A VERY CONSENSUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The Annual General Assembly took place in the Metropol Hotel’s Biljana Hall on October 11th at 09.00. It was a very traditional General Assembly without any major speeches and held in a spirit of complete agreement. And as usual, there was similtaneous translation of the proceedings.
Although the start of the meeting had been scheduled for 09.00, the timetable was somewhat disregarded with the proceedings not beginning properly until 09.25. In the chair was President Klaus Enengl who thanked his audience for their unanimous vote in accepting the minutes of the 2011 General Assembly in The Hague – minutes taken by General Secretary Nadine Schintgen, whose work was loudly applauded.
Firstly Klaus Enengl informed the meeting that this was the start of the fourth year of his presidency and of the Presidium, and that the 2013 General Assembly would take place in the presence of a freshly elected Presidium for a new four-year mandate.
He also announced that 2013 would be an exciting year with the AEHT’s 25th anniversary which will be marked by a cruise. Klaus Enengl made a point of warmly thanking the Macedonians who ‘have worked very hard’, and he asked everyone to be ‘flexible’ given the inevitable problems which occur each year. ‘Macedonia is a very young country and does not have a lot of resources. They have done a really good job’, he said before raising the problem of the age of some of the competitors, who are over 25, which causes certain difficulties. He announced that next year an age-limit would be introduced. But he emphasised, on the plus side, that ‘the atmosphere is great, the people are nice, so let’s think of the positive aspects of Macedonia’.
Next came the reports presented by each Vice-President, beginning with Louis Robert who is in charge of the competitions. Louis’ worries are, on the one hand the age of some competitors, for which we will have to find some sort of balance, and on the other hand the problems which will occur next year for the cruise – particularly in the competitions and especially in the culinary arts contests. He appealed to the Assembly to help to find new ideas. He also made a point of saying that there were problems on the matter of disqualifications in some of the competitions.
Moving on to Christmas in Europe, he warmly thanked Christiane Keller for her commitment - the thanks were greeted with applause – and announced that the forthcoming Christmas in Europe would take place in Budapest from November 28th to December 5th, while in 2013 it would be held in Marseilles.
A little later in the course of the General Assembly the President made a point of thanking once again Maria Razan-Krisanac for her dedicated work in organizing the 2011 Christmas in Europe in Zagreb.
Bogusłava Pienkowska, Vice-President responsible for relations with the hotel profession, reported briefly that the ACCOR placements had come to a definite end and that the AEHT is trying to find other hotels to host the placements. Furthermore she has begun negotiations with an American company, and is investigating placements in Warsaw and in Germany. She also mentioned the possibility of placements in Portugal with the Pestana network.
Herman Siebens, Vice-President responsible for industrial placements and for quality management activities and business ethics, reminded the meeting of the AEHT’s contacts with the STARWOOD company, which had sent a representative to The Hague in 2011; in his view the placements for six people at the beginning of January were a good start for a first season. He also mentioned the possibility of training.
Ana Paula Pais, Vice-Prsident responsible for occasional events, ran through the list of the different events which had taken place in 2012, as well as those that already featured in the 2013 calendar. Among the most important of these are: the Youth Parliament on April 8th-14th in Kopavogur in Iceland on the theme of ‘the reduction of the carbon footprint and how today’s tourism departments can contribute to environmental protection’; in mid-April another seminar for teachers and directors in Podebrady in the Czech Republic; another seminar in April with the title ‘the growing importance of appointing qualified staff in the catering and restaurant sector’ run by the Docklands Academy in London. Finally, from November 10th-15th the 26th Annual Conference celebrating the 25th anniversary on board a cruise ship this time, the Costa Luminosa. And in December, Christmas in Europe in Marseilles.
Adolf Steindl, representing the ‘Council of Elders’, gave a brief report on the team’s activities, reminding the meeting about the following: the Hospitality Management competition reserved for students at level EQF 5+ in The Hague; the meeting in Ohrid in March as part of the meeting of National Representatives; the third HEG seminar in Saarbrücken which brought together 15 participants from eight schools in five countries; the preparations for the competition which is taking place this year in Ohrid with 15 students as last year; and finally, an outline of the programme for the Podebrady seminar to take place on April 18th-21st 2013.
Neeme Rand, Vice-President in charge of the AEHT website and for promotion of the AEHT, described to the meeting how the website was evolving. His graphs and statistics showed that the number of hits is relatively stable from October 2011 to October 2012: in round figures there were 30,000 visits, with Italy holding the record with 3,546 ahead of France with 2,369 and The Netherlands with 1,769 visits. In the ‘top ten’ as far as content is concerned we can see that the English version of the Annual Conference page received 6,079 hits, and in general the activities page in English received 3,813 visits. Neeme Rand also spoke of the role of Facebook, showing a table setting out the rate of visits by sex and by age; and finally he presented the new gold, silver and bronze medals which would in future be presented to the competition winners. He concluded by listing the remaining tasks: he wanted to increase and update the security of the website, to keep the AEHT’s official Facebook up to date, to set up the registration procedures for 2013, and in general to develop the list of members so that it could be integrated into the registration pages.
Neeme Rand took the opportunity to pay tribute to the webmaster, Ahti Paju, one of his deputies at his school in Kuressaare.
After half an hour’s break, the proceedings resumed with the financial report presented by the treasurer Hans Russegger. This was a very concise report, with a list of the exclusions (18), the resignations (13) and the new members (18) to which a 19th had to be added in the form of the Lycée des Métiers in Paris.
As for the AEHT’s finances, the budget was balanced with income and expenditure amounting to 206,992.48 euros, the main entries being the subsidies from Luxembourg (20,800 euros) from Austria (24,000 euros) and from the EU’s Youth in Action programme (around 40,000 euros) while the subscriptions have brought in 116,810.00 euros. There is a surplus of 51,000 euros.
The accounts auditors, Danielle Snauwaert (Belgium) and Jürgen Clausen (Germany) were not present at the meeting, but their report was read out by Nadine Schintgen. Nothing to report. The auditors were re-appointed for the financial year 2012.
Discharge from responsibility was given to Hans Russegger who also presented the draft budget – also balanced, with a surplus of 152,700 euros. And finally the Assembly granted discharge from responsibility to the treasurer and to the entire Presidium.
The 2013 Annual Conference on board a Cruise Ship
To celebrate the AEHT’s 25th anniversary it has been decided to hold the Annual Conference on board a cruise ship, the MS Costa Luminosa from November 10th-15th 2013. Klaus Enengl gave a very detailed presentation of this exceptional conference, which will have a special logo created by a student from the Lycée Ermesinde in Mersch (Luxembourg). The ship’s voyage will begin in Savona (near to Genoa in Italy) and will include stops in Barcelona, Palma, Ajaccio and Marseilles before the return to Savona.
The price will be around 400 euros per student and about 520 euros per teacher, these being the lowest rates. But the President warned that a 70% supplement is payable for a single occupancy cabin.
And we will have to bear in mind the difficulties that will arise with regard to the competitions, which will be simplified, and will include a ‘decathlon’ – a Swedish idea, as it happens. ‘I hope that a great number of you will take part in this cruise’ said the President, who has reserved one thousand places on board!
The final item of the meeting: three candidates are in competition to hold the Annual Conference in 2017. Ivo Bilic, the director of the Split school in Croatia, gave some information to the meeting, then Herman Siebens from Belgium spoke of his plans and finally a representative of the school in Cervia (Italy) made his pitch for the conference. The President declared that he was delighted with these candidacies, but would allow the Presidium to make its choice at the appropriate moment.
It was 13.00. The General Assembly had more or less kept to time. It was time to go for lunch!