I have heard that you are coming to Portugal next July and that you will be staying in Coimbra for one week. I sincerely hope that you enjoy your stay as much as I have enjoyed each time I visited you, in Maastricht, Barcelona, Milano and Stockholm, in your newsletters and in your Web site.
Forgive me for being so "Portuguese" but I believe that you have many good reasons for coming to Portugal and, specifically, to Coimbra. This is a very sunny country, with warm and friendly people . It is our wish to make you feel "at home", just like you are supposed to feel everywhere. Coimbra is a charming city made of students' dreams and hopes, which you will discover in each note of their music, Fado. Just like you, Coimbra has a large community sharing deep interests and concerns about Education. With over 700 years now, its University is a fundamental universe in the city's life and a reference in the Portuguese higher education system.
This will probably be an excellent opportunity for you to meet professionals from many different Portuguese higher education institutions and (who knows?) to make new friends. And, of course, your "old friends" are waiting for you. Maybe this can be a start to enlarge your "P" section in your participants lists.
I hope that soon you decide to come for a conference, and give many of your friends, from all over the world, a chance of visiting us as well. Portugal, and particularly its higher education sector, have registered a remarkable development as far as its internationalisation processes are concerned, specially in the last few years. However, I believe that there are many people working in this field who have been missing the right training opportunities and, in many cases, not having access to relevant information and contacts. I deeply believe that you can play a key-role in this process, as you become better known amongst the Portuguese professionals involved in international education. You were surely fundamental in my case.
I will not be seeing you next July because I have already attended course III, in Milano, a couple of years ago. I hope, however, to meet you again soon. In the meantime, I would like to thank you for helping me so much in my work...for making it possible for me to grow both professionally and personally. Thanks to you I met Marta, Theodoros, Agnieszka, Manja, Eugene, Rhèa,Olivia... and learned so much about their countries, their education systems and their people. Thanks to you I now have a deeper understanding of how everything is so relative. Thanks to you I now have a different notion of what a common cause can be in spite of our particularisms (and how to make the most of them). Thanks to you I feel more confident in my work and I have reinforced my professional identity by being aware of the growing relevance of these activities and its agents in Europe and other regions. And thanks to you I had ideas, thoughts and a strong will to fight for changes, even when circumstances were not so favourable.
Montjuic, Duomo, La Bonbonnière, the Vaasa Museum... had a special "flavour" with you, no doubt! Keep on promoting what is different amongst those who are different!
And just to finish, I would like to wish you good luck for your next conference in Leipzig. I am sure that it will confirm the value of our friendship.
See you soon.