Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Manchester Experience

I have been away from business for a few weeks and only now can write about my Manchester/Russian experience..

The conference itself was great and so was the atmosphere, I had an awe inspiring time speaking, mingling, dancing and drinking with nearly 200 enthusiastic participants.

The subject area I was speaking about was People and Change and the participants were from Russia, Mongolia and the New Independent State [NIS] like Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. All of them were on an EU-funded Management Training Programme and this was their end-of-programme - the Europa Seminar at Manchester University.

JF at Europa medley

Here was a group of people who were not only motivated by this programme but firmly intent on doing something with what they had learned back in their own countries to affect much needed change. In talking to them further [over a few vodka's as you do], it became apparent that this was not going to be easy for them to overturn many years of traditional management style and former regimes.

What was clear however, was their determination in the face of adversity. Former MTP1 alumni participant, Tatiana, proffered a shining example of someone who had achieved such major change in her home town through the development of her real estate business newspaper. She clearly inspired those on MTP3 with her words and the raptuous applause said it all.

My thanks go to all those that I met, I am afraid that I remember only a few names such as Max, Vadim, Natasha and Natasha, Iryna, Christyakova, Eugeni, Mikhail, Nelya, Elena, Evgeniy, Yulia, Lesya, Carine, Christiana, Sergey and of course Oleg [who danced me round the floor to the Beatles tribute band most of the night] and to those with whom I drank and sang Russian songs and finally played volleyball on the grass at 3am! [thank you for the present of the ball, my daughter loves it].

JF at Europa dinner

Hobbling back to the hotel [to do with my having broken the heel off my shoe - never play volleyball in high heels - and not from the drink or my age you understand] I carried with me some wonderful memories from a group that I hope get to realise their ambitions and dreams.

Perhaps, this then reminds us in the UK that it is good to have ambitious and far reaching dreams and strive each day to turn them into a reality. For those of you who have promised to get back in touch with me, please do, and also when you read this blog, perhaps post some comments in the box that pops up with your own memories of your trip to UK.

Some pictures that captured the themes and the feelings are posted here..

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