Discover the ISN’s work of advancing kidney health worldwide over the last six decades through this 60th anniversary commemorative timeline.


First Congress: Geneva

First Congress: Geneva

The International Society of Nephrology (ISN) is founded and a new international community formed at the first congress of its kind.

Jean Hamburger is elected as the first president.

400 delegates attend.

The groundwork is laid for a new scientific journal “Nephron”.

The written constitution for the new Society is created.

Jean Hamburger purchases a model of a sailing ship with “nephrology” written on its sails in several languages as a symbol of international commitment. The tradition is to ship the boat to the venue of every subsequent ICN.


Second International Congress: Prague

899 delegates from 41 countries attended this five-day event held behind the “Iron Curtain”. 520 abstracts are submitted.

The Society’s constitution is reviewed and approved and a house of delegates is created for governance.

Claus Brun is elected President.

The first Journal belonging to the Society, Nephron, is published in 1964 and is hoped to serve as a communication link “between nephrologists in all countries”.

George E. Schreiner and Gabriel Richet serve as Co-Editors in Chief.


Third International Congress: Washington

Third International Congress: Washington

2755 delegates from 54 countries attended the first of the large congresses.

624 abstracts are submitted.

John P. Merrill is elected President, the first president from the US.

John P. Merrill sets the promotion of ISN and its Journal in North America as his first presidential objective.

Dues and subscriptions are set at 10$.

The circulation of Nephron continues to grow, providing a prominent voice for European nephrologists.


Fourth International Congress: Stockholm

Fourth International Congress: Stockholm

1900 registrants from 42 countries attend the conference where 500 abstracts are collected, published, and distributed. President Merrill reminds delegates that ISN’s purpose is “to advance the science of nephrology and to foster dissemination of this knowledge through International Congresses of Nephrology and by other means”.

Hugh de Wardener is elected President.


There is a gradual move toward open membership and to the creation of programs.


Kidney International replaces Nephron. Roscoe Robinson becomes Editor.


Fifth International Congress: Mexico

Fifth International Congress: Mexico

2650 delegates from 57 countries attend this congress where 1040 abstracts are submitted. The international flavor of the Society is highlighted by carefully selecting speakers worldwide to focus on one central theme: the nature of recent advances in the broad field of nephrology.

The growing success of KI, having 4149 subscriptions by the end of 1975, ensures sufficient finance for program implementation.

Travel Grants are awarded to young investigators.

The Society now has 2482 members.


Sixth international Congress: Florence

Sixth international Congress: Florence

An early registration fee was proposed to delegates for the Congress organized by the Italian Society of Nephrology under ISN sponsorship. 2753 delegates attend and 1054 abstracts are submitted. The meeting is organized around a single plenary session: “Advances in Nephrology”.

Nils Alwall is elected as the new President.

The final draft of a revised constitution is approved and published in KI.

ISN secures tax-exempt status in the US.

KI subscriptions increase to 4996 by the end of 1977.


Seventh international Congress: Montreal

Seventh international Congress: Montreal

The proceedings of the Congress are published in advance for distribution to all participants. 1748 abstracts are submitted.

George E. Schreiner is elected president.

“Nephrology Forum”, a new feature in KI dedicated to a sophisticated clinical discussion of a specific patient or topic, is announced and soon becomes increasingly popular.

An official ISN advisory Committee is appointed to work alongside the local organizing committee for the next congress.


Eighth International Congress: Athens

Eighth International Congress: Athens

Held in conjunction with the Hellenic Society of Nephrology, 3081 people attend in total, and 1748 abstracts are submitted.

Gabriel Richet is elected president.

Volumes of Proceedings, published for the Congress, are distributed to medical school libraries in low-income countries.

An initiative to establish ISN-sponsored postgraduate continuing education courses in developing countries over the course of 1981 and 1982 is launched, providing publications of symposia, continuing education courses in low-income countries, and travelling fellowships to Congresses.

Travel grants are awarded to 120 young investigators to attend the 1984 Los Angeles Congress.

Two years of Society membership, including KI subscription, for the price of one is offered to young nephrologists to facilitate their membership.

An international Fellowship Program is proposed.

A commitment to facilitate and encourage nephrology in low-income countries is made for the years 1981-84.

Continuing Education Programs take place in Tunisia in 1982 and Peru in 1983.

ISN sponsorship of four regional conferences is approved for 1978-1981.

A new and favorable contract is concluded with the publishers of KI whose circulation increases to 7020 at the end of 1983.


Ninth International Congress: Los Angeles

Ninth International Congress: Los Angeles

2771 delegates attend and 1830 abstracts are submitted.

Discussions take place concerning arrangements for a new educational program, “Forefronts in Nephrology”: conferences designed to accommodate an international mix of active investigators to expose research to other scientific domains.

The design of a new international Fellowship Program for candidates from low-income countries is approved.

An ISN archive is established.

Donald W. Seldin is elected President.

A number of new programs are launched and existing ones are stabilized or expanded.

Thomas E. Andreoli becomes Editor of Kidney International.

The first Forefronts in Nephrology Conference is held.

Scientific commissions in specialist areas of study are established.

The Visiting Senior Scholar Program is devised to encourage established nephrologists to spend time in a low-income country.

ISN sponsored continuing education courses take place in Cairo, Egypt; Rabat, Morocco, and in Nairobi, Kenya.

The travel grant eligibility age is increased to 40.


Tenth International Congress: UK

Tenth International Congress: UK

3153 delegates from 74 countries are represented and 2601 abstracts submitted.

The Jean Hamburger Award and the A.N. Richards Award are presented for the first time.

KI has become the world’s premier Journal in Nephrology.

The decision is made to alternate the office of president between Europe and America to ensure internationality.

Klaus Thurau is elected as President.

Expansion of educational programs.

Continuing education courses take place in Nanjing in 1988; Sao Paulo in 1988; and Caracas in 1989.


1989 The first meeting is held to establish a commission on Acute Renal Failure which will include the formation of a disaster relief task.

Twenty-seven Fellowships are awarded over the decade.


1990 Seven Fellowships are awarded.
Eleventh International Congress: Tokyo

Eleventh International Congress: Tokyo

The first Congress to take place in Asia hosts 3559 delegates and 2136 abstracts are submitted.

A record number of satellite conferences are held. 125 travel grants are awarded and the Forefronts Conferences increases its budget to accommodate the travel of young investigators.

Roscoe R. Robinson is elected as President.


The content and format of Congresses is revised to consist of an in-depth study of five themes or topics.

Congresses become biennial instead of triennial.

Blackwell becomes the publisher of KI.

The first discussions take place concerning partner centers leading eventually to the Sister Renal Centers Program (SRC).

ISN has 7000 memberships from 91 countries.

The first Banff Conference on Allograft Pathology takes place.


An honorary lecture named after Donald Seldin is established.
Twelfth International Congress: Jerusalem

Twelfth International Congress: Jerusalem

3126 delegates attend and 2000 abstracts are submitted. Selected highlights are published for delegates instead of Proceedings.

A proposal is made to strengthen ties with India.

A Commission is proposed on the Global Advance of Nephrology in low-income countries, which becomes known as COMGAN.

Stewart Cameron is elected President.


ISN sponsored continuing education course takes place in Chandigarh, India.


The commission of acute renal failure holds a Congress on disaster and emergency medicine.

Three Forefronts Conferences take place.

The Fellowship Program adapts to increase the age of eligibility to 40, shorter terms become possible, and the program expands to include PhD candidates and technicians.

Thirteenth International Congress: Madrid

5146 delegates attend from 71 countries and 2165 abstracts are submitted. A course syllabus is distributed to those who had attended the CME course. A CD-ROM of the program is distributed to all registrants.

The first Continuing Education Program takes place. ISN fellowship awards of no more than 3-6 months’ duration are granted for the first time.

122 applications to obtain travel grants to attend the following Congress in Madrid are received.

Collective membership is proposed.

It is decided to send at least 250 CD-ROMS of “Nephrology Update” to low-income countries.

Encouragement is made to develop sister partnerships between nephrology centers in low and high-income countries.

Robert W. Schrier is appointed President.

A joint membership program is launched for low-income countries where 2-10 members have individual ISN membership and a shared copy of KI.

113 copies of Rennke’s comprehensive set of 35 mm slides for instruction in the histopathology of kidney diseases are shipped to low-income countries.

The budget for the COMGAN is increased.

An increasing number of interviews are conducted with senior members of the international nephrology community for the Video Legacy Program.

Working partnerships between low and high-income centers is discussed extensively for the first time. An attempt is made to create an inventory of renal centers worldwide to identify and facilitate potential partnerships.

Postgraduate courses take place in Shanghai and Beijing; Summer schools are held in Kaunas and Budapest; postgraduate courses are held in Moscow, St Petersburg, and the Baltic countries.

A proposal is made to launch an ISN homepage on the Internet to provide information and a platform for a nephrology discussion group.

KI produces the Journal as a CD-ROM.


A Japanese sponsorship of an ISN-selected Chinese fellow for study in Japan is announced.

Of the 67 ISN Fellows who complete training before 1996, 42 return to their home countries.

17 active partnerships are established in the Sister Renal Centers Program, a further 16 are in a formative stage.

ISN membership rises to 8125, the highest ever. 1419 of this number are joint memberships.

Saulo Klahr becomes Editor of Kidney International.

A Continuing Education Course is held in Nairobi.


The Fourth Banff Conference on Allograft Pathology is held.

A working group on medical ethics is established.
Fourteenth International Congress: Sydney

Fourteenth International Congress: Sydney

4500 attend from 97 countries.

The first lecture takes place in honor of Claude Amiel who had served the Society and its journal continuously from 1971 until his death in 1996.

An International Training Course that takes place just prior to the Congress from May 22-23. 60 individuals spend a week in either an Australian or New Zealand Renal Unit preceeding the course.

Six satellite conferences held throughout Australia, one takes place at Ayers Rock and examines kidney disease in the indigenous native population.

COMGAN has visited 60 countries, organized 25 postgraduate courses, and conducted 35 fact-finding missions.

An effort is underway to provide used computer equipment to developing countries.

It’s announced that 110 Sister Renal Centers paired relationships have been formed.

There is a 39% increase in membership since 1996 due to the joint membership program.

Kyoshi Kurokawa is elected President.

The Ross Bailey ISN Fellowship for study in New Zealand is created in honor of the late Ross Bailey.

Presidential rotation to follow Asia-Americas-Europe sequence.

A Coordinating Committee is created for a Task Force on Clinical Trials to focus on the identification of issues in need of study by clinical trial, including the provision of education and training in the conduct of clinical trials.

COMGAN holds Continuing Education Courses in Moscow, for 350 participants, and the largest ever in Istanbul where 400 physicians and 400 nurses attend.

ISN has 8738 memberships.


Fellows are to sign a commitment to return to home country after training.

144 linkages now exist as part of the SRC Program.

The Computer Donation Program is expanded: color teaching images are included on the ISN homepage and on CD-ROM for the benefit of emerging countries.

2000 individuals are participating in ISN internet discussion groups.

A record number of Fellowship applicants are received and 120 travel grants are awarded.

The first ever meeting in Middle East takes place in in Dubai: 500 doctors attend.


Fifteenth International Congress: Buenos Aires

Fifteenth International Congress: Buenos Aires

Co-sponsored by The Latin American Society of Nephrology and The Hypertension & Argentine Society of Nephrology. This is the last stand-alone ICN. 5232 individuals attend. 48 young nephrologists from Latin America are selected for a training course spending a week in a Latin American Unit prior to the Congress. A Joint Congress for Nurses and Technicians takes place prior to the Congress under the lead sponsorship of the World Council for Renal Care. Five satellite conferences take place. 60 interviews are completed for the Video Legacy Project.

Thomas E.Andreoli is elected President.

It’s agreed that the ISN mission is the “advance of nephrology world-wide.”

KI is to be published electronically and this version to be offered initially to ISN members alone.

A quarterly newsletter is to be published and an edited membership directory to be included on the ISN homepage.

ISN “Trainees” established to undertake shorter periods of training than Fellowships.

Travel grants for young nephrologists travelling to Congresses are increased.

Following a Turkish earthquake, the ISN Disaster Relief Task Force sends a Belgian team who arrive within 24 hours.

A central secretariat is established in Amsterdam where the ISN archives are transferred.

191 Fellowships are awardeded over the decade.


President Tom Andreoli focuses on international relations, promoting COMGAN, and co-organizing the first World Congress of Nephrology.

The decision is made to hold biennial congress in conjunction with a regional society under the name “World Congress of Nephrology”. The initiative to provide 120 travel grants to young nephrologists to attend each congress is maintained.
First World Congress of Nephrology

First World Congress of Nephrology

The First World Congress is held in San Francisco. Attendance is 7365.

100 members are involved in governance.

The first ISN newsletter is published.

The topical advisory committee for Renal Pathology is formed.

A new committee is formed in response to Giuseppe Remuzzi’s first screening program for chronic kidney disease. Remuzzi is appointed as chair.


Robert Atkins is elected President. He focuses on internal organization, optimizing the ISN legal status, and leading the move to professional management.

Professional management is introduced by president Robert Atkins.

A ballot for electing new councilors goes online.

KI adopts an electronic submissions system.

A publication committee is formed for communications.

An honorary lecture named after Barry Brenner is established.

An Education Committee is launched.

The Committee for indigenous populations is launched. It changes its name to “Committee On Kidney Health in Disadvantaged Populations” in 2003.


GIC, later renamed as MCI, a professional management firm located in Belgium, is hired.

A selection of papers from KI is published for the first time in Japanese.

The Lillian Jean Kaplan Prize for excellence and leadership in PKD research is established.


Jan Weening is elected President. He focuses on advancing the scientific profile of the Society by promoting the number, diversity, and quality of meetings and publications. He leads the move to reorganize COMGAN.
Seventeenth Congress of Nephrology: Berlin

Seventeenth Congress of Nephrology: Berlin

The World Congress takes place in Berlin. 8600 attend.

The topical advisory committee for Critical Care Nephrology is formed.

In conjunction with Amgen, ISN offers a prize in recognition of “those who have increased the understanding and treatment of kidney disease through basic or clinical scientific research, leading to therapeutic advances.”

The Education Committee publishes the first international nephrology training Guidelines that soon evolve into an ISN-endorsed curriculum.


e-News is published monthly.

A Clinical Practice Guidelines committee is launched.

The topical advisory committee for Critical Care Nephrology is formed.


William Couser is elected President. He launches the first Nexus meeting and collaborates with many international organizations, leading to the announcement of World Kidney Day and the Declaration of Istanbul.

Qais Al-Awqti becomes Editor of Kidney International.

The first issue of an ISN clinical Journal is published, “Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology”.

The World Congress takes place in Singapore. 4000 attend.

KI is published in Spanish and Portuguese.

A new award is created in the name of Roscoe Robinson to recognize outstanding achievements in the field of education in medicine and nephrology.

A global screening template tailored for low-income countries is developed, “Chronic Kidney Disease, Hypertension, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease (KHDC)”.

The ISN SRC Program is re-structured and is given increased funding.

In 2005 and 2006, the ISN organizes strategic planning meetings in Bellagio, Italy, seeking common ground with other medical organizations focused on non-communicable diseases, including the WHO.


The first World Kidney Day takes place on the first Thursday in March.

The First Nexus meeting takes place in Copenhagen in October.


Eberhard Ritz is elected as President. He works on optimizing the membership profile by encouraging young nephrologists to join and consolidating international collaboration including against organ-trafficking.

Nineteenth Congress of Nephrology: Rio de Janeiro

Nineteenth Congress of Nephrology: Rio de Janeiro

The World Congress takes place in Rio de Janeiro. 6200 attend.

A Young Nephrologists committee is launched.

KI podcasts is launched.


A quarterly review of KI is published in Chinese.

The Declaration of Istanbul is created and published.


Bernardo Rodriguez-Iturbe is elected President. He leads the ISN into partnerships with national and international societies and manages the fiftieth anniversary celebrations.

Twentieth Congress of Nephrology: Milan

Twentieth Congress of Nephrology: Milan

The World Congress takes place in Milan. Attendance is over 10 000.

The name of COMGAN is changed to “ISN Global Outreach (ISN GO) Program”.

The Education Committee launches the ISN Educational Ambassador Program, a new initiative based on the former Senior Scholar Program.

Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology is renamed as “Nature Reviews Nephrology”.


The World Congress takes place in Vancouver, Canada.

The Congress is held in an eco-friendly ‘green’’ building with electronic instead of paper signage. All food is supplied by local merchants making donations to needy populations.

Detlef Schlondörff becomes Editor of KI.

The Renal Disaster Relief Task Force is deployed and works effectively in Haiti after a significant earthquake there.

ISN lobbying leads to kidney disease as a Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) being added to the UN declaration on NCDs.

ISN becomes self-managing, directly employing its own staff. The ISN Foundation is set up to handle the complexities of Belgian payroll and the local office in Brussels.

Executive committee meetings begin to be held annually.


A new named lecture is created in honor of past President, Stewart Cameron, for future Congresses.

The Saving Young Lives Program (SYL), a partnership between ISN, the International Pediatric Nephrology Association (IPNA), the International Society for Peritoneal Dialysis, and Euro PD, is established to provide ‘proof of principle’ that sustainable acute PD programs treating adults and children with AKI could be established in very low resource settings. It focuses on training and mentorship.

An agreement reached between ISN and The Transplantation Society (TTS) leads to a Sister Transplant Center (STC) Program, using the SRC model, with equal co-funding by ISN and TTS.


The World Congress takes place in Hong Kong, China.

ISN establishes Pioneer Awards in recognition of individuals from low to middle-income countries who have made outstanding and sustained contributions to the establishment or development of nephrology in their own region.

Online education is launched through ISN Education providing talks streamed from WCN and other ISN educational meetings; and podcasts, cases and images, guidelines and webinars. Much of the material is particularly relevant to emerging nephrology in LMIC.

The 0by25 initiative is launched with the goal of reducing to zero avoidable deaths from AKI by 2025.

A more refined and flexible ISN digital platform is established.

A ‘Global Snapshot’ is initiated where physicians from 72 countries reported on cases of AKI under their care on a single day. Discussions begin with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) seeking to have AKI presented as a separate cause of death in their annual Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report.

The World Congress takes place in Cape Town, South Africa.

Congress content increasingly focuses on issues specific to the region where it is held: in this case, HIV-related kidney diseases and fetal-maternal kidney health issues.

Elsevier becomes the publisher of the ISN Journal: KI.

The ISN Advancing Clinical Trials (ISN-ACT) is formalized to improve the capacity of the global nephrology community to lead and participate in clinical trial research through network and training, and by standardizing high-quality trial conduct.

The ISN iNET-CKD is formalized: it builds on an informal collaboration established under the working title “Global Network of CKD Cohort Studies (GNCKD)” by the principal investigators of the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) and the German Chronic Kidney Disease (GCKD) studies.


Nexus and Forefronts meetings merge to become ISN Frontiers meetings.

Kidney InternationaI Reports is launched, publishing original clinical and translational articles and educational content related to kidney disease.

Jai Radakrishnan becomes its first Editor.

ISN begins to recognize Regional Training Centers: centers in LMIC having the expertise, capacity, and commitment to provide Fellowship training.

SYL helps establish 12 acute PD centers in sub-Saharan Africa where previously no dialysis is available.

ISN holds the first global health summit on CKD in Vancouver drawing 100 experts from around the world leading to the publication of a “road map” providing recommendations on closing gaps in care, research, and policy.

Regional Boards are established in each of the ten world regions becoming the “eyes and ears” of ISN in the region to disseminate information, advise on regional contexts for new proposals, and help plan regional implementation.

Executive Committee meetings are held annually in Brussels to include senior members of staff reflecting their increasing involvement in the delivery of ISN’s work.

The Executive committee appoints an organizational consultancy to review ISN governance and organization leading to a fresh description of ISN’s mission, a broadening of membership inclusivity, the introduction of new regional and board structures, alterations in the election process, and the clarification of committee, working group, and advisory group roles. Discussions took place leading to the current 5-year strategic plan which begins in 2018.


ISN Education becomes the ISN Academy and continues to generate important content that is well received.

The ISN SharE-RR team, chaired by Fergus Caskey, starts developing resources that kidney health advocates can use to support the establishment or development of renal registries in their countries.

ISN establishes a series of regional policy forums to address specific issues related to kidney health within the region producing substantial statements of intent from health ministers and members of local government: the first one is held in Mexico City.

The first edition of the Global Kidney Health Atlas (GKHA) is published.

The International Consortium of CKDu Collaborators (i3C) is established to develop a framework and accountability structure to promote a better understanding of the emerging epidemic of chronic kidney diseases of uncertain origin (CKDu) occurring typically in poor agricultural communities in Central America and Sri Lanka.

The Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG) forms an international working group to draft a new edition of the Declaration, updating the definitions and principles in the light of clinical, legal, and social developments in the field over the previous decade.

A social Media Task Force is established for the first time at WCN 2017 in Mexico City.

The World Congress takes place in Mexico City, Mexico.


The first ISN Frontiers meeting takes place: “Kidney Disease and Cardiovascular disease”.

Pierre Ronco becomes Editor of KI.

KI’s impact factor reaches 8.3, placing it in third among nephrology journals.

ISN establishes a three-day residential Scientific Writing Course held in Bangalore, India.

The second Global Kidney Health Summit takes place in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, to develop a strategy addressing the unmet needs of patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) around the world over the next 5 to 10 years producing an action plan for progress to address the disparity in health care between countries.

The Council structure is revised to reduce councillors to 20 members who are chairs and deputy chairs of the regional boards.

The first two CME-supported larger Regional Meetings facilitating discussions among nephrology leaders in the region facing similar issues are held.


Charu Malik becomes Executive Director of ISN.

The World Congress takes place in Melbourne, Australia.

The Congress is completely paper-free with on-line programs and reminders.

SRC is actively supporting 65 pairs and STC 15 pairs.

The second edition of the Global Kidney Health Atlas (GKHA) is published.

The second ISN regional policy forum takes place in Melbourne.


WCN goes annual.

Around 50% of projects funded by the ISN Clinical Research Program over the decade result in published work and 40% of applicants go on to receive additional funding.

A two-day consensus meeting is held in Vancouver, Canada, bringing together ISN executive leadership, members of ISN Research groups, patients, clinicians, clinical trialists, academics, industry, and regulators to establish momentum for international collaborative work in clinical trials and research in kidney disease worldwide and to establish a robust definition of kidney failure.

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