This time last month, the World Naturopathic Federation’s General Assembly was held in Geneva, with 42 WNF members attending, spanning 14 countries and 4 WHO regions. I was honoured to attend on behalf of the NHAA, representing Australia as a full organisational WNF member, alongside Tobey-Ann Pinder, who currently serves as WNF Executive and President. The other Australian representatives included Prof Jon Wardle (SCU/NCNM), Assoc Prof Amie Steel (ARONAH), Dr Hope Foley (ARCCIM), Catherine Smith and Natalie Cook (both from Torrens) and Dr Joanna Harnett (ARONAH).
It was clear that the Australian naturopathic and herbal professions enjoy a high reputation in the international field, and we are strongly acknowledged for our experience, knowledge, and engagement. In the words of one attendee, Australian naturopaths and herbalists are ‘fun but also accomplished’, and I think I’d have to agree!
Spanning over three very full days, the assembly was remarkably productive:
Day 1 included an informative overview of global naturopathic education from Prof Jon Wardle that highlighted the varying educational frameworks throughout the world and the important WNF goal to support the highest standards allowed and available in each country. This enlightening presentation led to significant connections being made between established naturopathic organisations and schools, The first day also included a strategic planning workshop, led by Tobey, establishing the pillars of Membership, Building Research Capacity and WHO Collaboration and Education, which the WNF will be working towards over the coming year.
Day 2 was a devoted research day, and was attended by Dr Pradeep Dua from the Traditional, Complementary and Integrative department of the WHO. Dr Dua emphasised the WHO’s support in updating the Benchmarks in Naturopathic Training and Practice, and that the WNF is a valuable resource for the WHO with respect to Naturopathy and Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine (TCIM). WNF CEO Dr Iva Lloyd and Canada’s Dr Kieran Cooley presented an update on naturopathic research which impressed Dr Dua, who expressed his interest in working towards collaboration with WNF/Naturopathy and emphasised that the WHO has a lot of support for Traditional Medicine, including Naturopathy.
The second day also included a workshop led by Assoc Prof Amie Steel that encouraged each of the WNF members to consider how to build research capacity in our own countries, how the bridges between clinicians and researchers can be made, and how evidence informed Naturopathy and Western herbal medicine can thrive together.
Day 3 concluded the General Assembly, with fantastic discussion and engagement in the annual general meeting (AGM) of the WNF. Highlights from the meeting included:
- An overview of the 2022 WNF Annual Report (provided by WNF President, Tobey-Ann Pinder), and an overview of the previous yearly financials (provided by WNF Treasurer, Stephen Farrugia). All WNF Committee chairs also provided an update on the current projects and initiatives for their committee. Dr. Moira Fitzpatrick provided an update on the Environmental Committee and highlighted the need to have additional volunteers to assist with this important initiative. If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- The decision was made to keep the WNF membership fees the same for the upcoming year.
- Confirmation that the 2025 WNF General Assembly and AGM will be held in Brazil.
- All Bylaw amendments were passed, the main impact being the renaming of Non-Profit Sponsors to Non-Profit Partnerships and the transition of Associate Members to Non-Profit Partnerships.
- Dr Iva Lloyd was presented with the WNF Founder’s Award. For the last 9 years, Iva has been instrumental in building the Federation in her role as President, stepping down earlier this year. We wish to congratulate Iva on this award and recognition, which is well deserved!
In summary, it was a joy, pleasure, and honour to attend this event on behalf of the NHAA. It has left me feeling refreshed, renewed, and inspired by our wonderful profession, and the work of the WNF to uphold the good practice and high standards at an international level. Special mention must be given to Tobey-Ann Pinder, who did a spectacular job in holding the fort for three very intense and dynamic days.
WNF President Dr Tobey-Ann Pinder, WHO’s Dr Pradeep Dua and WNF CEO Dr Iva Lloyd
Dr Tobey-Ann Pinder prepares to open the General Assembly
The Australian representatives at the WNF General Assembly. Pictured L to R: Prof Jon Wardle, Catherine Smith, Natalie Cook, Dr Tobey-Ann Pinder, Dr Joanna Harnett, Assoc Prof Amie Steel, Dr Hope Foley and our very own Hannah Boyd
Hannah and Tobey together with Anne Gimalic and Julien Henzelin from NAVI, the Swiss hosts of the General Assembly
A busy afternoon workshop, including group discussions on how to promote research and education, and how WNF members can be involved