Foreword by Fons van Wieringen, the Founder of ENIRDELM

Read more in the attached e-book drafted to commemorate 20 years of ENIRDELM’s history:
ENIRDELM’s first two decades

Such moments are rare when one becomes aware that something fundamentally is changing. That happened in 1989. In May 1989 Hungary opened the Iron Curtain on the border with Austria. This opening of the border resulted in an outflow of thousands of persons. The leadership of the GDR, which has recently proudly celebrated its
fortieth anniversary of ‘utopia’, was to open its borders also. The end of the wall, and thus of the GDR, was unavoidable. The Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989.
Suddenly, Europe was anything other than I knew. Growing up in a sea-faring nation facing the Atlantic, countries on the other side of the ocean were the main reference, but suddenly I realized that I had stood with my back to Europe. Eastern Europe
was at best a curious holiday destination but not really a part of Europe, now it turned out that Eastern Europe actually was at the centre of Europe. This moment was not to be lost, now we could do something to restore the culture of Europe and the culture of education that lies at its heart.
A conference of the ESHA (European Association of Secondary Heads) where I gave a lecture on educational management and where many old and new (in its different meanings) European countries were present was the ideal opportunity to create a new forum. Now or never! An initiative group was quickly formed: Christen Jordet who brought with him the right spirit to encourage educational management and also the resources of the Norwegian department; Danuta Elsner who had waited many years just to work in a cross-European setting like this; Rosa Lafitte i Figueras from Barcelona with a southern European slant and
enthusiasm; and David Oldroyd from Bristol bringing his essential and enduring talent for organization. With this initiative group a network system was firmly established which 20 years later, still puts the idea forward that Europe’s essence lies in education and that educational management and educational leadership are essential pillars in this process. There are not very many pan-European networks that have a continuous history of 20 years and have contributed so much to the interconnections of knowledge and people for the benefit of the quality of education and educational management and leadership. A report on
this 20 year of European efforts was needed badly to show that there is still much to do but also to show that the network has achieved so much. David Oldroyd has taken on this challenging task. All those in and around the network are most grateful to David for accomplishing this very worthwhile and inspiring piece of history.

Fons van Wieringen



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