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August 3 2012
The College of Optometrists is developing its international relations with a new director of international affairs, María Arce-Moreira de Haagsma.
Maria will be responsible for the two UK-based charities for which the College provides the secretariat; the World Council of Optometry (WCO) and the European Academy of Optometry and Optics.
In the European Academy, Maria’s will strengthen and develop the organisation’s growing European network of eye and vision care professionals. At the WCO, she will raise awareness of the need for adequate eye and vision care globally, and assist optometric organisations around the world in lobbying their governments to have the profession recognised and standardised.
Maria will also oversee the planning and organisation of Malaga 2013, an international optometric event that will incorporate the European Academy’s annual conference and WCO’s general delegates’ meeting.
Maria’s new post will also be used to strengthen the College’s role in engaging with the debate about international standards of education, research and practice. The College has over 580 international members from 56 different countries, and this role will ensure overseas members are supported, and the College network continues to develop.
Announcing the appointment, Bryony Pawinska, College of Optometrists chief executive, said: “Maria brings a wealth of international expertise and experience to this new and exciting role for the College. I look forward to working with her as we develop WCO and the European Academy, and build on the College’s international membership, reputation and research networks.”
Maria commented: “I am delighted to be joining the College of Optometrists at this exciting time. After working passionately in international development during my entire career, I welcome the opportunity to transfer my experiences on global networking, influencing policy and coalition building to the College, European Academy and WCO.
“I look forward to working closely with the College team to strengthen the role of optometry around the world and to support the future achievements of each of these organisations."