In 1978, at a scientific meeting organized at the University Hospital of Grenoble, Albert Leduc and Alexandre Pissas, after having made each other’s acquaintance, evoked the possible creation of a French-speaking association for the study of lymphatics.
The International Society of Lymphology (I.S.L.) had been existing for several years at that time but it organized its congresses every two years in regions often far away from Europe. Moreover, English was its exclusive working language.
These two reasons contributed to our deciding to found a European society.The working language of which should be French but open to the use of other languages such as English, Spanish or Italian if authors wanted to present their papers in their native language.
It was in 1978 that a first preparatory meeting was organized with some colleagues and friends at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
We had taken the opportunity of a passing through Europe of Isidoro Caplan to invite several colleagues who might have been interested by this initiative.
Following persons were present: Pierre Bourgeois, Isidoro Caplan, Geneviève Hidden,Albert Leduc, Pierre Lievens, Joseph Pflug, Alexandre Pissas, Sabine Godart and Serge Theys.
The by-laws had been drafted by Albert Leduc.
After having been discussed they were adopted unanimously.
The by-laws of the society, which have remained unchanged until today, are particular in so far as they distinguish between full and associate-members, the latter having the possibility to be appointed as full-members after submitting and presenting a scientific work for evaluation by full-members.
By so doing, we wished to create a scientific society which could become the birthplace of studies in the particular field of lymphology. The name of the society was suggested by Alexandre Pissas and so was born the “Groupement pour l’Etude des lymphatiques: G.E.L.”.
Sabine Godart requested not to be considered as founding member because she already was founding member of the International Society of Lymphology.
Sabine Godart nevertheless remained a faithful member of the GEL and she took part in all our scientific meetings. The head office of the GEL was located at 103 Laarbeeklaan, 1090 Brussels (Faculty of Medicine of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, department of Motor Revalidation).
Albert Leduc was elected as founding president of the GEL.
With Pierre Lievens, he organized the first scientific meeting of the GEL in Brussels in 1980.
The GEL achieved legal recognition by Royal decree on 02.12.81. The by-laws of the Groupement pour l’Etude des Lymphatiques were published in the official Belgian State Journal on 09.01.82. The GEL was officially born.
In 1982, at the general assembly which was held after the scientific meeting in Grenoble and organized by Alexandre Pissas, the name of the GEL was modified: albeit with unchanged initials, the association became “Groupement Européen de Lymphologie”.
This amendment was published in the Belgian State journal dated 21.04.83.
Albert Leduc left the presidency of the GEL and was succeded by Geneviève Hidden who hence became the second president of the group. After her higly appreciated presidency, G. Hidden left her function over to Alexandre Pissas. A. Pissas will remain chairman for several years.
In his turn, he quits the presidency of the Group after having been elected as chairman of the International Society of Lymphology.
The first editing of our Journal was in May 1990. Pierre Bourgeois holds this ponderous office up to his designation to the g.e.l. Presidency in occasion of the Congress of Malmö. In 1998 both Jean Paul Belgrado and Olivier Leduc were elected respectively treasurer and secretary.
In 2000, the general assembly decides the transfer of the headquarters to the address of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, 50 av. Fr. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Service de Kinésithérapie et Réadaptation.
In 2001 A. Pissas resined as President of G.E.L. because he was elected President of the International Society of Lymphology. Corradino Campisi succeeded Alexandre Pissas in 2001, during our congress organized in Porto by the group around our vice-president Nuno Grande.
C. Campisi accordingly became the fourth president of the GEL. It is worthy of note that C. Campisi had just quitted the presidency of the International Society of Lymphology.
It was Pierre Bourgeois’turn to take over the succession of C. Campisi during the meeting organized in Malmö by Hakan Brorson in 2003. Sandro Michelini was elected editor in chief.
The GEL members very much appreciate all the work accomplished by P. Bourgeois to make the journal successful. On the 14 th of February 2005, Professor Joseph Johann Pflug, founder member of GEL, passed away suddenly at his home in Germany.
In 2005, during our congress in Rome, a proposal is introduced to substitute E.S.L./ G.E.L., (initialization of European Society of Lymphology), at the generalassembly.
This modification is approved by vote during the meetingorganized by E. Földi in Hinterzarten in 2006.
Pierre Bourgeois left the presidency of the society and wassucceeded by Sandro Michelini.
Francesco Boccardo was elected as editor in chief of the journal.