Have you ever been to Romania? I hadn’t before last Wednesday, but this is exactly where I have spent the best part of the last week, attending the JCI European Presidents Meeting (EPM) in the city of Sibiu, Romania.
The EPM takes place at the beginning of each year and brings together national presidents and deputies along with the JCI World President and his ‘senior team’ that support the national organisations all across Europe! The main purpose of this meeting is to share information, new initiatives, build relations and identify solutions to our challenges through a mix of interactive workshops and presentations.
I was very fortunate to be invited to attend the EPM with National President Solveig Malvik in order to present the JCI UK Marketing Academy and the JCI Sheffield mobile app, for which a proposal has been submitted by the local chamber to Head Quarters and which is currently being considered for international roll out.By coincidence, I happened to bump into President Bertolt on the final leg of the long journey to Sibiu so had the opportunity to start my work early! Upon arrival to Sibiu we were greeted by Mihaela Liliana Stroe, JCI Romania National President 2011, who worked tirelessly throughout the week to make sure everyone had a special experience!
In true JCI style, the days were extremely intense with presentations and interactive workshops taking place from early until late! Equally, in true JCI style the local team ensured that all of the delegates had a memorable experience by laying on activities such as Romanian culture night featuring local cuisine and entertainment and a trip to the theatre to see a spectacular show about Romanian history – a truly memorable evening!
Personally, to have the opportunity to work alongside other national presidents from across Europe as well as the JCI Europe ‘management team’ gave me a valuable and unique insight into how our organisation operates at this national/European level. I took part in numerous workshops including a PR and Media Masterclass, knowledge share workshops, strategic forums and even an international CSR conference! I also had the opportunity to present JCI UK projects to 70 JCI leaders from across Europe, including the world president!! A really fantastic opportunity!
One of the stand out activities however has to be the few hours we spent volunteering at a Romanian orphanage – we really did put our passion into action! Nearly 60 of us grabbed mops, brooms, cloths and shovels to give a little TLC to this centre – even President Bertolt led by example by cleaning out the kitchens with representatives from Cyprus, Turkey, Italy and Ireland!
Another ‘typical’ JCI experience was having the opportunity to catch up with some old friends whilst also making some great new ones! For me, this is always a highlight of any international JCI adventure and this time didn’t disappoint! Needless to say I will look forward to seeing everyone again at the European Conference in Braunschweig in June!
All that remains to be said is how completely honoured and privileged I was to represent JCI UK at the EPM but above all, I was extremely proud! JCI UK has a superb reputation at an international level and it’s great to know that with all of the activity that is planned for this year, across all the chambers, we can look forward to taking this to the next level in 2012!
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This post was written by James Lambert