MEMORABLE AND INNOVATIVE!
Those who were lucky enough to arrive in Riga to take part in the Christmas in Europe run under the aegis of the AEHT – they were not the same people when they left; they had definitely acquired a European value-added. The excellent organising team had taken great pride in perfecting all the details so as to make this edition into a masterpiece, both from the point of view of the programme (which followed in every respect the Youth in Action guidelines) and from the point of view of its practical implementation ‘on the ground.’
And what a ‘ground’ it was!
A large school that is a model of its kind, including:
- Not only top-of-the-range installations and premises that are highly flexible and adaptable (the exhibition hall was transformed in turn into a dining hall for the European buffet, a hall for the gala evening, a sports hall, an activities hall (parades, cook-show, cocktail demonstration, local clothing design etc) and a performance hall for the multicultural programme or for the highly eclectic concert …
- But also a teaching team who were highly enthusiastic about ensuring the perfect organisation of this large-scale event which brings together so many delegations with their wealth of differences (the welcome was finely tuned to meet delegates’ needs, details of table plans, highly effective communication, both spoken and written, attention paid to technical aspects)
- and a city and a country which we just had to discover, despite the chilly weather – because celebrating Christmas is an integral part of their culture; and the landscapes provided by pine forests and parks just beg to be immortalised in thousands of messages sent home.
This edition was a marvel of its kind and EUROPE (flags, colours, anthems, references in the speeches) was omnipresent and provided the overall context. In addition there were several innovations (rallies in the city, joint illumination of the decorations, evaluation of the stands in a non-competitive manner, inaugural firework display, the mixing of students, teachers and directors at multinational dining tables) and these innovations were the result of painstaking preparatory work by those who prepared for the event, in particular by being themselves participants at around ten such events before undertaking the organisation themselves.
This edition will always be in our minds as an exemplary one. We need to add just one word: THANKS!
Several participating students confirmed to me that they hadn’t expected such an event when they arrived, and that they had the feeling that it was their chance of a lifetime!