2006/2007: Biological Warfare

In 2006 the first edition of the CONGres conference took place. In this edition the theme was ‘Biological Warfare’.

The first CONGres committee was formed in 2006 by Jasper Winkel, who became chairman of the first committee. Other committee members were: Brankele Frank and Anne Koeleman as treasurers, Marlies Oostland as secretary and Marle de Jonge, Sam Molenaar and Gerbrand Spaans as regular committee members. They, as the first CONGres committee, were faced with the daunting task of discovering all the aspects of organising a symposium.

The first CONGres was held on December 13, 2006 on the topic of Biological Warfare. Dr. Kees de Groot, educational director of the undergraduate school of the Earth and Life sciences, was host for the day.

The first lecture was given by Ir. Inez Rijnhart and was about the policy held by the government on biological warfare. The next speaker was Roel Coutinho, who spoke about smallpox and its potential as a biological weapon. Coutinho has been in the press due lately due to swine flu, as he is director of infection control at the RIVM. Dr. Irene Kuiper gave a talk about the forensic aspect of biological warfare, after which Prof. Dr. Jaap van Dissel held a lecture on anthrax as a biological weapon.

Prof. Braeckman talked about the ethical aspect of (biological) warfare, such as justification of war and the possibility of a world without war. Prof. van Hooff held a lecture on war amongst primates. These lectures, along with the talk held by Coutinho, were true highlights of the day.

The first CONGres, held in the Kriterion, drew 120 visitors. These were mainly students from CONGO, who seemed very enthusiastic and made the day a success.

Summary of speakers and their topics:

Ir. Inez Rijnhart Biological Warfare Policy of the government

Prof. dr. Roel Coutinho Smallpox as a biological weapon

Dr. Irene Kuiper Forensic aspects of biological warfare

Prof. dr. Jaap van Dissel Anthrax as a biological weapon

Prof. dr. Johan Braeckman Ethical aspects of (biological) warfare

Prof. dr. Jan van Hooff War amongst primates