TRULY ESTONI - SHING!
In 2002 Kuressaare had already hosted Christmas in Europe. All those who took part at the time had nothing but praise for the Ametikool in general, and for its director Neeme Rand and his teams in particular.
This time, in 2008, the challenge was even greater. Around 700 students, teachers, accompanying partners and directors from 32 countries came together in Kuressaare, the capital of the island of Saarema, a stone’s throw from continental Estonia to which it belongs.
From October 14th – the date when the delegations came together – to October 19th when they all went their various ways, the organisers pulled off a real tour de force, especially considering the scale of such an event! But the Ametikool was certainly up to the challenge – this Training Centre which is the envy of all Estonia if we are to believe the various important figures who attended one or other of the events such as the opening ceremony, the Executive Board meeting and of course the closing ceremony.
Everyone agreed that, thanks to an organisation that was carefully orchestrated behind the scenes but seemingly very relaxed, this 21st Annual Conference was once again a special event in the lives of the students, teachers and directors.
Thanks to the ‘human’ size of Kuressaare, everyone found it very easy to walk from their allocated hotel to the various venues of the Conference: the Sports Hall, the KRTC (Kuressaare Ametikool Regional Training Centre) or the Conference Centre.
What can we say about the major events which punctuated our days spent on Saaremaa? Everything always went off in a convivial and well-behaved atmosphere, with no fuss or excess formality. Everything was disciplined but not pompous, and was carried off with an incomparable sense of hospitality, without being over the top; with professionalism but without rigidity. A nice piece of work, it has to be said, that we should highlight here, despite a few unrepentant moaners. In the competitions there may have been a few misunderstandings here and there, one or two minor difficulties despite the enormous amount of work put in by the specially set-up competitions sub-committee and despite the skills of the judging panels; so let us remember: he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone !
All in all, as people set off on the journey back to their various countries, the only words on everyone’s lips were: thanks so much for this highly successful conference, and see you next year in Dubrovnik…