Second General Meeting, 22nd-24th of February 2011, Santander, Spain
And so, the week for the General Meeting in Cantabria was here… I was about to get to meet all these people that I had been in more or less daily contact with over email and telephone for the last six weeks. My expectations were high and I was really curious to meet all my new colleagues within the project.
86 SAILors from all 24 project partners covering 9 European countries, Israel and Australia was gathered at the beautiful Palacio de la Magdalena in a February rainy Santander, Spain. We were all looking forward to three days filled with interesting presentations, side-by-side work, fruitful discussions and, not the least nice informal talks and socializing with project colleagues.
The meeting opened up with project management presenting not only the results and achievements of the first six months of SAIL, but also the plans and challenges for the next phase to come. We were all asked to consider ‘what we would like our grandchildren to take for granted regarding the future information society?’ This made me reflect and get somewhat a new perspective of the work along the course and the goals of SAIL.
An interesting presentation of our host University of Cantabria was also given, including some historical highlights of the former Royal seasonal residence built in 1912, where our meeting took place. The rest of the week was to be filled with PMT (Project Management Team) and POET (Project Overall Engineering Team) meetings, WP (Work Packages) and Theme meetings as well as cross WP/Theme meetings.
This Santander meeting rendered a great opportunity to once again (or, as for myself, for the first time) meet face-to-face and to cover a lot of ground together. Apart from enabling discussions and getting a face on ‘all those names’, the meeting also opened up for new work interactions and new personal contacts. Despite the long and intense work days (and ‘spanishly’ late dinners), all SAILors kept up the good spirit and took every chance to just chat with old and new friends.
Unfortunately, during the first days of the meeting the weather forecast kept its promises on a cloudy sky with showers of rain and wind. But on Wednesday the clouds dispersed and the wind slackened, making Thursday perfectly sunny, showing us visitors the real beauty of Santander by the sea. The view from the palace on the hill out there on the peninsula, looking out on the Santander bay and the town and beach of Sardinero in the other direction, was absolutely marvelous!
Much had happened, and a lot of impressions had filled my mind, when it was time to leave Santander. The meeting had exceeded my expectations, with the beauty of Santander, the generosity of the hosts and all these genial people engaged in SAIL! In contrast to the harsh cross-winds, that made my flight land heavy first on the second (!) attempt upon arrival in Bilbao, I now had a feeling that these Cantabrian winds had turned to our favor making us sail into the next project phase as an even stronger and more vivid team. A team of which I am very proud and happy to be a part of!
Disclosure and disclaimer: I am engaged in SAIL, an ICT project about the Future Internet, on behalf of Ericsson. However the opinions expressed in this post are my personal, and not those of the SAIL project or my employer.