New President Prof. Ihsane Ben Yahya shares her vision for FDI World Dental Federation
Professor Ihsane Ben Yahya of Morocco started her two-year term (2021–2023) as President of FDI on 29 September, during the special virtual edition of the ADA FDI World Dental Congress. She shared her vision and hopes for FDI after the traditional handover of the presidential chain ceremony, where she was officially sworn in.
Distinguished attendees, dear friends and colleagues, I am truly honoured to take over the FDI Presidency today. Thank you, dear Gerhard, for your leadership over the past two years, it was an honour to work at your side.
I promise to be a strong ambassador for FDI, and although I may be the first African President, I am committed to serving all our members globally, and working with you to reduce inequalities in oral health so that the most marginalized populations will not be left behind. Every person has the right to good oral health and to live a full, happy, and healthy life. Together, by joining forces and as uplifting federators, we can make that happen.
I cannot be successful in my presidential role, without the support and trust of a strong team behind me – I see the impact of teamwork every day in my professional life as Head of Hospital and as Dean of the Dental Faculty at my University in Morocco – and since day one of my involvement with FDI.
I am devoted to this team of members, council, committees, task teams and working groups and of course the FDI head office team at FDI’s headquarters.
I will work with you to deliver on FDI’s three strategic pillars:
- Membership: you are our greatest asset. We strengthen our work, at every level, when we have access to your experience and knowledge. I look forward to learning from you and making sure your interests and challenges are addressed at the global level.
- Advocacy: I am so fortunate to start my FDI presidency at a time when there are some very exciting developments on the global health and development agenda. Thanks to the adoption of a landmark resolution on Oral health by WHO’s World Health Assembly, in May, this year, we have a real opportunity to hold governments accountable and ensure oral health is integrated into the noncommunicable disease and universal health coverage responses. Our Vision 2030 – Delivering Optimal Oral Health for All report, is a key tool to make this happen. It is up to all of us to ensure the resolution becomes a game changer for the lives of the populations we serve.
- Knowledge transfer: as an educator myself, I would like to remind you of the words of FDI founder, Dr Charles Godon, who over 120-years ago said, that he ‘viewed education as the crux of helping to achieve better oral health for all.’
This is a sentiment I share deeply, and why I believe continuing education opportunities such as the World Dental Congress, our continuing education courses, all the wonderful education and public health projects we run – most of which are supported by our loyal corporate partners – are so important. And, of course, our World Oral Health Day campaign is a great opportunity to improve oral health literacy, globally. I encourage you to celebrate with us on 20 March.
I end, by highlighting where it all starts, with our younger generation, I am passionate about reinforcing the importance of oral health education. Our children should learn about their oral health and be sensitive to its impact on their quality of life so they can live happy, pain-free, and confident lives into their older years.
Let’s empower our children, by giving them the tools, to make this world a better place for themselves.
Dear colleagues and friends, it’s a privilege and an honour to be at your service, but it’s also a heavy responsibility that I promise to assume with all the ethics, values, and integrity that is due.
I look forward to working with you and thank you again for the trust you have placed in me and to handover the torch to Africa.
I will not let you down.