International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand

Guidelines to Host an IFSSH Congress

Amended 15th June 2005, Göteborg, Sweden
Amended 4th June 2009, Poznan, Poland
Amended 12th August, 2021


1. The IFSSH Congress will be celebrated every three years in a member society country that is in good standing with the IFSSH including payment of their annual dues.

2. IFSSH Member Societies are divided into four geographic regions (Table 1):

  • Asia-Pacific
  • Europe and Africa
  • North America including Central America and the Caribbean
  • South America

3. Member societies of one specific geographic region will be invited to apply for hosting rights for the IFSSH Congress according to the geographic rotation system. The Congress rotation after 2025 shall be in the order of Asia-Pacific, South America, Europe and Africa, North America including Central America and the Caribbean (Table 2). This rotation will continue unless modified by the Executive Committee.

4. The society hosting the event will be selected from applications six years before at that Triennial Congress Delegates’ Council Meeting.

5. The goal of the IFSSH Congress is to provide a venue at which the hand care professionals of the world can meet and exchange information. To meet that goal the Congress must be structured to encourage participation by hand surgery professionals from as broad a socioeconomic spectrum as possible. The fiscal policies adopted by the Host Society should be consistent with best practices to assure the financial success of the Congress. Financial success being defined as the generation of sufficient revenue to offset Congress costs while providing wide access to the Congress through reduced registration fees and scholarships. While the generation of revenue beyond that needed to cover Congress costs is welcome, such revenue should not come at the expense of reduced access to the Congress.


1. Societies wishing to submit a bid to host a Triennial Congress must inform the Secretary General of their intent to submit such a bid at least six months prior to the Delegates' Council meeting at which such bids are to be considered. This deadline will be published in the Secretary-General's call for bids.

2. A list of bidding societies will be distributed to all Member Societies at least two weeks after the above deadline.

3. If there are no bids proposed from the designated geographic region societies, submissions will be invited from the next geographic region on the rotation list.

4. Societies wishing to bid to host a Triennial Congress must submit their full bid application to the Secretary General at least three months ahead of the Delegates’ Council meeting at which the selection of the host will be made. This deadline will be published in the Secretary-General’s call for bids. Late applications will not be considered. Please see the General Bid Guidelines below for a complete list of information to be included in the bid application. The same documentation should be sent by the bidding Society to each Member Society Delegate as well as to the IFSHT representative three months before the Council Meeting.

5. If no society fulfills the hosting requirements the process will be postponed until the next Council Meeting. After this second attempt the Executive Committee will decide the place of the next Congress.

6. Bidding to host a second or subsequent Triennial Congress is discouraged. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a society which has previously hosted a Triennial Congress may petition the Executive Committee to bid for a subsequent Congress. The requesting society will be allowed to bid for a subsequent Congress only if all first-time bidders agree to allow such a bid.

In implementing the above, the following guidelines must be taken into consideration:

  • The host country bid must comply with IFSSH guidelines and the bid must remain a competitive process.
  • The Executive Committee and the Delegates' Council must consider whether any particular bid is of reliable quality and whether the host country can fulfil its responsibilities.
  • The ability to conduct a combined IFSSH/IFSHT Congress is preferred but is not an absolute pre-requisite.
  • The principle of "best bid should win" remains the overriding principle of selection.
  • The final decision is that of a majority of the IFSSH Delegates' Council.


The following information should be included in the bid to host an IFSSH Congress.

1. Objectives

This should include what you aim to achieve by hosting the event, choice of location, dates and proposed alternatives. The candidates must send written confirmation of full knowledge of the IFSSH by-laws, the general and specific guidelines concerning the running of the Congress and agree to abide by these.

2. Finances

Submit a preliminary budget in US dollars which provides a breakdown of:

  • Fixed costs;
  • Variable costs;
  • Expected Congress income; and
  • Expected surplus to be shared with the IFSSH.

3. Fund Raising and Financial Support

Describe how you intend to raise funds to cover the expenses of the event. List potential sponsors from industry, private sector and/or others. Will you appeal to national, government and official authorities?

4. Organizational Structure of the Congress

Describe the format you foresee for the Congress including committees for venue, social events, publications, satellite meetings, public relations, scientific program, transport, accommodations at different levels according to the purchasing power of our membership and guests. The bid must contain the name of the Congress Chair(s); this person(s) will be the leader of the Organizing Committee and also be the main point of communication between the IFSSH and the Organizing Committee.

5. Congress Center Facilities

How many delegates would you expect to attend?
Provide details for meeting facilities, variety of rooms available, conference and lecture halls, exhibition halls, office space, office space for the Executive Committee of the IFSSH to meet and complete routine business affairs of the event.

6. Congress Services Operation

Describe the range of services you will offer to the participants, including:

  • Airport welcome and information desk;
  • Hotel welcome desk and service information;
  • Transportation information;
  • Legal advice;
  • Visa and passport assistance to all IFSSH Societies;
  • Health Services; and
  • Souvenirs.

7. Administrative Services

Explain how the following services will be provided:

  • Congress registration;
  • Travel refunds;
  • Publication handling and processing;
  • Communications between organizers, congress administrative staff and the Executive Committee of the IFSSH; and
  • On site inspection for the President and/or Secretary General at least one year prior to the Congress.

8. Logistics of the Congress

Provide information on the availability of the following:

  • Accommodations: Hotels with a wide variety of reasonable prices including inexpensive student lodgings, etc.;
  • Courtesy registration and accommodation for the IFSSH President, Secretary- General and Administrator and their spouse/significant other; and
  • Catering, commercial shops, business and security.

9. Social/Leisure Activities

Provide information on the following for registrants, guests and accompanying persons:

  • Cultural activities and events;
  • Sightseeing and excursions possibilities;
  • Recreational activities; and
  • Handcraft contests and art exhibits related to the Hand.

10. Professional Assistance

List the organizations you will contact to assist in setting up the congress, including:

  • Promotional groups for exhibitions / tour operators;
  • Professional congress organizers;
  • Advertising companies;
  • Help on customs procedures for exhibitors and registrants;
  • Marketing companies; and
  • Public relations companies for media coverage before and during the congress (national and international).

11. Supporting Contracts

List the names and details of the national agencies, societies, associations, universities and government officials you will be contacting to assist you in the organization of the congress. List the health professionals, public figures, celebrities and lay persons involved in Hand Surgery you will invite to participate in the sessions, write publications and assist with the organization of the sessions.

12. Experience

List the events that your society has previously organized including dates, attendance and budget involved.

13. Co-operation with the IFSHT

As hand therapy is an integral part of hand surgery, a detailed account should be given on how the IFSHT will be accommodated and integrated during the Congress. The IFSHT will rely heavily on an active local Hand Therapy Society, which has been affiliated to the IFSHT. The Executive of the IFSHT should submit a letter of support that their local national society will be able and willing to host an IFSHT Congress. Please refer to the detailed section below of “IFSSH/IFSHT Relationship for Combined Congresses”.


1. The organization of the Congress will be the responsibility of the local hand society that requests the congress.

2. The local hand society will elect the Organizing Committee including Chair, Secretary and members as well as representative(s) of the IFSHT.

3. The organizing team must work together and in close contact with the President and Secretary-General of the IFSSH on the general outline of the congress.

4. Once the country accepts to be the host of the Congress, the Organizing Committee Chair must send a written report to the Secretary General every six months. The report will be circulated among the Executive Committee.

5. Within the twelve (12) months prior to the Congress at least the IFSSH President and/or the Secretary General will have an on-site inspection and detailed briefing of the congress. The housing and local expenses will be paid by the local society. Travel expenses to the city are paid by the IFSSH.

6. The IFSSH President, Secretary-General and Administrator will have courtesy registration and accommodations at the Congress hotel.

7. Rooms will be provided for the IFSSH Administration and Committee Meetings, and for the Executive and Council Meetings. The meal expenses for the Executive and Council meeting will be paid by the IFSSH.

8. The congress registration fee structure may include a lower registration fee for residents and paramedical professionals (e.g. engineers, scientists).

9. Members making scientific presentations are expected to pay the congress registration fee. However, special courtesy invitations can be given to honorary members or surgeons with critical financial burden.

10. The IFSSH may provide the local Organizing Committee with up to US$20,000 to be used specifically for registration for financially disadvantaged attendees. It is the responsibility of the Host Society to administer this process and report to the IFSSH. The grant guidelines will be provided by the IFSSH to the Organizing Committee Chair.

11. The soliciting Society must understand and accept in full the general and specific Congress Guidelines in force at the time of Contract signing.


The Hosting Hand Society must be able to sign a contract accepting all financial responsibility for the Congress including possible loss. The contract must be executed and returned to the Secretary General within three (3) months of the date on which the Host Society bid was accepted by the Delegates’ Council.

The IFSSH will provide, if requested, an interest free loan between $50,000 and $100,000 US to get a congress started. This may be provided thirty days after all contracts are formalized and signed. This full amount must be returned to the IFSSH two (2) weeks prior to the commencement of the Congress.

Within ninety (90) days after the completion of the Congress, the Chair of the Organizing Committee will send a full summary and financial accounting of the event in English to the IFSSH Secretary-General. The summary will be presented at the next Delegates’ Council meeting. In the event the Congress generates revenue in excess of its costs, the Chair of the Organizing Committee will transfer 50% of excess revenue to the IFSSH within ninety (90) days of the closure of the Congress.

Not with standing what is stated below regarding the IFSHT, the hosting society is not to enter into any contracts with other hand surgery societies or regional hand surgery federations regarding the Congress without explicit authorization from and in consultation with the IFSSH. All contract related negotiations must include the IFSSH Secretary General or his/her designee(s).



The IFSSH supports the concept of Combined Triennial Congresses, but accepts that the IFSHT is an independent body which will determine whether a combined congress is feasible. Both groups are cognizant of the advantages and prefer to work together. However, the IFSSH must, by Charter, distribute the venues of triennial congresses widely throughout its constituent societies. If there is no local therapy society capable of conducting a meeting, then it may be more appropriate for the IFSHT to conduct their meeting independently. This is a matter for the IFSHT.


The IFSSH wishes to retain the integrity of the current contract between the IFSSH and the IFSSH Host Society.

Those IFSSH Societies bidding to host a congress are encouraged to include the local therapy society. If that is feasible, the local therapy society should conduct a conversation with the IFSHT before the IFSSH Society submits a bid.

If a combined congress is proposed, an agreement will be made between the IFSSH Host Society and the local therapy society which, in turn, will enter into an agreement with the IFSHT.

The IFSHT may not enter into a contract with the IFSSH Host Society which is in conflict with the IFSSH/IFSSH Host Society contract.

Notes to above

It should be noted that the IFSSH Host Society takes responsibility for the IFSSH congress organisation, with IFSSH oversight. However, the IFSSH accepts that this may not always be practical for the IFSHT component of the congress in which the IFSHT may be the responsible body.

It is understood that the IFSHT may have the need to obtain funds from the triennial congress. However, this is in conflict with IFSSH aims. Therefore, as previously agreed, an additional registration amount may be added to the IFSHT registration figure to allow for this income. This is not an amount that is consequent upon the delivery of revenue beyond that needed to cover Congress costs. It is consequent upon an additional therapist registration fee beyond that which is necessary to pay for the IFSHT component of the congress.

The current circumstances in which the IFSSH and the IFSSH Host Society sign a contract will be retained. In this instance, the IFSSH Host Society is wholly responsible for a financial loss. Any revenue generated beyond that needed to cover the Congress costs is to be divided equally between the IFSSH and the IFSSH Host Society. In particular circumstances in which a significant excess in Congress revenue is noted, the IFSSH and hosting society may, at their sole discretion, enter into discussions with the IFSHT and the host therapy society regarding the direction of these funds. However, this is not to be a part of any formal contract.

Funding for IFSHT executive and administrative members (registration fees and, where appropriate, accommodation costs) should be incorporated into the IFSHT registration fees in the same manner as these are incorporated into IFSSH registration fees.

It would be appropriate that consideration be given to a formal review of finances and scientific and social programme advantages/disadvantages of a combined congress for IFSSH and IFSHT, with an attempt to separate the costs for each group. This would provide a sound basis for future negotiations, should there be a reality or a perception of unfairness.

The IFSSH will continue to provide financial support for IFSHT educational projects through appropriate applications to the IFSSH Committee for Educational Sponsorship. Consideration can be given to increasing this support according to the availability of funds.

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