Maureen O'Neill

It is the late evening. The three thematic workshops have finished their discussions and now the three rapporteurs must try to draw conclusions that can be fed into the conference’s recommendations. President Mario Sepi has convoked a meeting in a wonderfully picturesque meeting room. It is tucked away upstairs behind the cloisters in the Istituto degli Innocenti and is where the governing council of the institute has always met. On its walls are gold-framed portraits of the institute’s benefactors over hundreds of years. Mario Sepi gives the floor to each of the rapporteurs in turn: Maureen O’Neill (UK/Various Interests Group); André Mordant (Belgian/Employees’ Group); and Stéphane Buffetaut (French/ Employers’ Group). There is a great deal of convergence and complementarity. But now the rapporteurs must, together with the administration, turn their impressions into written language. These recommendations, once drafted, will be sent to Brussels, where a team of translators is on stand by. And tomorrow morning the conference participants will find the the three sets of recommendations available to them in the Conference’s three working languages. As Secretary General, I am frankly proud of the Committee’s well-oiled machinery. (The three photographs were taken with my mobile phone and are therefore of poor quality but I hope they give a hint of the atmosphere in the meeting.)

André Mordant

Stéphane Buffetaut