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31st Aug, 2016

I Took a Leap and I Liked It!
by James Lambert on August 31, 2016 09:07

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I took a Leap and I liked it…

A year ago, I graduated from Leap and immediately emailed the 2016 COC Director to let him know that I wanted to get involved in the next year’s programme.  This was an important goal for me in 2016 and I am so pleased to look back and realise that I did it.

Moving from delegate to trainer, I have managed to learn more about myself and others. I was able to reinforce some of the outcomes from the year before and realise some new ones. Last year, I was a Local Director in Southampton  and this year I’m the Southampton Local President and over the past year the skills I gained during LEAP 2015 have come in  handy during a very busy and challenging year.

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Photo credit: Neal Stirk

From receiving advice to giving advice: I realised that I have a lot to offer to others and vice versa. One of the best moments was when I saw our ex Intern Ruthie, who took part in the academy, and realised how much she had gained and learnt by our side.

Taking me out  of my comfort zone (again), I delivered two training sessions with advanced trainers (thanks for your patience guys!), led the icebreakers as well as a team exercise. This really was an experience like no other. Why? Because it feels incredibly good to share your knowledge and experience with others and see how different delegates learn from each other.

It is such a positive and empowering experience to be listened to for what you know and to be congratulated for what you’ve achieved, even when you didn’t realise how well you have done!

And finally, to see how our great delegates have changed across the weekend.

Don't be scared to challenge yourself, it feels just good. I have enjoyed every minute of it and I can see my desire for training is also growing. This is definitely an outcome I didn’t see coming as it was not one of my main reasons for joining JCI.  But it is definitely one that will make me stay(until I’m too old for the J in JCI ).

 

Want to know more about LEAP? I guess I will see you next year because what happens on LEAP stays on leap.

Célestine Onomo, a great trainer to be.

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26th Aug, 2016

3 months to go...JCI UK National Convention 2016
by Sarah Beckwith on August 26, 2016 12:43

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Have you got your ticket yet for the highlight of the JCI UK calendar?  In three months time, the JCI UK National Convention will be kicking off at Innside, Manchester.  

Host chamber, JCI Manchester are doing a supurb job of organising the convention, with exciting keynote speakers David Weir and Quinton Fortune confirmed to speak.  There will also be the JCI UK public speaking, debating and extempore competitions, plenty of interactive training, the opportunity to network with members from across the UK and world, plus the gala dinner and awards ceremony.  More information about the programme can be found here.

 

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Paralympian David Weir and ex-Manchester United footballer Quinton Fortune will be special guest speakers at the convention

Accommodation is available at the convention venue, Innside, which can be booked via this form or in the Pendulum Hotel, which is around half a mile from Innside and can be booked via 0161 955 8000 quoting GA00559.  Alternatively try a hotel search site for deals on one of the many hotels in Manchester city centre.

Remember that cheap train tickets will be released around this time, so get booking for a bargain.

You can keep up to date with all the convention news via Facebook and Twitter.  What are you waiting for?  Book your ticket at Fatsoma today!

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24th Aug, 2016

Post by Philip Cockayne, Regional Group Chair of JCI Yorkshire 2016

I remember working on my CV when I was just coming into my third year at university. I'd gone from having no idea what I wanted to do to being interested in finance, technology, marketing, sales all the way down to just any graduate job.

I remember my first CV. It's funny, I've recently seem the LinkedIn phenomenon of #MyFirst7Jobs. I'm not on number 7 yet but my list looked something like this:

  • Paper-boy
  • Shop assistant 

Pretty bleak! However, like all third year students I was advised to 'sell myself' and link in my experiences, skills, any training, my out of work activities and my volunteering. They asked me to write a snappy one liner at the top of my CV articulating who what skills I had and where I'd got them from. If I remember correctly, the list looked something like:

  • Punctual - because I had a paper-round and was always on time (most of the time)
  • Team working - because I worked on a presentation in class jointly with other students
  • Retail management - because I worked in a shop
  • Leadership - because I was captain of the Basketball team
  • And so on...

Although I had some impressive stuff that would make my CV 'stand out' (being awarded an all expenses paid trip to Poland in order to study the concentration camps and three weeks as a volunteer agriculturalist in the Pyrennes) I didn't exactly have any real marketable experience.

I remember being told that everyone's in the same boat and that it's all about marginal gains; little things that make your CV stand out.

Four years since graduating, now is the time for reflection. I've definitely come a long way (being the Chairman of a volunteer organisations and the board member of a social enterprise) and I've noticed many students connecting with me and also seeing them at some of the events which we put on with JCI Bradford. I wanted to share an impartial view to you all.

If I can give you all one piece of advice it would be this; get out there and make something of yourself! Being captain of a sports team doesn't make you Churchill, running a promotional campaign for an event doesn't make you Don Draper and having a amateur finance blog doesn't make you Warren Buffet. Sure, it helps, but employers are looking for something a bit more ... impressive ... than that.

JCI (Junior Chamber International) has allowed me to explore myself as a leader by, wait for it, running an organisation in my spare time. Chambers are run by members so they're full of opportunities to demonstrate your capabilities (I often refer to it as a 'proving ground' when I'm explaining it). In my time with JCI I've done the following:

  • Successfully turned around a struggling organisation
  • Grown an organisation by 400%
  • Recruited, lead and developed a team
  • Acquired another organisation (believe it or not!)

On top of this I've had experience in both managing and growing a small organisation that needs a strategy, a board, strong finances, needs to market itself, run events, run projects in the community, sell the organisation to others etc. All skills any small businesses would want in a graduate - and something to fit every career ambition.

Along with that comes a network, the prestige (it's still a well recognised brand in the UK - especially when it was the British Junior Chambers of BJC) and finally, confidence! Confidence in yourself, your ideas and your assertions. 

If you can join a chamber and prove that your worth your dream job with some solid, qualitative experience - you'll 'wow' any interviewer and even find yourself in the top 1% (whenever I'm doing interviews - I always look for activities outside of work as being a key indicator of strong employee performance. Why? Anyone who's willing to give there free time voluntary to grow themselves is a keeper!)

So, here's the call to action. There are over 150,000 members of JCI around the world in 5,000 chambers in over 100 countries. There are 20 chambers in England at varying stages of growth. I was lucky that I found one that was struggling and made it my mission to turn it around. And I did! And I'm better for the experience.

It doesn't have to be JCI. It can be any type of organisation that provides you with an opportunity to show the world how great you really are. But if this does sound interesting to you, join up: www.jciuk.org.uk/join-us

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21st Aug, 2016

10 years as a JCI member
by Sarah Beckwith on August 21, 2016 08:46

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This month is my ten year anniversary as a JCI member.  I joined in August 2006 after hearing about the organisation from a uni friend.  I wanted to do some volunteering in London and meet some new people so came along to an open evening and the rest is history as they say. 

So why do I stay a member year after year?  It's because of the wide variety of opportunities I've experienced as a member.  Every year I've found exciting new challenges to push the boundaries of my comfort zone.  As long as I continually come away from events totally buzzing from the things I've learnt, people I've met and ways I've helped the organisation and its members, I'll continue to be an active member.

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Firm friendships made at COC Academy in Austria in 2010

 

Here are the highlights of my ten years as a member so far:

2006/07 - Joined, got involved in the Gift of Christmas appeal, was asked to join the council as community director.  First discovered just how far JCI can push you when I attended a series of public speaking workshops.

2007/08 - Attended my first national event (Awards weekend in Doncaster) and international event (European Conference in Turku, Finland) and started making friendships not just in my local organisation but around the country and the world.

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JCI London Debating Team at European Conference 2009 in Budapest

2008/09 - Started debating and took part in my first national competition (where we were thoroughly torn to pieces by very experienced reigning champions).  Entered the competition at European level where the JCI London team and the Yorkshire team made it to the finals and there was a tripartite debate with JCI Ireland.

2009/10 - I stepped up to become JCI London deputy president, something I never thought I'd do, but thanks to the encouragement of fellow members eventually did.  Attended my first international Academy, the COC Academy in Austria where I learned nothing is impossible when you put a group of JCI members together and sleep very little. 

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Union Jackage alert at first World Congress in Osaka, Japan in 2010

2010/11 - Was COC director for the first modern-format three day JCI UK National Convention. Attended my first World Congress in Osaka, Japan.  Became president of JCI London, which involved leading a team of 18 people, making a speech in front of nearly 100 people and representing the chamber nationally and internationally.

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Inauguration as JCI London President in the House of Lords in 2011

2011/12 - Won most outstanding Local President in JCI UK, which I'm hugely proud of and was a testament to how far outside of my comfort zone I stepped that year.  Became National Admin and Membership Director on National Board and was awarded with a senatorship (lifelong membership of the JCI for outstanding contribution to the organisation).

2012/13 - Continued to support the national organisation as Membership officer. Became part of the JCI UK international debating team for 2013, debating at European Conference in Monaco and World Congress in Rio.

2013/14 - Became Personal Development Director on National Board, a role very far outside of my comfort zone.  Established the JCI UK Public Speaking Academy with past National President Solveig Malvik.  Was an outdoor trainer at the European Academy in Sweden, part of an international team delivering team building to future local presidents from across Europe.

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Fun with the international outdoor training team at European Academy 2014

2014/15 - Led the JCI UK leadership academy LEAP.  Stood and was elected as Deputy National President.  Became a JCI "Global Networker" by graduating from JCI Academy in Japan with delegates from over 60 different countries from around the world.

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Graduating from JCI Academy in Japan with fellow Deputy National Presidents in 2015

2015/16 - The year I became National President.  An amazing opportunity, privilege and experience, which is adding to the many special memories I have accumulated over the years as a member.

 

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JCI takes you places - on top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio, Brazil with fellow members in 2013

 

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16th Aug, 2016

Member of the Month - Kathryn Brookes (JCI Barnsley)
by Sarah Beckwith on August 16, 2016 17:21

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Our JCI UK member of the month for July is Kathryn Brookes from JCI Barnsley.  Kathryn has been chosen for her outstanding work helping with the redesign of the "Pathways" documents, which are sent to all new members to help them get to know and get involved with JCI UK.  The Pathways booklets form part of the revamped new member packs which are now being distributed to new members.  You can see the Pathways booklets which Kathryn designed below.

JCI UK Membership Director, Ben Hawley, comments: "Kathryn has been key in the redevelopment of the Pathways documents. Her creative flare and design instincts means the new pathways document is a great tool to help engage our members".

As member of the month, Kathryn receives a £50 discount off the cost of a National Convention ticket as thanks for her outstanding contribution to the organisation.

 

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13th Aug, 2016

JCI London Peace Week Project Update
by Sarah Beckwith on August 13, 2016 18:37

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This year, JCI London are once again supporting the UN International Day of Peace on Wednesday 21st September 2016 in partnership with the international JCI campaign Peace Is Possible.   The project team are hoping to bring together JCI chambers around the world in the name of peace.

For the first time, peace is one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.  In the week of 21st of September, JCI London are inviting JCI UK members to stand up for peace and be part of a worldwide action supported by our World President, Paschal Dike.

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How you can participate? (You can join either one or all of them!)

1) Take a group picture with the peace week & peace is possible logos and send to the team (peaceweek@jcilondon.org.uk )

2) Record a short video (max 30sec) with a message of Peace (Name, Chamber, Country.. commit for Peace and if you have you can present your actions) and send in your video

3) Give free hugs or meet people and show them a respect sign to support the UN international Peace day on the 21th of September (shaking hands for example), capture it with pictures.

4) Organize a community event(s) related to peace in your chamber to support the UN international Peace day (with pictures)

 

Why get involved in Peace Day 2016?

  • Contribute to the advancement of the UN sustainable development goal number 16
  • Raise awareness about peace worldwide and in your community
  • Collaborate with JCI chambers from all over the world
  • Have fun while supporting a good cause


JCI Chambers around the world have been invited to participate in this project. Here is a message from the world president of JCI about making an action for peace: 

 

JCI London has been running a Peace project for the past four years and have had more than 80 countries participate in some of the above events.  You can find some of the highlights here:

JCI Peace Week Pictures 2015: https://goo.gl/photos/3uYCJg3Q7a8KqPJH6

JCI Mauritius Peace Day 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rm6XYd8H3PU

JCI Culture Bdrum/Istanbul (Turkey): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67Al0gw_q_Y


Peace Week Director, Marine Klein, said: "We are excited to have more countries joining us this year!  Our goal is to involve 100 chambers all around the world".  To contact the team, you can e-mail peaceweek@jcilondon.org.uk 

 

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Images from Peace Project celebrations from around the world

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29th Jul, 2016

Training Academy
by James Lambert on July 29, 2016 10:48

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Following the launch of the National Training Team in the autumn of 2015 the next step towards developing future JCI UK  Trainers was the creation of the first National Training Academy which took place on  4th and 5th June in Birmingham and I was lucky enough to take part.

The academy was designed and delivered by two of JCI’s experienced trainers, Emma Eastwood and Sarah Beckwith as well as Martin Gustafsson from JCI Sweden. During the academy participants learnt about the learning cycle and how different people learn in different ways.

During the weekend we learnt a lot of theory about how to deliver great training sessions and how different people learn in different ways. As part of the academy we were put into groups and had the challenge of delivering a 30 minute training session on any topic we liked. Therefore the first challenge was to find a topic on which the 3 of us (Epi from London, Sophie from Southampton and me) all felt comfortable delivering a session on. Lots of work was involved but when we came to deliver the training on the Sunday morning we did a really good.

Following completion of the academy I, along with Mark Smith from Sheffield and Michaela Schaller from Manchester, have met the criteria necessary to join the National Training Team (NTT). A few of our fellow delegates are extremely close to meeting all of the criteria and will undoubtedly be joining the NTT soon!

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A massive thank you to Emma, Sarah and Martin for all their hard work in creating this academy and for the passion and enthusiasm with which they delivered it. Also thanks to the JCI UK Foundation for their financial assistance and to BPP Birmingham for the use of their amazing training facilities. 

I'm really looking forward to putting the skills I learnt at Training Academy into practice at our leadership academy, LEAP, which takes place on 19th to 21st August. At the time of writing there are still a couple of places and I would highly recommend the academy - without it I would not have even contemplated delivering training. For more details check out the events page of the website.

If you have any questions about the National Training Team, the Training Academy or any other aspect of Personal Development please contact me by email at james.lambert@jciuk.org.uk

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21st Jul, 2016

JCI Admin in Greenwich
by James Lambert on July 21, 2016 08:46

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Post by Oris Ikomi from JCI Greenwich about his recent experience attending JCI Admin.

 

Having a been a previous member of JCI London, it was great to attend my first proper JCI training now as a JCI Greenwich member. Attending the Admin Training gave me a better understanding of the organisation and its structure, helping me to ease some of my frustrations from the past. I went away appreciating the complexity of the organisation and with a better understanding and clarity of how and where I can best be of help to the organisation.

The training was filled with laughter, banter about the Ugandan’s taking over JCI Greenwich (it’s an internal running joke amongst JCI Greenwich members), and a healthy-hot debate about the JCI creed (see below), which felt like being in the House of Commons. Despite the debate leading to a minor distraction from the training itself it was somewhat nourishing and good to hear different perspectives and cultural narratives about the creed.

JCI Creed:

That faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life; That the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations; That economic justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise; That Government should be of laws rather than of men; That earth's great treasure lies in human personality; And that service to humanity is the best work of life! 

So, what was my takeaways from the training?

Unity

I realised that there is a great need for all the JCI chapters in the UK to work more closely together in having a united vision on how we can make an impact politically and socially in the UK - like singing from the same hymn sheet. We should most certainly be taking advantage of the globally recognised, re-invoking the spirit of the founder, Henry Giessenbier.

I strongly sense a vacuum in the UK political landscape for an organisation like JCI to be champion of social justice and leadership development for young people. We should most certainly take advantage of the brand. 

To do so we will have to think differently from the current leaders and thinkers, and have the courage to push boundaries.

I’d like to finish off by saying a special thank you to Mary Mambwa for her hard work in organising the training, and also to Sarah Beckwith, 2016 JCI National President for delivering the training. And last but not least to my fellow JCI Greenwich members aka mini JCI Uganda (only joking haha). I love them really!

Together we can make a difference and put JCI on the UK map.

If you would like JCI Admin to be run in your chamber please contact your local Training Director and the National Personal Development Director, James Lambert 

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16th Jul, 2016

Member of the Month - Natalie Hutchins (JCI Southampton)
by Sarah Beckwith on July 16, 2016 10:14

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Our member of the month for June is Natalie Hutchins, who is the Events and Community Director for JCI Southampton.

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Natalie has embraced her role since November 2015 and has not stopped working on original events that not only support membership growth and retention, but also improve the relationship between the members of the chamber and the community.  Natalie has set and planned events for the whole year, giving the chamber the luxury to plan well in advance and ensure the quality of the events.  Her dedication and hard work have had a real impact on the level of attendance with events being sold out, including over 50 people at a recent Curry and Quiz night.

JCI Southampton President Célestine Onomo says "Always professional and driven, Natalie is a valued member of our chamber, for the members and for me as President. She's always by my side and should be rewarded for her dedication within the team for the last few months and her valuable work to get us closer to achieving our objectives with our charity of the year".

 

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12th Jul, 2016

What does a National President do at a European Conference?
by Sarah Beckwith on July 12, 2016 21:26

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You may have read previous blogs about international JCI events from participants, full of stories of inspiring keynote speakers, motivational training sessions and much networking with JCI members from all over the world at fun-filled parties. Whilst all of this is the main thrust of these events, the experience for national presidents and their deputies in quite different, although no less inspiring and tiring!  So what is it that a national president does at a European Conference?

I arrived into Tampere gone midnight after delayed flights on 14 June.  A few hours sleep later and I was up and dressed in business attire for my first meeting at 7.45am, a pre-meet with some fellow national presidents and deputies before our formal National Presidents Meeting began at 9am. This involved discussing current issues in the worldwide organisation and producing a report which would be sent to the international board of directors for consideration at their mid-year meeting.  I then caught up with another fellow national president over lunch to share experiences and we both then chatted to the chair of the conference, Executive Vice President, Jef Hendrickx to get some advice on the forthcoming meetings.  A quick walk took me back to the JCI UK base hotel where we had a briefing for the delegation of members and senators on highlights of the conference.  It was then a change into my finest  national colours themed black tie to head to the opening ceremony.  Waiting in line for quite a while (United Kingdom is the last national organisation in Europe alphabetically) to then head out on stage to be introduced to a crowd of over 1,000 people was definitely one of the most surreal experiences of my life.  Hearing the cheer and seeing the mass of union jackage from the JCI UK delegation in front of me was a very exhilarating moment.

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Flying the UK flag on stage at opening ceremony

Thursday began with Deputy National President, Michael and I attending the energising morning show, where (as always) a large and enthusiastic UK contingent showed up to hear about some of the projects and initiatives being undertaken by JCI around the world.  We then headed off for a meeting with our NOM2NOM (national twinning) buddies before attending a lunch celebrating next year's European Conference in Switzerland.  It was then time to take our place in the conference assembly.  This is where we hear reports from the international board of directors and headquarters, find out about which countries are hosting upcoming events and vote on motions regarding the future direction of the organisation.  I then dashed off to the first round of the public speaking competition to support our brilliant entrant Ilona Alcock, who breezed through to the finals.  The long day was not over yet, as I headed over to a reception hosted by the City of Tampere in their town hall, followed by the Latvian/Canadian party.

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City of Tampere Reception

Friday was another day jam-packed full of meetings: with World President Paschal Dike and other representatives from the international board, with our assigned Vice President Kaspar Ilves and our European Development Councillor Annalisa Schembri.  Each meeting was a chance to express the views of JCI UK, hear updates on initiatives from other parts of the organisation and work together on taking JCI forwards.  The afternoon was filled with another conference assembly, including the hard fought public speaking competition finals.  Afterwards another dash back to the hotel for a quick change before heading out to meet our friends from the Scotland, Ireland and Malta delegations for a bite to eat and catch up before the Swiss party.

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Conference Assembly

Conference assemblies were over, but that didn't mean an end to the meetings - Saturday morning saw me at the Twinning Ceremony where JCI Southampton twinned with Belgian chamber JCI Kortrijk, then on to another catch up over coffee and a brainstorming session between national presidents and the board of directors.  It was then finally time for a relaxing lunch with no responsibilities with the senators and even a quick rest, before getting ready for the gala dinner.  It was great to meet with the JCI UK delegation for pre-gala drinks to catch up on their activities during the conference and give out the traditional "not the awards".  

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After four days of meetings, Michael and I entering thegala for a night of celebrations

This was my eighth JCI European Conference and the gala was by far one of the best I've been to.  The venue looked spectacular, we were greeted with a welcome alley of JCI Tampere members in white tuxedos and the entertainment was brilliantly different.  Of course, to top it all off, I had the great pleasure of accompanying JCI UK's award winners from JCI Manchester (Best Local Growth and Development Programme), JCI London (Best Long Term Community Programme) and JCI Southampton (Most Outstanding New Member - Celestine Onomo) up on stage.  These awards were recognition of much hard work by our members, in many cases over several years and it was wonderful to celebrate with everyone there.  JCI UK has a reputation for perhaps not being one of the largest organisations in Europe, but always one of the loudest and most impactful and I couldn't be prouder to have led the UK delegation at EC 2016.

 

 

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