REM LJUBLJANA AUTUMN 2017
5-8 October 2017
Last month we held REM in Ljubljana. Autumn is surely one of the most beautiful seasons in which to see Ljubljana, so the perfect moment for Rotaract Europe to hold an event. The Organizing Committee prepared an event, which took the participants through a journey of their city and country.
On Thursday, an ERIC team (Board and CRs) enjoyed a dinner at a local restaurant together. They were able to bond, share ideas and discuss their local customs with one another while also enjoying traditional folk Slovenian dances and food. After which they attended the welcome party in the Skyscraper. The Skyscraper afforded some of the most beautiful views of Ljubljana in all directions. Built in 1933 to designs by Vladimir Šubic, the Skyscraper was the tallest building on the Balkans and the ninth tallest building in Europe at the time of its construction.
During REM, we visited the Livada Primary School and planted trees in the school playground. This primary school is very unique and an interesting example for the Slovenian society. Not because of multiculturalism per se, but because the cultural diversity of its pupils – 98 % of whom are children of non-Slovenian parents – and is often mistakenly judged as having to do with their modest social standards, poverty, low-educated parents, bad knowledge of the language, and even values and behavioural patterns that are not always in sync with modern principles. In 2016, the Livada Primary School received the national recognition Apple of Quality in the category European Language Label in the priority area Multilingual Schools and Classrooms – embracing diversity in schools. Last year they have welcomed 11 pupils from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran. With its multiculturalism and the title EKO School, meaning it follows the principles of sustainable development and teaches young people how to live environmentally friendly, the Livada Primary School is a perfect place where bonds between their activities, Rotarian beliefs and the main theme of our event can be created.
Later in the day we enjoyed workshops organized by the Organizing Committee and ERIC team which was based mainly on green topics and divided into three different levels:
1) Macro – taking a look at an international level;
2) Micro – focusing at a local level;
3) Nano – targeting a personal level.
In the evening we enjoyed the Opening ceremony – I feel sLOVEnia
The Opening Ceremony took place at Ljubljana Castle. A medieval fortress and symbol of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. The mayor of Municipality of Ljubljana, Mr. Zoran Janković, addressed all of us to mark the opening of the evening. After which we went inside the castle halls to enjoy Country Booths and “I Feel SLOVEnia” through a feast of local and international food and drinks. Country booths are a unique opportunity to get to know the typical food, drinks and other traditions of the more than 45 countries in the ERIC. It was a great opportunity to meet a lot of new people and hear about upcoming Rotaract projects and events all over the world.
On Saturday morning we had the ERIC meeting
where we reviewed the team’s progress and voted on several topics and the location of REM October 2018. It was a very close competition but Limassol, Cyprus will be hosting the next REM. Following the meeting Lucky Dalena, Vice President of ERIC, provided a training to CRs with a focus on problem solving and idea generation. At the end of the training, Gabi, the CR of Luxembourg, presented a consolidated summary of all our ideas and action steps.
In the evening we had our Gala Dinner – Green Fairy-Tale
The gala took place in the Union Hotel – the first modern hotel in Ljubljana, designed by the architect Josip Vancaš, and it is a fine example of the Vienna Secession style. It was built in 1905, the birth year of Rotary. The gala was created in the eco-friendly style and it was perfect evening of a modern green fairy-tale.
At the gala we were also raising funds for Humanitarian project Sponsorship in Slovenia (https://www.boter.si/English/p/3350), who also received most of the funds raised during REM Ljubljana Autumn 2017.
The humanitarian project Botrstvo started in 2010 under The Association of Friends of Youth Ljubljana Moste-Polje. It concentrates on helping children and youth from socially disadvantaged families from all over Slovenia. The goal of the project is to connect children in need and people willing to help, with the intention of enabling better possibilities for healthy development and create equal opportunities for all children.
Project is directed in providing financial help to children in need for adequate nutrition, school or extracurricular activities, transport to school, medical equipment, healthy development and other expenses. With monthly support in sum of at least 30 euros by their “godfathers” and “godmothers” children are more able to integrate in life of peers and have better chances and encouragement to access their life goals. By the end of January 2017, “godmothers” and “godfathers” helped 5123 children in need from all over Slovenia.
TREE PLANTING AND ROTARACT AVENUE
Our social project during REM Ljubljana Autumn 2017 was tree planting and creating a Rotaract avenue. Trees remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the air, which helps slowing global warming. Trees are a vital part of existence of all living creatures.
We wanted to make something memorable and something that will help the environment, therefore we have decided to build a Rotaract avenue. In this way REM Ljubljana Autumn 2017 will leave a mark in Ljubljana and will also be something that we all will be proud of. Ljubljana was the Green Capital of Europe in 2016. Our Rotaract avenue will help make Ljubljana even greener.
With the Rotaract avenue we will also promote Rotaract and help people view the Rotary organization in a positive light. Not only do we provide the necessary help to those in need, but we also try our best to make a world a better place by acknowledging the fact that nature is important and that we need to preserve it.
This year’s Rotary theme is “Making a difference”. Rotary International President-elect Ian H.S. Riseley said that the time has long past when environmental sustainability could be dismissed as not Rotary’s concern. He said that the environmental sustainability is, and must be, everyone’s concern. The president-elect wants every Rotary club to make a difference by planting a tree for each of its members between the start of the Rotary year on 1 July and Earth Day on 22 April 2018.
As it was mentioned before, we visited the Livada Primary School and planted trees in the school playground. Furthermore, after REM Ljubljana Autumn 2017 we have also planted trees in Kindergarten Galjevica.
We would like to conclude the importance of our social project for REM Ljubljana Autumn 2017 with the words of Rotary International President-elect Ian H.S. Riseley:
“It is my hope that the result of that effort will be far greater than the environmental benefit that those 1.2 million new trees will bring. I believe the greater result will be a Rotary that recognizes our responsibility not only to the people on our planet, but to the planet itself.”
Overall, REM Ljubljana Autumn 2017 was a successful event, not only for Rotary Slovenia District 1912, but also for Ljubljana as a city. We have brought together more than 400 people from all over the world, created memories that will last for a lifetime and did something good for the world and the community that we live in.