Our Message

21st International Balint Federation Congress in Porto

Message from the APGB President

Dear Colleagues.

The Portuguese Balint Association and the International Balint Federation warmly invites you for the 21st International Balint Congress, taking place in Porto, from 11th to 15th September 2019.

“Seeing medicine through other eyes” is our theme. Nowadays, medical knowledge is dominated by the technologic medicine that emerged from the scientific advances and the therapeutic discoveries. Fortunately, the doctor doesn’t forget the limits of his power, and converts his impotence into a strong willingness to help, an unlimited wish to relieve the suffering of his patient. And this single and exclusive human relationship, that makes the doctor a companion in the patient fate, needs to be regarded through different kind of eyes, the eyes of the Human and of the Human sciences.

The Portuguese Balint Association has great expectations of strengthening the Balint movement in Portugal by organizing this congress in the city of Porto. We believe that it will contribute to raise the awareness of the Portuguese doctors for the importance of doctor-patient relationship as an essential tool for the diagnostic and therapeutic processes.

So, we invite you to come to Porto, in 2019. Porto is an old city in the north of Portugal, with a medieval centre classified as UNESCO World Heritage, since 1996. It is the second larger city of the country, after the beautiful and magnificent Lisboa, the capital. But for its historical importance, Porto remains the heart of the country.

From the names, Porthus and Cale, the latin words that mean the harbour and the little village in the riverbank of Douro where it was located, emerges Portucale, that results in the name of the new country, Portugal, later in the 12th century.

It was in the square of its old cathedral that, in 1147, the bishop Dom Pedro Pitões exhorted the crusaders to support the Portuguese nationalists to conquer Lisboa.

It was also in this cathedral that, in 1387, King John the first, married  to Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of the 1st Duke of Lancaster and granddaughter of Edward the third of England, raising with this marriage the most ancient political alliance in the world that still exists nowadays. This marriage gave birth to an impressive generation of kings, princes and national heroes, known as the “illustrious generation”.

Near Douro river, was born his son the Infant Henry, the Navigator, and from its harbours he departed with a fleet to initiate the Portuguese maritime expansion after the 15th century.

In the 16th century, a lot of Armenian refugees came to Porto escaping from the occupation of Constantinopla. They carried with them the sacred relics of the body of Saint Pantaleon, a doctor and saint that lived and died as a Christian martyr in the 4th century. The citizens welcomed the Armenian refugees and received their saint as their own patron saint. Pantaleon is represented with such large eyes, that we feel inclined to ask him about what he saw, the doctor Pantaleon, through them. And leads us to ask ourselves what can we see through the window of our eyes.

In the 19th century, Porto resisted to the Napoleon troops and also became the bastion of liberalism, under the command of King Pedro, the fourth, which abdicated from the throne of Brazil, came back to Portugal and fought for the establishment of the new liberal regime. He donated his heart to the city of Porto, the city of his devotion and worship. The heart of Pedro of Portugal and Brazil is religiously kept by the Porto citizens, despite the king’s body is buried in Brazil, since he had been its first emperor.

In 1983, the Portuguese Balint Association was born in Porto, so this event will be also a tribute to this wonderful city.

Despite of the development and birth of modern areas and infrastructures, as bridges, modern architecture, concert halls, theatres, stadiums, gardens, and an efficient airport, Porto will forever have a strong medieval character. A magical historical city, the heart of King Pedro and the heart of Portugal.

Eugénio de Andrade, a poet of Porto, wrote:

They say that there are other skies and other moons
And other eyes fulfilled of happiness
But I am from these houses, these streets,
From this love exuding melancholy.

Dear colleagues of the international Balint movement, we are very proud and very happy to invite you to visit this magical city, in September 2019, for the 21st International Balint Congress.

Welcome to Porto!

Welcome to the 21st International Balint Congress!

Manuel M Sousa, MD
(The president of the directive board of APGB)