Christmas in Europe is a very special moment .......
Emotions were running high during the Christmas in Europe event which took place between December 12th and 17th in Senigallia, the magnificent bathing resort on Italy’s Adriatic coast. Everyone agreed that this edition of Christmas in Europe will remain – just as those which preceded it – an everlasting fond memory in the hearts of those who attended in their various capacities.
The ‘A. Panzini’ IPSSARCT, its director Alfonso Benvenuto, his immediate colleagues, his teachers and technical staff, and its students, spared no effort to ensure the complete success of this Christmas in Europe event rich in traditions and gastronomy, where friendship, exchanges, discovery and sharing were the order of the day.
Italy and more particularly this beautiful Marches region have beyond any doubt many advantages to boast of – and the very first of these is their highly developed sense of hospitality. This hospitality was evident at every stage of these few blissful days.
Of course Dr. Alfonso Benvenuto, ‘boss’ of the Senigallia school and national representative of the Italian schools, has also been the new president of the AEHT since the Annual Conference in Copenhagen two months ago. As such, it would have seemed inconceivable for him to accept the slightest shortcoming. And there were none. Not a single one.
'We are a hotel and tourism school, and our duty is to be as close to perfection as possible in what we do. Organising this Christmas in Europe event has not only been a great pleasure, it was one big learning experience for the whole school.’ Such is Dr Alfonso Benvenuto’s philosophy. And the challenge was no mean one, with 22 delegations from 16 different countries.
All these delegations, at the end of Christmas in Europe and before their departure, were still under the spell of this Italian version of the event in which nothing was left to chance. Obviously this is not to diminish the success of previous editions, since each school organises Christmas in Europe in accordance with its own potential and according to its means.
For the first time in Senigallia, the members of the AEHT’s Managing Committee participated in part of the event. This was seen as a seal of approval and credibility – as if one were needed – of the very concept of Christmas in Europe.
And what can we say about the pleasure afforded to the citizens by the exhibition and the inaugural parade through the town? Thousands of Senigallia’s burgers were able to see that Europe is not just Brussels or Strasbourg, not just regulations and directives. There, before their very eyes, they could see that Europe is youth, joy, good humour, traditions and costumes.
And Mrs Luana Angeloni, mayor of Senigallia, and Monseigneur Giuseppe Orlandoni, Senigallia’s bishop, will not say the contrary. They too felt the power of this irresistible wave, and did not hide their satisfaction.
Already Bad Ischl in Austria is making its preparations for the 13th edition of Christmas in Europe, which will take place in December 2004. There we will see different scenery and different traditions, and different delegations will be there. But please, our Austrian friends, let us have no competition do ‘do better’ or to ‘do more’. Christmas in Europe is a very special moment for the young people of Europe. That is the most important thing, and that is how it must remain.