We are now one month after the end of this moving and enriching experience and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all delegates from 35 countries who took part in our congress and each and every one of them have highly contributed to its success.
The Congress in Israel took place in the central Campus of the Ono Academic College near Tel Aviv. This is where I work actually as Deputy Dean of Humanities and I am most thankful to the College authorities who enabled us to hold the congress there the week before starting the new Academic Year.
510 participants registered to the congress, and many of them presented pieces from their work or research, therefore we had a rich and varied program prepared by the scientific committee headed by Prof. Shalhevet Attar-Schwarts, from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The morning sessions were organized in plenary hall (while Yoav Apelbaum tried to teach everybody modern Hebrew…), and after lunch we could split to 13 parallel sessions.
The quality of presentations were good and the variety of countries participating gave the sessions a real flavor of international and intercultural exchanges. The day before the congress was formally open, FICE Federal Council members gathered in Ben Shemen youth village for a full day of FICE meetings.
First FICE's General Assembly and later the meetings of the Federal Council. There was also a meeting of FICE Editorial Board to speak about future publications' programs.
There were also artistic presentations by young people living in different residential care settings in Israel. In the opening session, the philharmonic orchestra of the youth villages gave a short opening concert. A short video prepared by young people living in residential care gave us the flavor of being in care in Israel. During lunch break, a group of children from Ahava child and youth village gave a drum concert, and from messages I receive from all over, the Israeli food that was offered was highly appreciated… Second day has been dedicated to "care leavers". The highlight was a panel of Israeli care leavers who spoke about their own personal perspectives and their needs in this crucial transition process.
The Congress Gala was organized in the Hakfar Hayarok (green village) youth village. The children and youth living in this youth village prepared for us a beautiful artistic program including a performance. First, their orchestra with 40 young musicians, and later a choir composed of small children together with adolescents that sang beautifully. The whole evening was monitored by young people from the International School. Congress Participants had also the opportunity to dance a little bit, so everybody went home happily after the dinner.
Tuhinul Khalil Islam, giving an overview about residential care around the world, started last day of the congress with an illuminating presentation. A panel of Israeli Welfare Ministry presented the new policy concerning out-of-home care they are trying to implement. In the closing ceremony, there were some artistic presentations by Ethiopian youth from Youth villages and student from the Music Faculty of Ono Academic College.
A moving message was heard by Lisa Miara, a Jewish volunteer from Jerusalem who is organizing humanitarian help to refugees in camps in Irak and Sirya.
Friday Morning, after the formal program of the congress was over, field visits were offered to participants who chose to take part in them. One bus went to the direction of Jerusalem and visited residential care facilities in the neighborhood of Jerusalem. Second bus went to the North, visiting Ahava children's youth village (that Yoav Apelbaum is its dynamic Director). On the way back they visited also the city of Haifa. Third Bus went to visit Shfeya youth village and the old city of Caesarea. All participants were very satisfied from these enriching and interesting visits.