Well, if I had to choose one school that left a mark with me, this would be the one. Thinking about it now, five years later, I find that it has been a very educating experience in more than one aspects…
This Winter School was comprised of two events, namely the Technical Course on Federation of Learning Repositories for Agriculture, Food & Environment and the 2nd Workshop of Learning Repositories for Agriculture, Food & Environment (AgLRs) Stakeholders. I still remember the demanding task of organizing the entire school with the help of some esteemed colleagues from the Greek Research & Technology Network that I was working for at the time. I still remember the long e-mails I exchanged with Athina Sakka, trying to find the plane tickets for all the participants that came to attend the school from all around Europe but also Africa, India and the States. Arranging the rooms, the hotels, and everything from the breakfast to the dinners and activities of the participants, was a great challenge for me. Not because I hadn’t done it before, which was not the case, but mostly because of the totality of the task! I was in charge of the entire thing and also was the point of reference for all the participants regarding everything that went on in the school!
Needless to say that I couldn’t have done it without the help of the GRNET team as well as the priceless assistance of our local hosts from the Budapest FAO branch, and especially Michael Demes! Apart from the experience in doing all of this, I do remember that in the midst of it all, I also cooked one night for the entire school, in front of them, as a crazy cook in one of the restaurants that we ate, picked me out from the crowd and made me cook with him, also joining him in tasting some delicious red wine, straight from the wine caraf!
This was the time when I saw for the second time (after the JTEL Summer School of 2009) and got to discuss a bit more with him, one of the “rockstars” of my field of research (metadata), Erik Duval. Erik’s team honoured us with an immense participation in this event, giving me also the opportunity to meet some amazing guys that have been friends since. If my memory serves me well, this was also the first time I got to present sth in front of him, as I also held a couple of lectures in the winter school, which was – to say the least – a really intense experience that tested my presentation skills a lot!
Summing up, I think that this school has been a memorable experience for me for a variety of reasons. One of the remarks that will follow me forever, came from the companion of a colleague that attended the school, who in the end of the week, told me “I still cannot believe how you managed to do all of this by yourself and manage to get no complaints, no delays, no problems and on top of that, manage to have everyone smiling and satisfied the entire time“.