During the week of October 10-16, the famed Olympic Park in Seoul, Korea was host to an estimated 7-10,000 participants from 91 countries gathered for the 1999 “International Conference of NGOs.”
For the first time in history, the chiropractic profession — represented by the World Chiropractic Alliance (WCA) — was given the opportunity to present an educational session on “The Role of Chiropractic Care in Global Wellness.”
The WCA was named an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) in December 1998 and was the only organization to represent the profession at the annual gathering of NGOs.
Making the presentation at the NGO conference was William Ralph Boone, Ph.D., D.C., WCA director of research & education, accompanied by WCA member Graham Dobson, D.C., of Australia.
The overall theme of “the role of NGOs in the 21st century,” was echoed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his message to the conference when he said: “We need partnerships that allow us to combine our resources, whether in devising grand global strategies or working in the smallest villages and townships.”
Scheduled as part of the conference’s “Public Health, Reproductive and Mental Health” thematic segment, the WCA presentation provided basic information on chiropractic care and its growing role in health care worldwide.
“It was a wonderful adventure to meet informally with many of the NGO representatives and discuss the role of the WCA in promoting the benefits of subluxation correction globally,” Dr. Boone stated. “The people of many of the countries represented have limited access to health care of any type, so chiropractic ‘hands on’ care had a great appeal for them.”
While it was Boone’s first trip to Korea, for Dr. Dobson it was a return journey. He had previously been to the country as chiropractor and assistant manager for the New Zealand Canoeing Team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
The trip to the conference brought back pleasant memories for Dobson of his team’s Gold, Silver and Bronze medal-winning performances. Yet, this time the trip’s emphasis was on spreading the chiropractic message to as many national representatives as possible.
“I found that all officials of the U.N., CONGO, and ECOSOC with whom I met were open and receptive to the work of the WCA,” Boone explained, “and very pleased that it had achieved DPI status. While many had no previous knowledge of chiropractic, they seemed captivated by its difference from the medical model.”
The session itself was met with eagerness and interest by attendees, and Dobson had no trouble finding volunteers for his demonstrations.
“There are so many people in need of chiropractic care around the world,” said Boone. “I was constantly impressed at how easily people received information when I talked about the health benefits of chiropractic care and subluxation correction.”
At the close of the conference, Boone and Dobson realized the experience had taught them a great deal as well.
“I learned much more about the plights of many people globally, and the dedication of the NGOs to inform the world of their needs,” Boone explained. They also received the gift of renewed passion for their chosen profession.
“I couldn’t help but realize how important it is to provide subluxation-correction through chiropractic care to the world,” Boone commented after the conference. “I hope more chiropractors will work through the WCA to find avenues to accomplish this task.”
In addition to providing an opportunity to present the history-making session, the NGO Conference allowed Boone and the WCA to establish important contacts with other NGO leaders.
“The contacts I made have already begun to bear fruit,” stated Boone. “I have been invited to a large conference in India to speak again on the role of chiropractic care in global health. I envision many more opportunities arising from the NGO Conference, and I congratulate Dr. Rondberg for his untiring efforts to launch the WCA into the world spotlight as an NGO with DPI status.”