Welcome note from Didier Hespel
Dear AIACE members,
Everyone knows the famous song "Valencia" that made the city famous throughout Europe. Although it was written by a Spaniard, José Padilla Sanchez, in 1926, it started its international carreer in Paris in 1926. So it was not until some time after that the song’s Spanish career began, before getting known in the whole world.
But next year Valencia will be best known as the venue for the AIACE Congress, as decided by the Management Board on May 31st in Maastricht.
Valencia, the third largest city in Spain and the capital of the Valencian Autonomous Community, is still relatively unknown, but it is a city that strikingly combines the old and the new. It is the seat of a renowned university and is proud of its futurist Calatrava City of Arts and Sciences and its port which is the largest Spanish freight port; it is also the third largest economic centre in Spain, living mainly from trade and agriculture (think of oranges ...). It has excellent infrastructure (thank you Mr. FEDER…): a modern airport located near the city, a network of roads and motorways that many cities would envy, an excellent bus-tram-métro network (the latter unfortunately unfinished because of lack of money). But it is also a city with a historical centre rich in monuments and museums as well as numerous remarkable Art Nouveau buildings (including the famous Central Market) and Art Deco. The totally pedestrianised centre is an invitation to stroll through old lanes.
Needless to say Valencia is the capital of paella, but also of other rice-based preparations as well as fideuá (similar to paella but based on a small vermicelli type pasta). It is also the home of Aigua de Valencia, a cocktail whose recipe I will not reveal, but that you will have the chance to taste on the spot. I invite you to discover Valencia and its gastronomy during the Congress which will be held there from 22 to 26 May 2018 in the magnificent Palacio de Congresos, designed by the architect Norman Foster. You will find the programme further on. As at Maastricht, the opening will be on the eve of the General Assembly with guest speakers of renown.
Outside the General Assembly, as usual, you can attend thematic workshops. You will also be able to meet the new president, with whom a closing session is scheduled. The gala dinner will be held in an idyllic setting; I will not say more ...
I hope I have said enough to tempt many of you to join us in Valencia.
Hasta pronto !
Didier Hespel Secretary General, in charge of the organization of the Congress