AC 2022
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Candles, background music provided by a small string orchestra, beautifully laid tables, equally beautifully decorated ball-room: the gala dinner which traditionally marks the end of the Annual Conference took place as planned on October 26th, with more than 600 guests in the large ball-room.

After the apéritif served outside the ball-room entrance, the well-regimented troop of waiters and waitresses from the hotel as well as from Antalya Koleji allowed all the diners to do justice to part of the menu, while they waited for the official proceedings of the evening to begin. These proceedings began with the farewell speech from Dr Fatma Kizilirmak: ‘Time passes too quickly … I hope that you have been able to enjoy your stay with us and I am happy to have been your host here. We have tried to make this Annual Conference an unforgettable experience and I hope that you are satisfied. I should like to thank the members of the hotel schools, and to thank Dr Turgut, and I think of my father, the president, who recently passed away. Thank you to all the teachers and students who have worked hard for this Conference. Thank you to all those people who have made the impossible possible. Thank you to Kemal Topologlu, I am proud to have shared these moments with you and I have confidence in the future …’

The VIP Table
The VIP Table

All those present thanked Dr Fatma Kizilirmak with a standing ovation.
Now it was Alfonso Benvenuto’s turn at the microphone; he emphasised how this had been a great celebration for the young people of Europe. ‘Our thanks to those who have worked for all of us and for the AEHT’, he said while presenting a special gift to Dr Fatma Kizilirmak, to the teachers Ali Alp Arslan, Resat Inan, Yener Konukaldi and Erkan Celik. ‘We have worked hard and we have worked well’, he added, before inviting Suheyla Ög to join him on the platform.

The teachers grouped around their ‘Chief’
The teachers grouped around their ‘Chief’

Suheyla Ög is made an honorary member
Suheyla Ög is made an honorary member

‘Suheyla Ög was the organiser of the Antalya Annual Conference in 1992, she had the courage, as a woman, to undertake this task 13 years ago. And now that she has taken retirement we are very pleased to recognise her courage tonight by making her an Honorary Member of the AEHT’, said the President. Suheyla Ög was very moved by this honour which she was obviously not expecting, and she said that she was ‘happy and proud of this award.’

Turning now to Hans Russegger, the President again thanked him for his 14 years of hard work, and conferred upon him too the title of AEHT Honorary Member – Hans thus became the first honorary treasurer in the AEHT’s history! He then thanked Adolf Steindl who would remain as vice-president for another year, Christiane Keller (Mother Christmas) for her inestimable work, Gilles Honegger who had already left Antalya, as well as the Board members of the ECAI.

Hans, outgoing treasurer, and his successor Klaus
Hans, outgoing treasurer, and his successor Klaus

Then it was time to call all the students onto the platform, country par country, to present each of them with a gift from the Turkish organisers. This was an exciting part of the evening, especially when we saw the vast numbers of students from Italian and Turkish schools, by far the largest groups, making their way to the platform!

Several presentation plaques were presented to dignitaries and to partners of the Conference, and it was the solemn moment for handing over the AEHT flag from the Turkish team to the Irish organisers. Unfortunately the hand-over ceremony was rather lost among the multitude of other events, and deserved more solemnity, even if the smiles were perfectly genuine. Perhaps it would have been the right moment to sing the European anthem, for example.

the flag is handed form Turkey to Ireland
the flag is handed form Turkey to Ireland

To end with, there was the traditional presentation of the prizes to the competition winners (see the prize-winner page); and as happens every year there were the great displays of joy, and probably also some disappointment here and there – but that’s how it is! And when at around midnight the guests started to stand up, was in order to go and say goodbye – see you next year in Killarney!

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