Dear Community colleagues,
With the deepest disappointment and regret I have to inform you that as a result of the continued spread and impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) across the world, Cochrane’s 27th Colloquium in Toronto, Canada, between 4th-7th October this year has been cancelled.
Cochrane’s Governing Board has concluded, with the agreement of Cochrane Canada, that the most appropriate decision is to cancel the Toronto Colloquium in its entirety for 2020 and hold it instead in the Canadian Fall of 2022 following Global Evidence Summit 2 taking the place of our annual Colloquium in Prague in 2021. We are looking at availability options at the same conference venue, the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto, and we hope to secure dates within the coming weeks.
In addition, the Board also concluded that there should be no ‘virtual’ Colloquium or hybrid programme this year. Given the extraordinary circumstances we are all living through, the uncertainties around how the pandemic will develop and its ongoing impact, and the continuing pressures imposed on all Cochrane’s Groups and its Central Executive Team in working on our COVID-19 response as well as critical ‘Business as Usual’ activities, the Board decided that trying to plan any kind of event in the coming months would put unnecessary pressure on the organization.
However, we will edit and publish the accepted abstracts submitted for this year’s Colloquium in the Cochrane Library. The Colloquium organizers received 639 abstracts and the relevant committees will continue to review and respond to those submissions in the next few weeks. As a Central Executive Team, we will also provide you with opportunities for imaginative ideas on how parts of our community could easily organize ‘social events’ and how continued learning initiatives could be implemented to help bind us together, given that by October 2020 many members and supporters will not have met together for two years.
This is extremely disappointing news for all of us, but particularly for the Cochrane Canada organizers, the members of all of the Colloquium-related committees and many others who have been working so hard on the Colloquium preparations. The Board and the Senior Management Team would like to recognize the extraordinary efforts of Holger Schünemann and the rest of the Cochrane Canada team; and we are sure we will be able to build successfully on the work accomplished so far to ensure that the Toronto Colloquium in 2022 will be everything we anticipated it would be later this year: a world-class scientific event and a memorable gathering of the Cochrane community in one of the world’s most vibrant, multi-cultural cities.
Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to Cochrane and its work; and I hope that all of you remain safe and well during these extraordinary times.
With my warmest best wishes,
Mark G. Wilson
Chief Executive Officer