Requirements for Hosting the Biennial Congress of the IAP


(Adopted in 1990, Buenos Aires, amended 2012, Cape Town)


The Division shall apply in writing to the Secretary of IAP. The lead-time for presenting a proposal is 6 (six) years before the proposed event. The invitation will then be presented to the IAP International Council at the next biennial Congress.


Divisions wishing to host a congress will present to the International Council. If there is more than one contender, the order of presentation is determined by drawing lots. Each Division's presentation should last no longer than 15 minutes.

Presenting Divisions should liaise with the President of the current Congress or the IAP Coordinator of International Congresses to confirm the room layout and the availability of a suitable media presentation system.

The venue for the future Congress is determined by the International Council by secret ballot after all of the presentations have been made. If there are more than two applicants, a series of ballots occur until one of the contenders obtains an absolute majority of the Council. As laid down in the Constitution, the International Council consists of the Officers of the Academy, (President, President Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and one or more Vice Presidents, not to exceed four from any continent), the most recently retired President and the International Councilors. The Editor of International Pathology is an ex officio member of the International Council without the power to vote (Constitution, Article IV, 2).

A date for a site visit to the preferred venue will then be decided upon. Two officers of the IAP and the Coordinator of International Congresses will make a site visit and then prepare a report on the suitability of the venue. Travel and living expenses for the site visit will be covered by the hosts. Based on the site visit report, a final decision will be made.


Committees: Once the venue has been finally accepted, the first requirement is that a President of the Congress and a viable Congress Committee, capable of handling the scientific program, the finances, social events, exhibits, etc. should be elected as soon as possible.

The Executive of the IAP will appoint the International Organizing Committee for the Congress to consist of: Five IAP Officer (President, President Elect, Immediate Past President, Secretary and Treasurer), the IAP International Congresses Coordinator and up to four appointed local Congress Organizing Committee members; the President of the upcoming Congress and up to three local members including the President of the host Division.

The Local Congress organizing committee should work hand in hand with a chosen P.C.O. (Professional Congress Organizer) while maintaining contact with the IAP International Organizing committee, to plan and implement all aspects of the Congress.


  • Decide on the dates of the Congress. IAP Congresses are usually held in September or October. Check dates for National or religious holidays, or Pathology meetings which may interfere with Congress participation. Registration fees: should be based on those of the previous Congresses, plus an international inflation rate of about 2-3%
  • Have the Congress logo early on so the letterheads and stationary can be printed. The letterhead is indispensable even 5 years before the actual Congress takes place.
  • Early contact with keynote speakers and chairpersons. You may need their names to promote the Congress (with their permission, of course.)
  • Try to get outside sponsorship, by looking at lists of sponsors for previous Congresses. This eases the finances that are based solely on registration fees and commercial exhibits.
  • Establish a timetable (skeleton timetable at this early stage):
  • Block congress venue and hotels for the exact dates of the Congress
    • To allow for planning of social events and accompanying persons program
    • To allow for invitations for speakers and papers in good time
    • To plan some pre and post congress tours

The IAP biennial Congress has a five day scheduled period for scientific sessions, with other activities (i.e. get together reception before the Congress) so that if the Congress is scheduled to begin the scientific program on a Monday a.m., the program would look like this:

  • Sunday evening: Get-together reception
  • Monday, Opening ceremony, followed by sessions.
  • Tuesday: a.m. and p.m. sessions. (Evening free social event)
  • Wednesday, a.m. and p.m. sessions,
  • Thursday, a.m. and p.m. sessions (evening Congress Dinner)
  • Friday, a.m. and p.m. sessions and closing ceremony.

The scientific program of the Congress is usually very comprehensive and of high standard, with an Opening ceremony, daily plenary sessions with well-known speakers, symposia, free papers and posters, between 16-20 Slide Seminars, 16-20 short courses and 1 0r 2 long courses.(Slide Seminars, short and long courses by subscription) and a closing ceremony. During session’s breaks, tea/coffee is served.

1 or 2 long courses (Slide Seminars, short and long courses by subscription) and a closing ceremony. During session’s breaks, tea/coffee is served.


The official language of the Congress is English. Simultaneous translation is not provided.

Social Events

1) Get-together reception for all registrants, including registered accompanying persons…included in registration fees.

2) Folklore, or typical national evening for all registrants, including registered accompanying persons, included in registration fee. Other shows, concerts, etc. and the Congress Dinner are by subscription. An attractive 3 half-day tour program for registered accompanying persons should be offered.


An exhibition is held in conjunction with the Congress and should have ample booth space and opportunities for delegates to visit. It is advisable to serve coffee there during breaks. Exhibits can be a good source of income for the budget.

The Venue

  • Congress center, convention hotel or University, should include one large lecture hall seating about 2000 participants and 10 – 12 other break out rooms of varying sizes for concurrent sessions. In addition the venue should have a suitable registration area, slide preview room, microscope room with power outlets for at least 50 microscopes, secretariat office, storage facilities and a hospitality room. Also a suitable open area for poster presentations and a large open area for exhibit with sufficient power outlets.
  • In the past several different kinds of venues have been used successfully, including all three mentioned above. As long as they work they are acceptable. Appropriate hotel accommodations in various categories for about 2000 participants must be available. These hotels should, if possible be within walking distance of the Congress venue. Alternately, public transport should be available near the hotels.
  • International transportation: easy access to an International airport is a must.
  • Visas
  • There should be no restrictions on visas. Registrants from ALL divisions must be able to attend the Congress.
  • Professional Congress Organizer (P.C.O)
  • The IAP has always insisted on a suitable local P.C.O. to handle the technical and administrative parts of the Congress and who should preferably be a member of a recognized international association of congress organizers.

Printing Schedules

  • 1st announcements to be printed and mailed two years before the Congress (immediately following the previous one) and should also be distributed at Pathology meetings wherever possible, certainly at the previous Congress and at USCAP meetings.
  • 2nd announcements: including a well advance scientific program, abstract forms, registration forms, accommodation forms, to be mailed at the end of December, after Christmas, 9-10 months prior to the Congress.
  • Deadline for receipt of abstracts: May, 4-5 months before the Congress
  • Date for receipt of slide seminar blocks and case histories, February, 9 months before. Date for receiving the slide sets: May, June 4-5 months before the Congress.
  • Printing deadlines (to be settled with printer according to the above dates and depending on local conditions.
  • -1st Announcement
  • -2nd Announcement (with all necessary forms)
  • -Final Program (for Congress)…Case Histories for Seminar
  • -Long Courses, Seminars, and other handouts, Lists of Participants
  • -Presidential Message for Final Program
  • Mailing of 1st and 2nd Announcements: A mailing list of division members is now available from the Secretary of IAP. However, bulk mailing to the Division Secretaries for mailing in each country is desirable. This saves a lot of money on mailing and is especially useful for mailing large divisions.
  • Registration Desks at the Congress Venue:
  • Desks should be open from the day prior to the start of the Congress and daily for the duration thereof.
  • Promotion:
  • The secret of successful promotion is to reach the prospective participants with the message that the Congress is both topic-important as well as site attractive. Good speakers bring more participants and so may the following pointers:
  • -At least some of the topics should be new or newsworthy
  • -The Congress must allow presentation of free papers, which for some participants is a must in order for them to attend.
  • -Direct mailing
  • -Promotion at previous regional and International Congresses
  • -Publishing announcements in professional journals
  • -Getting your local Tourist Ministry to obtain promotional material, gifts, etc.
  • -The Internet - Website for the Congress


Managing the financial aspects of the Congress is one of the most difficult tasks and here the advice of the P.C.O. will be of great importance.

First Budget

The first budget is prepared so long in advance of the Congress date, that it is in fact a “theoretical” budget.

Second Budget

The second budget is prepared when you already know how much the registration fees will be, the price of the meeting rooms rental, the price per square meter for the exhibits, how much to charge for slide seminars, the price of the social events and tours and the A.V. .You still do not know, in terms of income at this stage, the number of participants, or the number of exhibitors.

Third Budget

The third budget, updating the second one, is probably the closest to the final one, around 2 months before the Congress takes place. You should have most of the registrations in (although unfortunately people register later and later). You will know the number of exhibitors, posters, the exact number of meeting rooms and the types, numbers and expenses for the social events. Sometimes, however, there is a big difference between expectation and reality and the most dangerous items are those that cannot be changed at this final stage. Therefore always prepare 2 budgets, one with the lowest projected number of registrants and one that has better potential.

Main Income

The main income of every Congress comes from three main sources:

  • Registration fees
  • Exhibits
  • Slide Seminars (after expenses)

Sometimes there are sponsors and also advertisements in the Congress program

Estimated Expenses (Fixed)

  • Printing (all Congress printed material)
  • Congress venue (meeting rooms and exhibit and poster space)
  • Mailing (including cutting, packing and mailing slide sets)
  • A.V. equipment, P.C.O. (including manpower for the Congress
  • Travel expenses for IAP President and Secretary plus hotel accommodation for same, and for the President elect, Immediate past President, Treasurer and Director of International Congresses.
  • Other travel expenses, Promotion and advertising, signs, site visit reimbursement,
  • Miscellaneous, i.e. security, banners, flowers, unforeseen expense
  • A capitation fee of 5.5% per active registrant to be included in the International Congress budget as a separate item under Congress expenditure.

Variable Expenses

  • Coffee during breaks
  • Social events (Opening Ceremony, Get-together reception, Folklore evening)
  • Tours for accompanying persons
  • Congress kits
  • Name badges, notepad and pens
  • Certificates of attendance for registered participants for IAP. Fee of $20.

Estimated Income

  • Registration fees – Participants, Residents, Trainees, Accompanying persons, Exhibits, Advertisements, Slide Seminars
  • Sponsors (if any)
  • Pre and post Congress tours should not be part of the budget. The P.C.O. should arrange these with the aid of a local travel agent or tour agency and of course with the approval of the Local Congress Organizing Committee.


There are no assurances for total success of a Congress, however the host Division must make sure not to have a budgetary deficit, and at least break even. We have never ended a Congress with a deficit.

Most of the time the Congresses are profitable over and above the built in 5.5% of registration fee capitation for the IAP.

A 50/50 split of profits between the host IAP Division and the IAP Central must be part of the final financial report by the Local Congress Organizing Committee. The Local Congress Organizing Committee must submit the final financial report to the IAP International Organizing Committee and the IAP Executive Committee for approval before any distribution of profits by the Local Congress Organizing Committee.

We trust that Divisions bidding to host one of the International Congresses of IAP will find these guidelines useful.