Pioneers of Green VET

7-10 May 1992, Erstein, France. Reunion of 2000 young European Green VET students (Rassemblement de 2000 Jeunes Europeens de l’Enseignement Agricole)

 

History of EUROPEA started in 1988, the year that saw the first reunion of the Green VET actors in Vire (FR), and the establishment of the Carrefour network. 1989-1991 was a crucial period as well for it brought us the creation of EUROPEA and its committee of organisation (COE – Comité d’Organisation) with the task to set the “May 1992 in Strasbourg” event.

Pic no1: Packed Main Square in Erstein!

The idea of such a meeting was launched after the success of the Grande Moisson in Paris, and the decision of the French Ministry of Agriculture to organise a spectacular gathering for students in Green VET and put together an agenda that would encourage cooperation in the fields of sport, culture and professional training.

 

The project got on its way in Luxembourg on 16 October 1991 with the departure of the “European Relay”, a small object that was to be carried all around the continent symbolizing unity and belonging together. It travelled from country to country, from school to school by many different means of transport: bus, train, plane and sometimes it was even carried individually by runners just like in a real relay race.

It finally arrived in Erstein, near Strasbourg (FR), on the very day of 7 May 1992 when already the first delegations from the participating Green VET colleges started to turn up for the big event. And during the next four days, from 7 to 10 May 1992, some 2000 (!) youngsters spent a quality time together completing a packed programme including professional workshops, round table discussions, exhibitions, concerts, parties and sporting events.

Pic no2: Fons and the flag!

Fons Logtenberg, our colleague from LTA (Lycée Technique Agricole, LU), was a student then and lucky enough to be one of the participants. “Those were big times.” – he explains. “Boarders fell down, we opened up towards Europe and Europe opened up for us. It was great to realize that even vocational students can travel and take part in those milestone events.”

“Names of my peers I can recall are Christiane, Carlo, Ginette, Dan, Gusti, Paul … We were the Pioneers of Green Knowledge (“Pionniers du Savoir Vert”), we took part in the preparations and we were together in Erstein. However, we owe a lot to our teachers who made it possible for us to get there: Norbert Feltgen (principal), Fernand Leesch (vice principal), Georges Krack (president of COE), Henri Kohnen, Jemp Steichen and Martine Hansen.

“It was awesome. Students from different countries mingled, made friends and had great fun together. We returned home with the overwhelming feeling that Europe is really becoming united, and I was thrilled to have had a first-hand experience of that.”

“This journey definitely had a decisive effect on my life. Soon after the Strasbourg meeting I was invited to work for LTA with projects on crop research, a job that I accepted and have had ever since. I am pleased to have been part of EUROPEA from the very beginnings. My special thanks to Georges Krack, who urged me to get to Erstein, Martine Hansen, who arranged the project and Norbert Feltgen, who offered me the job. “

During the 2015 EUROPEA Autumn Seminar in Luxembourg Georges and Fons were honoured by Mr. Fernand Etgen, Minister of Agriculture in Luxembourg for the long time they spent in European cooperation.

And we are happy to join in and repeat the slogan of our campaign:

Salute the founders and long live EUROPEA!

 

Acknowledgements: many thanks to Fons (LU) for the interview he gave us during the FR/UK meeting in April 2018; and Georges (LU) for the valuable details.

Photos: Fons (LU)

For more pictures visit our Facebook site.

 

By Judit Čović (HU), leader of EUROPEA Editorial Group for the History of EUROPEA Campaign, 2018

Based on the documents entitled “Europäische Projekte” and “EUROPEA-Historique” by Georges Krack available in German and French here: Recollections

From Carrefour to EUROPEA

 

Pic no1 – The First CARREFOUR Meeting, Vire, 1988

In 1988 the first Carrefour meeting launched the cooperation of Green VET schools in Europe. The time was right for more great things to come.

In 1989 France celebrated the Bicentenaire, 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. As part of the festivities, the spectacular “Grande Moisson” (Big Harvest) took place on the Champs Elysées in Paris on 24/06/1990. It was an outstanding event during which the famous avenue was turned into a huge field of crops overnight. Then, the next day it was harvested displaying ancient and modern techniques, tools and machinery in an impressive fashion.

It was a tremendous success. The French Ministry of Agriculture, also responsible for Green VET, decided to build on that and organize something equally spectacular in the field of agricultural education.  Using the concept of a sporting event that took place during the Bicentenarie, the idea popped up to gather Green VET students from all the EU countries in Strasbourg in May 1992.  The Ministry had several responsible persons working on the task: Jacques Bourdreux, Françoise Arthus, Max Gotesman, Nicolle Maquignon, Annie Burguet, Eric Grognier.

Also, the already established circle of CARREFOUR friends was asked to help with the organization. Thus, the two French founders, Jean-Luc Ravat () and Annie Bouatou were actively involved in the groundwork. The name Carrefour de l’Enseignement Agricole (Crossroads of Agricultural Education) gave the basis for branding this new movement as l’Europe de l’Enseignement Agricole (The Europe of Agricultural Education) or EUROPEA.

Pic no2 – LTA students, LU, 1991

During the next period the organising team met several times; in Luxembourg, France, Belgium and Italy in order to get everything ready for the “May 1992 in Strasbourg” project. Apart from adults, these meetings were also attended by youngsters, Pionniers du Savoir Vert (Pioneers of Green Knowledge).

At the reunion in Paris (FR) a supervising team named COE Comité d’Organisation EUROPEA (Organizing Committee of EUROPEA) was established and while Luxembourg held the EU presidency that year, Georges Krack (LU) was appointed the first president of COE. This way it became easier to get financial support for the Strasbourg meeting. (A routine we still keep today with the organisation of our bi-annual seminars.)

Finally, this milestone event with the ambition to bring together 2000 (!) Green VET students and teachers officially got on its way with an opening act on 16/10/1991 in Luxembourg.

Stay with us and find out more about “May 1992 in Strasbourg” in our April article 😊 Until then:

Salute the founders and long live EUROPEA!

 

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Georges (LU), the first president and Fons (LU), one of the pioneers who got to Strasbourg in May 1992 🙂

 

By Judit Covic (HU), leader of EUROPEA Editorial Group for the History of EUROPEA Campaign, 2018

Based on the documents entitled “Europäische Projekte” and “EUROPEA-Historique” by Georges Krack available in German and French here: Recollections

See all our articles about the History of EUROPEA

Crossroads of the Past

2018 is the year of EUROPEA! Our association is 25 years old considering the famous 1993 January meeting in Ettelbruck (LU) as the starting point when The Statutes were signed by the eight founding countries. But did you know that the idea to bring European Green VET students and teachers together dates back all the way to 1988?

Eventually, it all began with a bilateral exchange between two vocational institutions: Epe (NL) and Troyes (FR). One of the teachers in charge from the French partner, Jean-Luc Ravat (ꝉ) wanted to broaden the collaboration and soon preparations for a bigger scale event started.

Meanwhile, Jean-Luc was appointed the headmaster of Vire (FR) and slowly everything got ready for a new kind of reunion. The name CARREFOUR (Carrefour de l’Enseignement Agricole) came into being, and in the spring of 1988 160 students and 20 teachers got together for their very first CARREFOUR meeting held in Vire. Participants came from 8 schools and 6 countries with their responsible teachers:

Pic no1: Annie Bouatou and Jean-Luc Ravat (ꝉ).

  • Bremervörde (DE): Karl-Heinz Wilke
  • Brussels (BE): Walter Meyfroid
  • Ettelbruck (LU): Georges Krack
  • Epe (NL): Wim Brouwers
  • Sparsholt (GB): John Britton
  • Otley (GB): John Pearson
  • Troyes (FR): Annie Bouatou
  • Vire (FR): Jean-Luc Ravat (ꝉ)

(Most of these names will later appear in connection with EUROPEA!)

 

The event lasted a whole week, and everything went extremely well. And “Because of the very big success of the meeting, participating teachers decided to let the story go on. Georges Demeester, headmaster of the Brussels school, arrived on the evening before departure to announce proudly that they are taking over the organisation of the second meeting next year. And so, CARREFOUR was born…” admits Georges Krack, one of the founding fathers of EUROPEA.

Over the past 30 (!) years CARREFOUR has changed and improved. With the Comenius, Leonardo and Erasmus+ frames the organisers have had the opportunity to provide a firm financial background for the meetings. It has run under different names (e.g. Hedges & Bridges, Water & Wind, SEM, SKILL, STEP), but it has preserved the good old CARREFOUR idea and the feeling of belonging together. What was originally meant to be a single event turned into a tradition that goes on uninterruptedly even today.

Pic no2: Karl-Heinz Wilke and Georges Krack.

While CARREFOUR has its own delightful story, it also has a huge significance for our association since it served as a cradle for those ideas, concepts and decisions that ultimately led to the foundation of EUROPEA (l’Europe de l’Enseignement Agricole).

How it actually happened? Well, stay with us throughout 2018 and learn more as we travel back in time trying to reveal all the details. Until then:

Salute the founders and long live EUROPEA!

 

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Madelon (NL), Evelien (NL) and Georges (LU) 😊

 

By Judit Covic (HU), leader of EUROPEA Editorial Group for the History of EUROPEA Campaign, 2018

Glimpse into History

14-15 January 1993 (!)

Cordially welcomed by Norbert Feltgen, headmaster and Georges Krack, president of the COE (Comité d’Organisation EUROPEA), a group of dedicated colleagues working in European agricultural education arrives at Lycée Technique Agricole in Ettelbruck, Luxembourg on 14 January 1993. They are on a mission: to create The Statutes of EUROPEA and establish a new kind of cooperation within the Green Sector of the continent. On the following day the document is completed, and EUROPEA (l’Europe de l’Enseignement Agricole) is in for a successful journey into the world of collaboration, professionalism, friendship and goodwill.

Exactly 25 years ago today, during the afternoon of 15 January 1993 The Statutes of EUROPEA were signed by 15 representatives of 8 countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal and The United Kingdom. Furthermore, the first Executive Committee was appointed with Jakob Kjaer (DK) as president, and the Belgian delegation was trusted to seek official recognition of the Statutes by the Belgian authorities.

Madelon de Beus, one of the Dutch delegates recollects her memories of those two days: ‘It was not easy. Norbert Feltgen (LU) was the president of the meeting, and Georges Demeester (BE), as a lawyer, explained the statutes. We spoke thoroughly about each article. As you can imagine, every country had its own opinion about how to run an association like this! But after two days we all approved The Statutes and EUROPEA was a fact!’

A new movement was undeniably launched, free to rise and ready for a rich and exciting future! Today, 25 years after this historic event, EUROPEA is proud to unite 25 countries, more than 1000 Green VET schools and it is stronger and hotter than ever.

Salute the founders and long live EUROPEA!

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Georges (LU), Jacob and Henrik (DK) 😊 Special thanks to Madelon (NL) 😊 😊

 

By Judit Covic (HU), leader of EUROPEA Editorial Group for the History of EUROPEA Campaign, 2018

2018 – Let’s celebrate 25 years of EUROPEA!

25 years – a success story

What started in 1993 with 8 countries – Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal and The United Kingdom – has developed into a real European network with already 25 member countries 25 years later. After the revision of statutes in 2015 EUROPEA (1) can now rely on well-established bodies to serve its members.

Organigram of EUROPEA

The network of green vocational training institutions pursues the following aims according to art. 3 of EUROPEA statutes:

  • stimulate training and exchange of agricultural and land-based students, teachers and staff members
  • promote partnership between the professional world and agricultural and land-based education and advisory centres
  • provide a platform for exchange of project products and of knowledge
  • encourage student competitions
  • facilitate intercultural exchanges
  • promote continuous education
  • support the development of thematic cooperation between members
  • study and disseminate results and knowledge regarding changes in the agricultural and land-based world
  • be involved in global cooperation in the agricultural and land-based training sector

What started with a paper newsletter in pre-digital times is now presented in numerous media providing up-to-date information to all members and the public as such.

Networks are only a foundation like infrastructure. On this basis – more can develop. If something develops, depends particularly on its members. EUROPEA members use Erasmus+ actions to exchange students and trainers, develop learning approaches and learning units, and create didactical and methodical tools and products to facilitate a modern learning process with a European dimension incorporated. EUROPEA competitions enable our students to meet fellow students from abroad and show their professional competences.

25 years of EUROPEA – time to honour the accomplishments of the past, reflect and raise awareness for future challenges, remember milestones and meet some of the founding members.

EUROPEA – Alone you go faster – together we go further!

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(1) Registration number: 450.983.484; Royal Decree WL 22/13.467, Brussels, 16 February 2017