Thursday, July 14, 2011

EFITA 2011 Conference - Impressions

imageThe EFITA 2011 Conference, which took place in Prague, Czech Republic between July 11-14 is officially over. I had the opportunity to be in the Conference from the beginning on Monday and leave after its closing on Friday. During these days I attended a number of interesting lectures, made a presentation for the Organic.Edunet Web portal (User Satisfaction Analysis) in the EFITA – ICT Adoption Session, was responsible for the VOA3R Workshop (with the precious help from Diane!) and made 3 presentations in that workshop (on behalf of my colleagues from Rural Inclusion, Organic.Lingua and my presentation for Organic.Balkanet). Also I attended and participated in the Rural Inclusion Workshop. All of them on the same day. I didn’t have much time to be prepared for all these, as this trip to Prague was the third (and last) of a series of three consecutive 5-day trips (Maribor, Slovenia for the Organic.Balkanet 4th Project meeting and Malta for the I.S.L.E. Summer School).

Presenting the VOA3R Review Process
During the EFITA Conference I had the opportunity to meet new people from various institutes and make interesting conversations with them. It was also an opportunity for me to meet some of the VOA3R project partners for the first time and some of my old teachers and colleagues, like Prof. Sideridis from AUA (Greece) and Prof. Roman with Maria Toader from USAMVB (Romania). The Conference was really well-organized in various aspects, from the transportation of participants to and from hotels to the nice joint events (the latter gave us the opportunity to taste the local beers/wines and dishes – especially the Monastery event on Thursday evening was really nice!). Internet access was available almost everywhere (but it was not always easy to use laptops, as the clicking sound of the keyboard was really annoying!), staff members provided help all the time and the premises of CULS were really appropriate for such event, especially the smaller rooms hosting the Workshops and various individual sessions.
Family photo of the VOA3R partners after the 2011 VOA3R Workshop

Prague is a really nice place to be, full of sightseeing spots, easy access to most places through the well-organized public transportation system and nice places to have a beer/snack/lunch. The existence of the river in the city was really amazing, especially when combined with all these sights around. However, I was in the unpleasant position to have my luggage forgotten in the intermediate stop to Geneva so I arrived in Prague only with my backpack, containing only my gadgets (netbook, digicam, mobile phone etc.), but with no clothes. I had to spent a full day with the same clothes and some complimentary stuff provided by SWISS in a really nice messenger bag (e.g. toothbrush/toothpaste, shampoo/shower gel, shaving stuff etc.). It was really strange to be at the Conference wearing my bermudas and a not-so-formal shirt!
I found the Conference really interesting and a nice way to promote and disseminate your work. I just wish I had more time to wander around Prague…