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European Forum

FinlandGreat BritainGermanyNorway


 European Forum Committee Meeting:

 2nd-4th November, 2018


My third year as Great Britain’s representative on the European Forum was the first in which I did not have the responsibility of chairing the committee. I have passed on the gavel to Elisabeth Stärner from Sweden who is doing a brilliant job. We had already had a virtual meeting via Skype before we met together.

Our meeting took place in Rastede, Germany – a small, very pretty town somewhere between Bremen and Hamburg. Daniela von Essen, our German representative, had kindly organised accommodation for each of the members, as well as the location of our meeting.

Back row: Ria Logtenberg (The Netherlands), Daniela von Essen (Germany)

Middle row: Terttu-Triin Tomusk (Estonia), Helga Magnea Steinsson (Iceland), Elisabeth Stärner (Sweden – Chair), Iida Hyvönen (Finland)

Front row: Barbara Carlsen (Norway), Kathrin Hodgson (Great Britain)

The journey was long but interesting; I flew from Gatwick to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, and caught a train from there to Groningen in the Netherlands. What an amazing way to access the station platforms from the airport – each had a lift from within the airport to the required platform – I’ve never seen anything like it – how efficient! In Groningen, I was met by Ria Logtenberg, the Dutch member, and we completed the trip in her car – a further hour or so. The weather was glorious – dry and crisp – and we arrived on time and, certainly in my case, quite refreshed.

Our new Regional Director, Ingibjörg Jónasdóttir, joined us for the meeting. We gathered together in Daniela’s home for a meal and to begin work on what was an extensive agenda. We discussed the nominations for the European Achievement Award in preparation for a more thorough look and decision the following day. There were not nominations from all of the European countries, and it was suggested that all new State Presidents should be reminded of the deadline, during their training, for nominations by 15th October of even numbered years.

The bulk of our work took place on the Saturday at Sportforum VfL, Rastede. It was a very long day, but we made good progress and the most important information to report includes the following:

  • The International Conference – in Reykjavik, Iceland – begins at 5:00 pm on Thursday 25 July and lasts until 3:00 pm on Saturday 27 July (this is one day shorter than in previous years). Leadership training will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday (23-24 July). Recently renamed breakout sessions are to revert to their previous title: workshops.
  • Tours in Iceland are still being investigated; it is possible that tours will not be organised as part of the conference activities, but information provided for attendees to make their own plans. Please check the European and Icelandic websites for latest news
  • Discussion of pre-conference - consideration was given as to what would encourage members to arrive early. The possibility of visiting two or three schools – perhaps on the Thursday morning – was a strong contender – watch this space!
  • Nominations for the Achievement Award were considered once again and a recipient decided upon. Hopefully, an appropriate award will be designed and made by a college student studying art.
  • Celebrating Europe Luncheon – this is to be organised by Iceland; they will be asking for involvement from members.
  • It was agreed that the yearly fee for the European website should be paid from the Forum budget.
  • The future of EuForia was considered and all members were to be asked to complete a very short questionnaire about whether they read EuForia on a regular basis to assess whether it is still necessary in light of the greater use of websites. Note: this survey has been sent to members – sadly, less than 10% of European members have so far responded. If you have not yet done so, please let the Regional Director and the Chair of the Forum Committee know what you think by following the link.
  • Exchange Programme – specifically for younger members - Daniela will write some words that will appear on the European website, and can be used at chapter and state meetings.

The next meeting of the Forum Committee will take place on the weekend of 1-3 November in Tallinn.

Kathrin Hodgson (European Forum Member)