History of Agora
Agora is an umbrella platform representing patient organizations of people with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMDs) in Southern Europe. Since its inauguration in 2011, Agora has been very active in raising awareness on RMDs aiming at creating a better quality of life not only for its member organisations, but also all people with RMDs in Southern Europe.
RMDs are amongst the most common disorders people face in the recent years. In fact, recent studies from data collected in 2013 indicate that more than 120 million Europeans are affected by chronic rheumatic diseases. These conditions cause deterioration of the quality of life, psychological weariness, various degrees of disability and even premature death.
Particularly, 38% of occupational related disabilities are attributed to RMDs, which represents almost one third of disability across Europe.
Realising the importance for the existence of an organisation who connects people who share similar socio-economic problems, cultural attitudes and mentality, such as Southern European countries, three inspired members of EULAR PARE, Sandra Canadelo, Marios Kouloumas and Birgitta Blokland who represented Southern European countries during the EULAR PARE Autumn Conference in Budapest in 2008, decided to create a coalition between organizations of South Europe.
After discussions between the patient associations from Italy, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain the idea of creating a platform of organizations of people with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases in Southern Europe was put forward, following the good example set by Nordic Council. In 2011, Agora became a reality and began its work.
“Together we can”, this is our motto, our drive and our motivation! Together with our member organisations we aim to build a better present and future for all people with RMDs.
Birth of the idea
Place: 2008 Eular Pare Autumn Conference in Budapest
1. Brainstorming meeting
Core group: Portugal, Spain and Cyprus
2. All the Participants to the Meeting
Portugal, Cyprus, Italy, Malta, Greece
3. Introduction to the concept of a platform
of association of people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases in the Southern Europe
4. Individual country positions
5. Funding possibilities and legal procedures
The name of the organization shall be Agora and is hereinafter referred to as Agora. It is a non-governmental, non profit organization registered in Greece, Athens.