31ST ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN FRIESLAND: THE AEHT CELEBRATES ITS 30TH BIRTHDAY
For the third time in its history the AEHT has held its Annual Conference in The Netherlands; there was 1997 in Zandvoort, 2011 in The Hague, and now 2018 in Leeuwarden, this year’s European Capital of Culture. This time the event was organised by Friesland College and was held from 12th to 17th November.
The framework for this event remains the same year after year. The only things that change are the number of countries, the number of schools and the numbers of directors, teachers and students. Thus Leeuwarden hosted representatives from 19 countries, which included 530 participants of whom 278 were students.
We’ll hear more about Friesland College, headed by Tom Valk, a man in his forties who very successfully manages the seven departments that make up his school; Tom has what it takes to inspire in his teams the energy and enthusiasm needed to organise this 2018 edition.
There were no changes in the composition of the Praesidium. The management team elected in 2017 in Ostend consists of the President, Remco Koerts (The Netherlands), supported by the Vice-Presidents Neeme Rand (Estonia), Ana Paula Païs (Portugal), Michel Lanners (Luxembourg), Nuria Montmany Alvarez (Spain) and Ray Cullen (Ireland). Absent, alas, for health reasons, was Treasurer Klaus Enengl (Austria). Not forgetting of course General Secretary Nadine Schintgen, that most indispensable linchpin of our Association!
As for the infrastructure of this 2018 Annual Conference, we should mention that Friesland College had the capacity to host and run all the competitions on its own premises, while accommodation was spread across nine hotels, one of which, a former prison converted into a youth hostel, was the subject of some robust criticisms.
We should also mention in passing that several members of the ‘Council of Elders’ consisting of former Presidents or Vice-Presidents attended certain parts of the conference programme. Thus Roy Van Sassen (The Netherlands) and Jürgen Clausen (Germany) attended the General Assembly while Michel Gaillot (France) and Louis Robert (Luxembourg) were present at the Gala Evening.
The conference programme also included meetings of the Praesidium, of the Executive Board and of the General Assembly, as well as cultural excursions, not forgetting a masterclass and of course evening outings intended mostly for students, either at the local ice-skating park or at the Neushoorn, where they sometimes danced until dawn.
All in all this 31st Annual Conference delivered on its promise and when the European flag was passed from the Leeuwarden team to the team from Split ion Croatia, there was no more to be said. But one important element was missing – the singing of the Ode to Joy, the anthem of the whole of Europe.