Of course, chiropractic is much more than just what we in the U.S. are accomplishing. Over the last century, chiropractic has spread to almost 90 countries and is serving millions of people around the world. And although the number of U.S. chiropractic colleges has decreased slightly in the last 20 years, the number of recognized chiropractic colleges in the rest of the world has grown substantially. In fact, there are now more recognized chiropractic colleges outside the United States than within it, and many countries enjoy more than one chiropractic college. The current counts by country are:
South Africa - 2Asia
Japan - 1
South Korea - 1
Denmark - 1
France - 1
Sweden - 1
United Kingdom - 3
Canada - 2
Mexico - 1
Australia - 3
New Zealand - 1
South AmericaBrazil - 2
Not only has the number of colleges grown, so has the number of languages in which chiropractic is taught. Many of our classic chiropractic texts are now read in French; Japanese; Portuguese; Korean; and Spanish, allowing chiropractic to be taught in the context of each county's language and culture. Many of these colleges grant a different degree than a "D.C.," in accordance with the educational system within the particular country.
Needless to say, there is no way a single organization from one country can ever hope to address the specific needs of chiropractic in each country around the world, or represent the diverse cultures in which chiropractic is now flourishing. Likewise, no single special-interest group can hope to encompass the culture and resultant chiropractic philosophy that is part of chiropractic in each country. What makes sense for our culture in the U.S., and the challenges we face, may have almost no application in other countries in which chiropractic is growing at a different pace.
This is why the structure of the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) is so important.
By restricting its membership to the national chiropractic associations for each country, the WFC is able to effectively serve as the "United Nations" of chiropractic. Each country member is represented by the leadership accountable to the DCs practicing in that country. There is a chain of accountability and responsibility, from the individual members in each country, to their national chiropractic association, to the WFC.
The WFC consists of 81 national associations; each is familiar with the issues facing chiropractic in its own country and has the political power and relationships to address those needs effectively. Their representatives come from different cultures, and most speak another language in addition to English.
These 81 national associations respect each other's autonomy, but are quite willing to lend assistance as needed. This is the beauty of the WFC structure: There is great cooperation without any feeling that one country has a right to inflict itself on another. Instead, they support each other in times of crises; provide resources as available; and celebrate each other's victories.
In the U.S., doctors of chiropractic may be frustrated sometimes by the challenges we face and the occasional setbacks we encounter. However, we can all rejoice globally in celebration of the many good things happening around the chiropractic world. While unity still eludes us here in the U.S., the WFC has established a structure for global chiropractic unity that will be the foundation for our growth for decades to come.
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