Opening session, Sunday 9 July 2000, 15.00 - 17.00
Distinguished Guests and Colleagues:
It gives me great pleasure on behalf of the ICEVI Executive Committee to bring you warm greetings from the entire ICEVI family on this wonderful occasion.
As those of you who are active members of ICEVI know, our organization is currently going through a very exciting transition. At our 10th World Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1997, ICEVI adopted new directions that have been outlined in a policy document that was developed during the last quinquennium. At that heart of these new directions is ICEVI's efforts to empower and strengthen our eight regional units throughout the world.
No where has this new policy been implemented as fully and enthusiastically as here in the European region. Under the leadership of Herman Gresnigt and his regional committee Europe has become a model ICEVI region.. Here in Europe we have an extremely active regional committee which has implemented a number of exciting programs during the past few years.
The "twinning" projects that have been implemented here in Europe have established powerful and lasting connections between organizations in Eastern and Western Europe. These programs represent what can only be referred to as a "win-win" situation. Professionals that have participated in these projects have all benefited; and most importantly the blind and low vision children they serve have become the ultimate winners.
Our Executive Committee is also very pleased with a number of workshops and publications that have been developed here in Europe over the past several years. The two workshops on teacher preparation along with a recent workshop on vocational training and employment have addressed important needs that will have far reaching benefits for blind and low vision children throughout the region. These activities combined with the active special interest groups that have been promoted by the European region of ICEVI are all examples of the type of actions that those who shaped the new policy directions of ICEVI had in mind when that document was developed.
While a hearty word of congratulations must go to all members of the European regional committee and national contact persons; a special word of thanks and congratulations on this occasion must go to that person whose vision and drive has made all of this, Herman Gresnigt. Herman, we are all very proud of your accomplishments in making ICEVI such an active and vital organization here in Europe and we sincerely thank you for your efforts.
However, I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge a less visible partner that Herman has had as he has accomplished so much over the past eight years; his lovely wife Annemijn. Annemijn when we salute Herman for his tremendous accomplishments we also acknowledge your assistance and support for all that has been achieved.
May I wish you all a very enjoyable and productive week here in the beautiful city of Krakow and close by extending a special and personal word of thanks to the Polish Host Committee who have worked very hard for so many months to make this regional conference a reality. Thank you.
Overbrook School for the Blind
6333 Malvern Avenue
Phila., 19151, USA
Fax: + 1 215 878 8886
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