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Services to International Neurology Award

Professor Johan Arild Aarli 

It gives me great pleasure to read this citation for Johan, one of those names Neurologists everywhere recognize and admire. He graduated from Bergen in 1961, where he also did his training in Neurology and basic training in immunology. He obtained his specialist in Neurology status in 1970, defended his doctoral thesis in 1972 (Muscle antibodies in myasthenia gravis) and was appointed professor in 1977.

His work in Norway was so distinguished that in 1996, he was knighted by King Harald V to Knight, First Class, of Saint Olav’s Order. He then became dean of the faculty of medicine at Bergen, chairman of the Norwegian Association of Neurology, Chair of the Teaching Committee of the EFNS 1997- 2002 and EFNS Secretary-General 2003-05. In 1991, he was Norwegian delegate to WFN, moving on to Vice President, and was elected WFN President in 2006.

Having had the honour to work with him, he had the extraordinary ability to calmly drive the WFN to many new areas and initiatives. He developed the collaboration between WFN and WHO which started with the Publication of the Neurology Atlas in 2004 and Neurological Disorders Public health Challenges, the collaboration continues today. He saw the need to develop improved delivery and increased rural distribution of neurological health, “The Africa Initiative” and is considered by our African colleagues as the father of the WFN Africa initiative.

He was instrumental in bringing The People’s Republic of China into the WFN.

As if all this is not enough, Johan has written the History of the WFN, The first 50 years, published by OUP and will be available later this year.

Ladies and Gentlemen, WFN members: it is my pleasure to present a most deserved WFN Medallist. Johan Aarli.


Citation by Dr Raad Shakir, September 2013 on presenting an award for services to international neurology at the WCN2013, Vienna.



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