18 Mai 2021

Dear Colleagues, dear friends,

our highly valued colleague and dear friend Jorge Canestri passed away on May 7, 2021, and his passing leaves us with deep sadness and grief.

As members of the previous EPF Executive with Jorge as President from 2016 - 2020, we would like to share some honoring thoughts and memories of him with all of you.

For almost all of us, our collaboration with Jorge Canestri began at our election as the then new Executive in Stockholm in 2015. Even then it was fascinating to see the wealth of psychoanalytic knowledge and experience he was able to draw from, opening up a first common perspective for our further work. With his felicitous mix of clarity and generous understanding, Jorge fostered the coalescence of our team from the moment we took over as Executive at the EPF Annual Conference 2016 in Berlin.

In the following four years of his presidency, Jorge Canestri was committed to promoting the scientific and cultural diversity of the EPF and left a lasting mark on it. Characteristic of his scientific orientation was the repeated inclusion of neighboring disciplines and other fields of science in a deeper psychoanalytical understanding, such as biology, artificial reproductive technology, neurobiology or linguistics, but also artificial intelligence and robotics. Knowing the significant influence of private theories of psychoanalysts, he was highly supportive of psychoanalytic research. He also had a sensitive feel for artistic productions, such as poetry, painting and music. We learned from him that he had already met the poet Jorge Luis Borges as a young boy in Buenos Aires through his father and later met him again in Rome. Rather incidentally, we also learned that he had painted as a young man before studying medicine. His broad intellectual-emotional orientation between art and science then also determined the programmatic orientation of our congresses, conferences and also personal meetings. Jorge was internationally oriented: it was his idea to hold the EPF Annual Meeting 2018 in Warsaw and thus also bring the EPF closer to Eastern Europe, he maintained good connections between the EPF and Latin America as well as North America, and he initiated a scientific exchange between the EPF and China. His experience with the fate of friends and colleagues during the Argentine military dictatorship, which he experienced from Italy, made him cautious and wise in dealing with threats to psychoanalysis under totalitarian conditions. 

Jorge opened up the opportunity for us to help shape all these activities for EPF.     

Jorge was a polymath who always conducted conversations and discussions with us attentively, thoughtfully and seriously, while accompanying them with a high degree of humor and wit. He listened to each one of our points of view, as well as the different points of view in the psychoanalytical community respecting the differences, but always with the aim of unity and continuity. He taught the EPF and us that a clear basic psychoanalytical stance and openness to new things are not mutually exclusive but keep psychoanalysis alive.

In Jorge Canestri we lose an outstanding psychoanalyst, mentor and good friend.

We are very sad but will always remember him with deep affection and honour. Our sympathy also goes to his wife and family and the members of the Italian Psychoanalytical Association.

Heribert Blass, Martina Burdet, Katy Bogliatto, Charlotta Björklind, Eva Schmid-Gloor (Members of the EPF Executive 2016-2020)