seed sponsorship, our Cape Town group developed an intensive, annual, 6-month, distance learning program for electroencephalography training, which has enrolled well over 1,000 neurology residents and neurologists, predominantly from lower and middle income countries during the past seven years. However, I regard working closely with the WFN and African colleagues to establish the African Academy of Neurology (AFAN) in Dakar (2017), and setting up the Cape Town WFN Regional Training Center (2019) as two particularly significant personal achievements.   

Since its inception, I have been treasurer, vice president and, most recently, president-elect of AFAN, which is now well-established and collaborates with the WFN and other international, regional, and national bodies globally to promote neurology in Africa. Among other activities, AFAN runs biennial congresses and, jointly with the WFN, virtual annual e-Learning days and advocacy programmes.

The Cape Town WFN RTC, which I head, is the only Anglophone WFN RTC in the southern hemisphere. It offers career neurology training, as well as clinical fellowships (in stroke, epilepsy, neuroinfection, neuromuscular disorders, and clinical neurophysiology) for neurologists practicing in lower and middle income countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

If elected as trustee, I will continue to work with WFN colleagues toward our organization’s goal of quality neurology for all. This will involve strengthening established collaborations with national, regional, and international organizations, including the WHO; expanding the WFN’s existing and already successful educational, e-Learning, visiting fellowship and RTC programs; and supporting new, inclusive initiatives between the global north and south to promote the WFN’s mission in Africa, South and Central America, Asia, Oceania, and all regions in the world where neurologists and neurological expertise remain scarce. •

Candidate Statement for Elected Trustee: Mohammad Wasay

I am currently Alicharan Endowed Professor of Neurology at Aga Khan University Karachi, past president of the Pakistan Society of Neurology and Pakistan Stroke Society, president of the Neurology Awareness and Research Foundation and distinguished scholar of COMSTECH (OIC). I have also served as a director of World Stroke Organization (WSO) and am currently serving as fellow of Pakistan Academy of Sciences and Secretary of the Environmental Neurology Speciality Group (ENSG) and member global policy committee for WSO. I was recently elected as fellow of the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).

Mohammad Wasay

Mohammad Wasay

I have worked with WFN for more than a decade as an active neurology advocate and researcher from South Asia. I was trained at Palatucci Forum, and then received Advocacy Leader of the Year Award by American Academy of Neurology for my global advocacy contributions. I served as chair of the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) Advocacy Committee for four years. This committee was instrumental in starting and organizing World Brain Day activities and promoting brain health across the globe. We organized many advocacy workshops and teaching courses during the Asian Oceanian Association of Neurology conferences, Asian Pacific Stroke Conference, and World Congress of Neurology.

I established a network of neurology training and research in Kenya, Tanzania, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. We established the Asian stroke network with more than 20 centers in 10 Asian countries. Currently, I am leading an initiative to establish the OIC Neurology Academy to promote neurological acre and training in developing Islamic countries. Recently, I have been appointed as chair, specialty groups committee by the WFN president. As secretary of Environmental Neurology Specialty Group (ENSRG), I have organized many educational and awareness activities related to environment and neurological diseases.

I have trained more than 50 neurologists under my supervision. I have published more than 238 papers in peer-reviewed medical journals with impressive publications metrics (IF: 676; citations=6700, H-index 39 and I10 index 95). I have received many awards, including the Teachers Recognition Award by American Academy of Neurology, Gold Medal by Pakistan Academy of Medical Sciences, Gold Medal by Pakistan Academy of Sciences and Research productivity awards by Pakistan Council of Science and Technology. I have received 29 research and training grants (intramural and extra mural) as PI and co-PI. I have been an invited speaker at more than 130 conferences in 73 countries.

The growing burden of neurological diseases in the world has established WFN as an important stakeholder in global health. WHO has recently approved an intersectoral action plan for promotion of neurological care, training, and advocacy across globe. We plan to promote brain health as a top agenda for WHO and United Nations. There is an inequity in neurology training and care across the globe. South Asia, Central Asia, and Africa should be a center point for our future interventions. As an expert in stroke from south Asia, active role in the World Federation of Neurology and World Stroke Organization, I could be a useful member of this global task force. •

Candidate Statement for Elected Trustee: Prof. Tissa Wijeratne

What an exciting time to be in the WFN. It is an incredible honor to have been nominated for the trustee position in the upcoming election this year. Brain health is in peril globally. One in three of us has a brain disorder. Every one of us will experience disability (temporary or permanent) during our lifetime. The potential for prevention is enormous. Brain disorders are the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death globally. Two-thirds of these occur in low- to middle-income countries. Different regions of high-income countries demonstrate vast disparities in awareness, education, access to care, prevention, and rehabilitation. I have seen this imbalance in care firsthand during my youth in rural Sri Lanka, followed by culturally and linguistically diverse communities representing 166 nations in Western suburbs in Melbourne, Australia.

Tissa Wijeratne

Tissa Wijeratne

I believe WFN can build on the successes of the last few decades, capitalize on IGAP, and advocate more for quality neurology and better brain health by improving local engagement and activities.

If elected, I will seek to enhance the inclusiveness and constant collaboration already at our society’s heart. We shall continue to work hard to support movers and shakers in brain health worldwide — not only neurologists, academics, and industry, but also the billions of patients and families experiencing the effects of brain disorders.

Advocacy and supporting local advocates will be a crucial component of my global vision for quality neurology and better brain health. We will continue to assist national societies, health ministers and ministries, aiming to deliver the IGAP for all neurological disorders in all regions during the next decade. Educational programs, grants, symposia, CME, traveling fellowships, accreditation, and postgraduate training programs will all be added to, enhanced or, in some cases, newly developed to help address this need globally. We are already doing a lot, but we can and will do more. Our many activities will continue to bring neurologists worldwide together, ensuring everyone’s voice is heard. Committee representation, additional scientific activities, and other advocacy campaigns shall be the tools we use to achieve this goal.

The WFN needs hard-working men and women who can dedicate themselves to improving brain health worldwide. To cohesively solve the issues facing neurologists across the globe, we can listen to, discuss, and assimilate the ideas of many. I will bring these qualities to our leadership group.

As you know, I have already represented the global neurology community in WFN activities for nearly two decades. I am ideally poised to take up the responsibilities of a trustee, as I bring experience from both sides of the world — from rural Sri Lanka to Australia and beyond.

The World Brain Day campaign has already reached out to over a billion people since its genesis in 2014. Yet, there is more ground to cover, but our goals are achievable. With our already talented team, we can work together on this critically important task now.

See more about me on my website. I am on WhatsApp at +61430048730 if you need to clarify anything with me directly. •