For the past two years she has been director of the Giorgio Perlasca Hotel and Tourism School which has more than 800 students and 70 teachers. This was no mean challenge: organising Christmas in Europe in record time, following the withdrawal of the Bled School. Csilla explains how she did it:
‘Around 20 teachers were put in charge of the various areas that had to be managed. But I have to say that everyone took part in the event. May I remind you that my school had already organised Christmas in Europe in 1995 when my predecessor Akos Sasvari was school director. Furthermore I was in Poznan in Poland and in Örebro in Sweden, and it was there that I said to myself that we ought to host Christmas in Europe once again in Budapest. The first thing was to find the premises. The Cultural Centre was the most sensible choice because the school isn’t entirely suitable. Very fortunately, the director of the Centre agreed! Then there was the question of funding. That was the second stage. Finding hotels and so on. There again we had contacts which turned out to be fruitful. I have to say that it was only the private sector which helped us. And then came the organisation itself, the key stage which seems to have worked well. And finally, the matter of communication because we had to be able to contact every section manager at all times. Which amounts to saying that I haven't been without my phone for a second!
All in all I’m very happy with the outcome. In the life of a school an event like this, a challenge like this, is very important. It mobilises everyone and welds the community together. I feel, we all feel, that everyone is happy, not least all the teams! We have tried to do our best. And this evening I think that the gala dinner will be a moment of peace and conviviality …’
Agnès Vaffier, Director of the Marseilles Hotel School
This Christmas in Europe in Budapest has been a real discovery for me! Obviously I knew the broad outline of it since our school is a member of the AEHT and this event is one of the Association’s activities that is well recognized, and has a large and appreciative following.
Being immersed in this group of adolescents for these few days has been a good way of understanding the spirit of this event, and the talks I’ve had, especially with Mrs Keller, have enabled me to have a better grasp of its history and philosophy!
This experience, with its wealth of exchanges that are both cultural and gastronomic, is a real opportunity for all young people to discover that they are Europeans.
I have understood the need for a high degree of rigour in the logistics, the importance to be given to the European buffet, the preparatory work needed for the ‘culture show’ and the joy of the gala dinner. In particular I’ll remember what was said by Csilla Dévényi, the School Director: ‘A few days ago my students greeted foreigners, and tonight they are saying goodbye to friends’.
Marseilles will be the European Capital of Culture in 2013 and our School will try to organise a fine event which will fit naturally into the programme of events organised by the city to celebrate this. We are already working on it and will make sure that our School, our district and our city will benefit from this meeting of young people from various European countries, so that together we can help them to get to know better, and to love, Marseilles and Provence.
Gabrielle Katonante Szegedi, Language Teacher ++
Gabrielle is a teacher of Hungarian and literature, and it was she who worked magic on the organisation. She ensured that all the different components of the organising team could consult together in case of problems. She was a true linchpin and you met her everywhere as if she sometimes had the gift of being in several places at once! With a smile she explains, ‘I do whatever needs doing, and of course we had problems here and there, in organising and deploying the students at the Cultural Centre. Several teachers were each in charge of a part of the organisation and responsible for working with other teachers. For example there was one teacher to draw up the programme, another for the reservations and finance, another for communication, another for the transfers. All in all, now that we’re nearly at the end of the event, I’m pleased. Everything ran well …’
A team of Junior Journalists
Jorge Pereira Pinto is a teacher and educational specialist at the Luxembourg Circus School, and headed a team of three students from the Lycée Ermesinde in Luxembourg; his task was to mentor three young students from the Ermesinde School who had come to Budapest to carry out a sort of immersion placement in their specialist subjects. Carla Invernizzi and Eric De Oliveira had come to produce a reportage in video and still photographs on Christmas in Europe which will subsequently be dissected by their teacher in communication and media studies. As for Thierry Treinen, he is a specialist in the diabolo and intends to work in the circus, and showed his talents in public at the gala evening as well as visiting a circus and its school in Budapest. Throughout the event you could see them filming, taking photos and interviewing people. The exercise was made all the harder as they had also to work in English. In Jorge’s view these three young people, aged 14 and 15, worked extremely well in the field and proved that they were quite independent even though they were in a way outsiders to this Christmas in Europe in Budapest.
Young people delighted that they had participated: