The new AEHT President elected in Ostend is far from being a newcomer to the AEHT. The 48 year-old, after the various stages of his studies which include a Masters degree in International Management from London Metropolitan University, worked in the hotel industry for 12 years before deciding on a career in education and taking a job at Roc Mondriaan college. He explains that ‘over these last ten years I have always given equal attention to education, business and the international context which is an integral part of this profession’.
It was the 2006 Killarney Annual Conference that was a revelation for me: thanks to our Irish friends it was a shining example of interaction between students and teachers from right across Europe, in what I would call a family atmosphere. This first very positive experience led me to organise the 2011 Annual Conference in The Hague, and on that occasion I must say that I understood even better than before the organisation and objectives of the AEHT. That is why I agreed to become a member of the Presidium, to contribute my experience to the task of organising the various competitions in a rational way – in collaboration with the Head Judges who, moreover, contribute to creating a better and more positive image of the competitions. I’m sure that my time spent in the Presidium has convinced me that I’m on the right track. But I have a feeling that this will not be all: in addition to the modernisation of the competitions for the students, I want to further develop the part of the conference programme aimed at teachers and directors. This is why I want the AEHT to stay stable and strong by exploiting alternative sources of funding, and this is an important priority for the new Presidium. These challenges, and my own ambitions to make our Association into the largest association for hotel and tourism schools in Europe – this is what persuaded me to be a candidate for the presidency for the coming four years. The fact that the AEHT membership has chosen me as their President indicates that they place their confidence in me, and I feel extremely proud of this.
Ana Paula Pais, outgoing president
After her four-year mandate as President, Ana Paula Pais agreed to summarise the achievements of the Presidium during her Presidency. Thus she successfully reorganised and redistributed the Presidium’s tasks among all its members, she set up a new way of communicating with its members using the website and Facebook and more recently using the Hosco platform; she increased the number of seminars and competitions organised by member schools, she created a new partnership with a Portuguese hotel group which enabled us to continue to offer international professional placements to our teachers; she succeeded in increasing the number of professional partners with the development of a new go-ahead approach; she managed to establish a good relationship with the Luxembourg Ministry of Education with the help of our General Secretary and of the management of the Diekirch Hotel School, which enabled us to strengthen the financial support that Luxembourg has made available to us and which is essential for the long-term stability of the AEHT; and finally she has succeeded in improving the organisation of the competitions in terms of their transparency and reliability, by putting in place coordinators for each competition.
However, she admits, ‘What has really not been easy was the problem of combining my responsibilities as Director of the Coimbra School with those of AEHT President. In fact I should have like to have more time to recruit more member schools, and to inject more dynamism into the ‘value-added’ activities for directors and teachers. And what’s more, another problem we’ve had in recent years is that of the resignations of a number of schools facing financial difficulties, and this is a problem in all countries.
As for what has given me satisfaction, I’ve always given the best of myself in the interests of the AEHT, and it has given me immense pleasure to be at the helm of the AEHT and to finish my mandate with the establishment of new values, new services for the schools, more activities and a lot of challenges for the future. I’m very glad that we’ve had new applicants wishing to join the Association, and that the group of new colleagues who have just been elected is highly motivated to get on with the tasks that await them.
And what would I like the AEHT to achieve in the future? I should like the AEHT to achieve a larger membership to provide added value for all its members; I should like the AEHT to create new activities for its directors and teachers; and also I should like the AEHT to become the largest Association of its type in Europe. I’m very pleased that Remco Koerts has been elected as our new President, and I am entirely at his disposal to collaborate in taking up new challenges in the course of the coming four years.
When I was appointed Director of the Bad Ischl Hotel School in 2001 the Linz Annual Conference was just about to take place, and the practical competitions were arranged in my School. And so it was that when I had been Director for only four weeks, I was confronted with the realities of the AEHT – and this really triggered something with me!
From that moment on I haven’t missed a single Annual Conference, and I was lucky enough to be able to undertake various responsibilities within the AEHT. I succeeded Hans Russegger as Treasurer, I succeeded Adolf Steindl as Vice-President from 2006 to 2009, I was President from 2009 to 2013, and finally Vice-President once more from 2013 to 2017. Moreover my School hosted Christmas in Europe in 2004 and as I’ve already said, the competitions of the Linz conference. And then together with Louis Robert I organised the 2013 Annual Conference which took the form of a cruise aboard the Costa cruise ship for the AEHT’s 25th anniversary.
Now, following the 30th Annual Conference in Ostend, I’ve decided to give up my role as Vice-President, but to continue as AEHT Treasurer for two more years before my retirement. I think that I have given good service to the AEHT, which will always be very close to my heart.
It was 15 years ago that I took on my role as AEHT Vice-President. What an adventure! Meetings upon meetings, and so many decisions to be made, very often difficult decisions. Over these 15 years I’ve met amazing people who have dedicated themselves entirely to our Association. As Vice-President I was responsible for professional placements for teachers. I wrote the guidelines for teachers and students. It was a mammoth task and a very useful experience.
But all good things must come to an end. After these 15 years I think that it’s time to end my remit as Vice-President. But I will still be the National Representative for Poland.
I’d like to wish the new Presidium much energy and efficiency in its future tasks!