Rudina Hoxha @ EFA2013
European Forum Alpbach, Centuries of Success
To me, the European Forum Alpbach 2013 (EFA) was like an inspiring novel into which I was engrossed for 21 days. On each of these days, it chronicled colorful stories, inspiring and unforgettable characters and timeless lessons of some of the world’s greatest speakers and moderators as well as great men and women from the spheres of politics, business and art. Here and there, participants were moved like a novel brings its readers to tears. For example, it was not easy to keep tears when the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Mrs. Kristalina Georgieva from Bulgaria was moved when she said from the podium that “her reservoirs of hope are replenished every time she sees that the youngsters are believing more and more in the fact that values mean more than money.” Or when one of the moderators, the German journalist, Mrs. Susanne Glass mentioned Albania for the first time on one of the panels. After the Forum, she would confess to me that Albania was the cradle of a kind of hospitality she will never witness else again in her lifetime.
Among the many reasons, the EFA was one-of-a kind because it brought the 4500 participants from 52 countries together without any differentiation. We felt like a huge family where each had the right to stand up and say its mind though among us were the leading world policy representatives, high EU commissioners and top figures, Nobel-prize winners, one of the best BBC presenters, the Special Adviser to Secretary General of United Nations and many others. Borders were melted down. Even Serbian and Kosovar students were there talking and discussing together. My roommate was a 21-year old Serbian lady who was studying political sciences in Serbia. We grew a friendship hoping to meet again in some other regional event. Only EFA created such an unique atmosphere where all felt equals among the equals.
EFA provided me with a bag of new ideas, mostly inspired by the people I met and the electrifying atmosphere created. I met such communicative, sincere and open-minded people that I could not but get going. The concern of these people was focused on a better future for the world in general and for the small countries and even smaller ones in particular. This new perspective boosted me to interview and get opinions from a broad range of people. These interviews and articles were published by the Albanian press bringing a new window from one of the peaceful places in the world – Alpbach. As a result, I am today a journalist with a bigger bag of ideas and contacts on my shoulders.
Seeing the dedication and the passion of the EFA organizing team and the most interesting triangle – The EFA President, Franz Fischler, the EFA Managing Director, Philippe Narval and the charismatic and the unstoppable Erhard Busek, who kept the post of the EFA President for 12 years (2000-2012) – it is actually impossible not to say that EFA is a story representing centuries of success.