70 participants attended EFIL’s General Assembly 2017, hosted by our Member Organisation in Czech Republic. Among the participants were the leadership of the Partners of the European network of EFIL, as well as guests from AFS International, including the President and CEO Daniel Obst.

A well attended EFIL induction session was scheduled for newcomers in the European AFS network on Thursday afternoon.. Preceding the opening dinner of the General Assembly, the host organisation AFS Czech Republic offered a welcome drink to the GA attendees, with welcome words by Lukas Jandac, Chair of the Board of AFS Czech Republic, and Ekaterina Bagdasarova, Chair of the EFIL Board of Directors.

To officially open the GA on Friday morning, Klara Kutisova, National Director of AFS Czech Republic, welcomed and introduced the key-note speaker: Prof. Jan Sokol, Czech philosopher and former politician who served as Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, who was a Member of Parliament, and first dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Charles University in Prague.

An overview of EFIL’s achievements of the past two years in the various activity fields and result areas was presented by the EFIL staff, with additional focus on the challenges ahead and on the way forward (actions scheduled as per Business Plan 2017-2018).  This session was followed by the EFIL’s Board accountability session, including an overview of the Board’s work over the past two years, and special focus on the finances (financial report 2015-2016, draft budgets 2017-2018) and the proposal for a new membership fee system.

In the afternoon discussion groups, participants had the opportunity to go into deeper discussions with their colleagues, and with the EFIL staff and Board members, and help shape the future of EFIL’s work. Topics selected included training, new partner development, advocacy, class exchanges, summer programmes and the development of a solidarity strategy.

Sessions on Saturday morning included a much appreciated presentation by Roberto Ruffino, EFIL’s Honorary Chair, who gave a talk on globalising education in which he took us on a walk through history. An interview format had been chosen for a session with AFS President and CEO, Daniel Obst. Topics included the role of regional networks, new partner development, fundraising, market developments in a competitive landscape, AFS’s mission in today’s society and repositioning AFS for the 21st century.

The GA’s statutory session was chaired by Amalie Ferdinand, member of the international Board of Trustees. Agenda points of the statutory session included, among other topics, the election of 4 EFIL Board members, a motion submitted by AFS Germany/Italy to increase EFIL’s efforts in promoting intercultural awareness within the European Commission, the endorsement of the new membership fee system, and the applications for EFIL membership by 8 organisations. For more information on some selected topics, see elsewhere in EFILife.

Last but not least, a big thank you goes to the host, our Member Organisation in Czech Republic for being the perfect host, and to all the participants for their valuable contributions to the success of the event.