The 2nd Macedonian Congress of Pathology with International Participation was held at the Metropol Hotel, near by the beautiful, UNESCO protected city of Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia, between September 1st and 4th, 2016. The Congress was organised by the Macedonian Association of Pathology and took place in the Metropol Hotel which is a part of the Metropol Lake Resort, including also the Bellevue and the Tourist hotel, located between the shore of Lake Ohrid and the green forests of the Galicica National park, boasting amazing views of the lake and the mountains. It was, in fact, a perfect location of the congress offering well-equipped conference centre that was classified in addition to scientific contents and the organisation of the congress as very good or excellent by the large majority of the participants.

The Congress was attended by 189 registered delegates, including with 35 invited speakers. Besides 54 members of the Macedonian Society of Pathology, many other colleagues from Republic of Macedonia, as well as 93 participants from many other parts of the world: South-Eastern European countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, other European countries - Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom, as well as Azerbaijan and United States of America were present. In addition, there were 16 accompanying persons and 16 other participants leading to a total number of 221 participants.

The scientific program of the Congress was designated to provide a thorough overview and update on “hot topics” in different fields of our speciality, focusing mainly on Genitourinary, Gastrointestinal, Gynaecological Pathology, Cytopathology and Other Topics. The scientific activities encompassed 5 Symposia on genitourinary, gastrointestinal, gynaecological pathology, cytopathology and other topics comprising 19 lectures and 4 Slide Seminars on genitourinary, gastrointestinal, gynaecological pathology, and cytopathology. Three distinguished emeritus professors of pathology offered their remarkable experience with their three Keynote Lectures entitled: “Molecular pathology of colorectal cancer” (Niki J. Agnantis, Ioannina University, Greece), “The dynamic evolution of pathology” (Hans Konrad Müller-Hermelink, University of Wuerzburg, Germany), “Evolving classification of human tumors: a WHO perspective” (Fred T. Bosman, University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland). In addition, there were one pre-congress and 3 congress Industrial Symposia organised by commercial companies.

One hundred and twelve (112) abstracts were submitted (47% increase compared to our previous congress in 2011). Of the 112 submissions, 15 were accepted for oral presentation (5 sessions), 82 for poster presentation (6 sessions), and 11 as case presentations which were a part of the slide seminars of Genitourinary and Breast Pathology. Six of presenting authors of these selected cases who applied for the bursaries were awarded by the Macedonian Association of Pathology for the cases (3) which were presented at the Slide Seminar of Genitourinary Pathology, and by the Macedonian Association of Pathology in cooperation with the European Society of Pathology Working Group of Breast Pathology under the auspices of the European Society of Pathology for the cases (3) which were presented at the Slide Seminar of Breast Pathology as a part of ESP Workshop. The chairpersons of the poster sessions did a very good job regarding the on-site discussion of the posters. The three best poster presentations were acknowledged by giving the contributors Diplomas of Recognition and special awards at the Closing Ceremony.

As a part of the Congress programme the one day European School of Pathology Workshop entitled “Breast pathology in 21st century” organised by the Breast Pathology Working Group of the European Society of Pathology under the auspices of the European Society of Pathology was held on September 3, 2011. The Workshop was attended by 165 participants, 81 form R. Macedonia and 84 from 24 other countries from Europe, North America and Asia. The workshop faculty comprised three distinguished speakers and experts in the field of Breast Pathology: Prof. Tibor Tot, Prof. Vincenzo Eusebi, and Prof. Anna Sapino who offered up-to-date information on general morphology of breast lesions with focus on radiological- pathological correlation, invasive and in situ carcinoma of the breast, and predictive parameters of breast cancer and their proper assessment. During the slide seminar, 12 representative cases of breast lesions were demonstrated, six of them presented by the faculty and 6 selected from the cases submitted by the attendees of the congress. Both malignant and benign cases were included with a focus on differential diagnostic clues, immunohistochemistry, and selected molecular genetic tools.

Both the 2nd Macedonian Congress of Pathology and the ESP Workshop have been granted accreditation from the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. Proceedings of the congress included contributions from symposia to slide seminars, Breast pathology workshop, as well as abstracts. The website includes the congress documents, the Final Programme and the Proceedings and Abstracts, as well as all other information.

The feedback from the participants was excellent. Most of the participants during the event and later, in person and by e-mail, commented positively on speakers as well as the usefulness, educational value, and high quality of the program. Some participants also stated that they have benefitted a lot by their attendance at the event. The extraordinary organisation of the event has also been praised by many participants in many occasions, as well as in the evaluation form`s comment boxes. The event has been graded with an average grade 4.82 (out of 5).

The social activities included the Opening Ceremony at Labino Hall of hotel Metropol which culminated with the interesting film about pathology prepared by the residents in pathology – members of the Macedonian Association of Pathology. It was followed by a Welcome Reception Cocktail at the terrace of the Hotel Bellevue on September 1 enriched by the performance of Kalevala Band, acoustic music quartet playing ethno, classic and modern jazz music. On Saturday, September 3 there was a piano concert in St. Sofia Church, one of the most impressive medieval buildings in Ohrid with frescoes from the 11th, 12th and 13th century, well known for its wonderful acoustics, with our internationally acknowledged pianist, maestro Simon Trpceski. His inspired and virtuous performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's symphonic suite Scheherazade was one of the highlights of the Congress. All participants and the faculty members enjoyed enormously the Congress Dinner with Macedonian cuisine, and music in the hotel Bellevue on Sunday, September 4.

The quality of the scientific sessions and the good facilities of the congress venue, as well as Ohrid, a city with an extraordinary beauty of nature, archaeological treasures, 365 churches, traditional architecture and delicious food enabled to create a very stimulating environment to exchange knowledge and experience, thus fulfilling our intent proclaimed in the motto of the Congress to bring together in one location expert pathologists and cytopathologists coming from every part of Europe and beyond, scholars, and numerous colleagues to SHARE AND EXCHANGE THE KNOWLEDGE and the latest achievements of research and practice in different fields of Pathology. Therefore we believe that the 2nd Macedonian Congress of Pathology gave all the participants the opportunity to spend days of intense and constructive work with the possibility to establish new scientific collaboration and new friendly interaction with colleagues from the neighbouring countries, as well as other European countries and countries all around the world.

Finally, the Macedonian Association of Pathology and the Organizing committee are indebted and grateful to many colleagues, who co-operated with us to construct the programme, as well as to all invited lecturers and all Congress participants. We are also grateful to the members of the ESP Breast Pathology Working Group especially the workshop faculty for organising the ESP Workshop. At this point, on the behalf of the Organizing Committee, I would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the European Society of Pathology in organising the European School of Pathology Workshop “Breast pathology in 21st century”. We also extend our gratitude to all the institutions which have officially supported us, to our official congress organizer, as well as the commercial companies who sponsored this event, our Gold sponsor, Roche Macedonia DOOEL, official representative Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, our silver sponsor Adriamed Ltd. official representative and distributor of Roche Diagnostics, and all other sponsors and exhibitors.

Prof. Neli Basheska

President of the Organising Committee of the 2nd Macedonian Congress of Pathology with International Participation