A VERY FULL AGENDA
As always the Annual Conference is the opportunity to organise the General Assembly attended by representatives of the member schools. This Assembly was held on Thursday November 10th near to the ROC Mondriaan campus and was attended by around forty members as well as by the Presidium.
President Klaus Enengl welcomed the delegates to the Assembly – he was flanked by his Vice-Presidents and by General Secretary Nadine Schintgen and Treasurer Hans Russegger; he presented apologies for absence from Louis Robert who had other pressing matters to deal with. Brigitte Engering, director of the ROC Mondriaan Tourism School, also greeted the delegates, though had to leave at once, having ‘lots of things to do’. She did however take the time to offer her congratulations for the sartorial originality of those who took part in the ‘Orange Evening’ the day before at the AVO Stadium in The Hague.
In his President’s Report, Klaus Enengl stressed that it had been a difficult year for the Presidium, which had had to find alternative organisers both for the 2011 Annual Conference and for 2011 Christmas in Europe, originally planned for Rhodes. He warmly thanked The Hague and Zagreb for taking over at the last minute.
He regretted how difficult it was to find new sponsors and to apply for new subsidies from the European Union. The ‘Youth Parliament’ of which the first session had taken place in Bad Ischl in 2010 would be followed by a session in Iceland from March 19th-24th 2011; it was only for students aged 18 and over, and participants would only have to pay for their air travel. Finally Klaus Enengl announced that the 25th Annual Conference would take place in Macedonia in 2012 and that a Mediterranean cruise was planned for 2013 – though we still needed to negotiate a reasonable price and to put the finishing touches to an alternative programme for competitions which usually needed kitchens!
In the absence of Louis Robert, the Vice-President responsible for the competitions, Klaus Enengl undertook to deliver Louis’ report in his place. He reported that there are many problems with the competitions, the students want to win and the problem of languages keeps surfacing. At meetings of the Presidium and Executive Board it had been decided to change the system and to create standards for the gold, silver and bronze medals in order to develop the ‘fun factor’. And the second idea would be to replace teachers with professionals on the judging panels, as the latter would be more impartial.
Bogusława Pienkowska, Vice-President responsible for relations with the hotel profession, reported for her part that the collaborative scheme with the ACCOR Group had fallen into abeyance and that the AEHT was seeking another hotel chain willing to host teacher placements. With this in mind she requested members to let her know if any contacts had been established with hotel groups in other countries.
Hermann Siebens, Vice-President responsible for placements in the industry, reported that he was in contact with the Starwood Group, of which a representative, Ingrid Eras, was present at the meeting. Ingrid – in charge of the Group’s training programmes – took the stage to give a masterly presentation of her company (please see section 4 – Interviews and other meetings), concluding her presentation by saying, ‘We are open to the principle of collaboration.’ The President warmly thanked Ingrid Eras and concluded this agenda item by saying that ‘We shall see how this develops’.
Ana Paula Pais, Vice-President responsible for occasional events for the coming year, expressed her hope that certain activities could be organised online using such programmes as Skype; she would also like to see the organisation of seminars aimed solely at professionals. She presented the provisional calendar of events for 2012:
- Youth Parliament à Kopavogur (Iceland);
- competitions and conference as part of a Leonardo da Vinci project, April 17th-21st in Szeged, Hungary;
- Azores Pineapple Festival, April 25th-29th in Ponta Delgada in the Azores;
- Bar competition in Bled, Slovenia, April 3rd-5th;
- Bartolomeo Scappi bar and pastry competition in Castel San Pietro Terme, Italy, April 17th-19th;
- Management game in Saarbrücken, April 19th-22nd (intended for teachers);
- Medieval cuisine in the first week in May in Oristano, Sardinia;
- Eurocup bar contest in October/November in Prešov, Slovakia;
- 25th Annual Conference, October 7th-12th in Ohrid and Skopje, Macedonia
- 21st Christmas in Europe, December 4th-9th in Bled, Slovenia;
- 2012 Atlantic Chocolate Festival, December 7th-9th on Terceira Island in the Azores.
After a welcome break, Adolf Steindl (Austria) gave a report on behalf of the Council of Elders which, may we remind you, includes himself and Alfonso Benvenuto (Italy), Jürgen Clausen (Germany), Michel Gaillot (France) and Roy van Sassen (The Netherlands). In his usual fashion Adolf mentioned the Copenhagen meeting to prepare for the management competition in The Hague, and the seminar for higher education teachers in Athlone. Moreover, Adolf Steindl made no secret of the search for sponsors for the publication of a brochure to mark the AEHT’s 25th anniversary; and finally he announced the seminar in Saarbrücken from April 19th-22nd. He also announced that the management competition had been drawn up and led by Eda Veeroja from Estonia, with help from Adolf himself when needed.
Neeme Rand, Vice-President responsible for internet technologies, presented a list illustrated with graphs showing the statistics relating to the AEHT’s website. Thus between January 1st and November 2nd the website had had 21,209 visits from 172 countries, and Neeme Rand emphasised that the management of the site involved a lot of work. He then displayed several graphs showing for example the sources of internet traffic, 17.67% of which comes directly from the site’s URL, 28.08% through linked sites and 54.26% from search engines. He also showed the origins of visitors to the site: Italy comes in first position with 2,690 hits, then France (2,436), Croatia (1,126), Austria (1,104), The Netherlands (1,076) etc. 52% of visitors to the site are women and 46% are men; and the site needs to be updated, using version 1.7 of Joomla instead of the current version 1.5. Neeme Rand concluded by commending the hard work carried out by Ahti Paju, the webmaster based in his school in Kuressaare.
Next came the report from Treasurer Hans Russegger who explained succinctly to the meeting the financial figures for 2010: expenditure had been €147,048.63, closely matched by income, among the sources of which he mentioned both the €20,800 subsidy from the Luxembourg government and the sum of €4,000 from Villeroy & Boch in the form of souvenir gifts distributed at the Lisbon Annual Conference. There were five abstentions when this budget was put to the vote. As for the draft 2012 balanced budget of €151,000, it was predicated on a subsidy of €20,000 from Austria and a further grant of €20,800 from Luxembourg. The rate of annual subscription would rise from €270 to €290 for schools, while for professional members it would increase from €300 to €350.
On the matter of the €20 increase in the subscription, Rinaldo Merlone and the Italian schools abstained when the vote was taken, on the grounds that in Italy grants from the Ministry of Education had been cut. 30 votes in favour, ten abstentions and one against.
Moving on to resignations, exclusions and admissions, Hans Russegger presented to the meeting the new lists of the schools in question, updated since the Lisbon General Assembly and giving the situation as at October 4th 2011: nine exclusions, nine resignations and 26 admissions. The accounts auditors Jürgen Clausen and Danielle Snauwaert had sent their apologies for absence, so their letter addressed to the Presidium, and requesting that discharge be granted to the treasurer, was read out to the meeting. By unanimous vote discharge was granted not only to the Treasurer but also to the work of the Presidium. Thanking the Assembly for its confidence, the President was prompted to comment, ‘We will do our best for the tasks ahead!'
The last item but one on the agenda was Christmas in Europe. Klaus Enengl thanked Marija Rasan-Krizanac for agreeing with little time to spare to run Christmas in Europe in her school in Zagreb, and urged Christiane Keller to keep up her good work for at least the next 15 years! A long and spontaneous burst of applause greeted this intervention, which was followed by a presentation from Marija who explained that her school would host 21 schools from 15 countries. Quite a challenge – but one which did not seem to bother her!
And then last but not least, it was time for Zoran Nikolowski, director of the Lazar Tanev School, to present Macedonia, whose cities of Ohrid – where there are as many churches as there are days in the year – and Skopje would be hosting the next Annual Conference from October 7th-12th 2012. His presentation was illustrated with a video, and a stand outside the meeting hall distributed to all the delegates a bag containing documents about Macedonia and the conference. It was enough to make you sign up there and then! This presentation too was met with enthusiastic applause.
There being no further business, President Klaus Enengl declared the meeting closed at 13.30.