How is it to be in a Preparatory Committee?
Since my first WSCF-E Conference last October 2011, I wanted to become more involved in WSCF-E. So I went to the conference last spring in Bratislava to get some more experience. After this conference I knew I wanted to be in the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the upcoming event in Italy. Not only because I have a personal background to this topic but also I love to work in a team and to organize such events.
Once my application has been accepted the next step was to book my overnight trains for the first PrepCom meeting in Velletri, Italy. I was so excited to go and to meet the other team members. When I finally arrived in Velletri, I met with Márta, Hans, Joseph and Jill. Together we had a wonderful time. It was not only the really nice, hot Italian weather that kept us going on and the cheerful children that were laughing and screaming during the meals. Children who were drawing little hearts on our blackboard… but also the team, which after the end of the meeting developed as a great group.
After the three days we had a full schedule and we knew what our tasks were and how we would go on from there. Together with Márta I was in charge of reading the applications and we decided who would be accepted and invited to take part in the conference. I loved reading all these wonderful applications. But of course, the most interesting part for me was when I met the participants finally in Velletri for the conference.
Preparation of an event involves always several Skype meetings. We have had them almost every week. We were discussing the program and we were trying to find the lectures to make the schedule as perfect as it could be.
After all the preparations we met two days before the conference started at the venue. In Velletri we were organizing everything to make the stay for the participants as comfortable as possible. We were getting up early and were going to bed late because last minutes changes accrued. All needed to be done before the participants arrived. Time was running!
The most exciting day for me was when all the participants arrived. It was rainy and stormy day in Velletri! Then the conference started and the venue was full of students who wanted to discuss the topic critically. For me the arrivals are always so interesting because people from all over Europe come and get to know each other. Even though they are representing different cultures and backgrounds they make friends quick and easily. The atmosphere of understanding beyond any borders always fills the room.
The most stressful day for me was the excursion day, because I was in charge of it and I was organizing this day with the Hosting Committee (a group related to the venue that is helping with practicalities). Since the venue was an hour away from Rome, we wanted to go to the centre to see the city’s best. Even though I was stressed, I could really enjoy that day and after visiting the wonderful organization Sant’Egidio and see how much the participants liked the visit and how much they got inspired by their work, it was a great pleasure for me! And also that everyone came back to the venue without loosing anyone in Rome ;)
For me the PrepCom work was a great experience to get to know my skills and to make a great team building. I am a little bit sad that I could not join most of the lectures and I have to say sorry that I looked all the time so stressed and tired. Even if it did not look like that, I was really happy and I enjoyed the event so much!
Overall I had a great time with the participants, the Hosting Committee and the PrepCom and I want to say thank you to all of you, who made the conference a great event!
Annika Foltin (Austria) was a PrepCom member of WSCF-E solidarity Conference “Who is My Neigbour? Migration and Xenophobia in Europe”
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