EAPRIL 2012 Conference was held in Jyväskylä during 28-30 November 2012. The conference theme “Creating competence – Innovations in Learning and Development” was very topical for us. This international conference brought together many professionals from various disciplines across the education and training fields, not just teachers and teacher educators. Our Teacher Education College’s projects team also took part in the conference by demonstrating the many and varied RDI activities which they are involved in – proving that JAMK is indeed a competence creating innovator.
As Wednesday approached I think we were all a little bit nervous about hosting the EAPRIL 2012 conference. After all, we had never done anything like this before in JAMK. As the conference manager, I had had plenty of experience in organising events and conferences but never for this amount of delegates.
Discounting the 12 or so officials from the EAPRIL organisation, there was a team of around 100 JAMK “staff”, which included almost 70 of our students, working flat out to prepare for the delegates’ arrival. And then they came, and kept coming, more and more coming through the doors to OUR conference. All in all we had 276 delegates from five different continents. It was a truly great experience for us all to be standing there talking to people from many different European countries, as well as to those from as far away as Australia, Japan, Singapore, Uganda and Canada. I’m sure it will be an experience we will all remember for a very long time.
So, now I want you to imagine the scene on Wednesday morning after registration as all these visitors from various parts of the world were milling around Dynamo; all talking and asking questions in many different languages. Those 70 or so students I mentioned earlier were in the firing line. They had to deal with all kinds of accented English, and even on occasions German and French. They were faced with vocational academics of varying degrees from classroom teachers to university professors, all demanding some information or help from them. And this is the brilliant part; each and every one of them dealt with our visitors in such a friendly, helpful and professional manner that it led to Professor Frank de Jong, the EAPRIL chair, remarking in his closing speech that their performance had significantly contributed to the best conference the association had EVER had.
Therefore, I want to use this forum to publicly thank that group of students for all their hard work, professional dedication and, above all else, the smiles that they wore on their faces all day, every day. JAMK University of Applied Sciences can be proud of them. I know I certainly am.
There are of course many other individuals who worked equally hard during the preparatory stage and during the conference itself – you know who you are, stand up and take a bow – and I would like to take the opportunity of thanking them all here also.
It was hard work. There’s no doubt about that but I’d like to think it was all worth the effort. As an institution we have learned a huge amount and proven to ourselves and others that we can do it, and do it with style. Now, let’s find a bigger organisation to host. Onwards and upwards, dear colleagues and friends, onwards and upwards.
EAPRIL Conference Manager