From 29 May to 1 June 2018 , EFIL’s Member Organisations met in Copenhagen, Denmark, for their annual Heads of Office retreat (HOO).

We had a very full but appealing working agenda. During the first morning in an interactive sharing/learning/berst practice session participants discussed topics ranging from fundraising and scholarships, and AFS alumni, to investing in volunteer development, and diversification of destinations.

There were specific EFIL sessions on the fast developing trimester programmes (the European Citizenship Trimester Programme and the new PEACE Programme) and the future launching of a structured project of Class Exchanges in Europe. Elisa Briga, EFIL’s Head of Advocacy, gave a much appreciated update on EFIL’s efforts in the field of advocacy, with focus on the campaigns “recognise study abroad” and “increased pupil mobility”.

At our meeting, we also had the pleasure of the company of Lucas Welter and Nikki Angulo of the AFS International head office in New York, to guide us through sessions focusing on “Strategy Alignment, KPIs and Impact” and “Generative Governance”. We were very happy to have with us our colleague Marit Gronskei, National Director of AFS Norway but currently on maternity leave, who facilitated a much liked workshop on different social behavioural styles.

There were short presentations by Svetla Kaisheva on the positive developments of AFS in Bulgaria, by Sherifa Fayez encouraging the network to increase its commitment and support for AFS in Egypt, by the host Ulrik Wehner on summer programmes in Denmark, and by Eva Hoerwing about the situation with AFS in Sweden.

AFS Denmark treated the group to a city walk and a dinner on Wednesday night. To close the HOO retreat on Thursday afternoon, AFS Denmark had organised a group excursion to Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerod, and an out-of-this-world dinner at Gilleje Havn on the northern coast of Sjaelland.

A big thank you goes to Ulrik Wehner and Bojana Ilic and the team of AFS Denmark who were the perfect hosts of the event and did an excellent job in taking care of the logistics. It was hard for all of us to leave behind Copenhagen and go back to our desks, the e-mails, and the daily routine of our offices…