“The 43rd Congress in Sofia was the most powerful Congress of the International Transport Federation (ITF), which I have seen, and I have seen a lot!”. With these words Stuart Howard, Assistant General Secretary of the ITF, thanked in his speech FTTUB and its volunteers for the excellent organization and hosting of the Congress. Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the world federation, shared the same emotions during his visit to Sofia last autumn. Now, during the seminar for the Congress volunteers held in Sandanski from 8 to 10 September – which was also an opportunity for a 3-day holiday in perfect surroundings – Mr. Howard gave the FTTUB President a certificate of gratitude. Each of the volunteers will also receive their personal certificate with his signature.
As noted by the President of FTTUB Ekaterina Yordanova, the event was an occasion not only to celebrate the success of this huge and ambitious undertaking, but also to review what the union has achieved since then, what lies ahead, and how the Congress has helped us grow to a new level. During the year since the end of the Congress, FTTUB family has grown with five new organizations, four of which were established with our help. Numerous cases of success by sectors were also reported.
FTTUB Youth shared their touching stories of the participation in the rose-picking festival in Karlovo, where we had a candidate queen, but the story of their visit to the home for children without parental care moved everyone to tears. To the young orphans, they offered the opportunity for a future: working in the transport sector, together with a welcome to the big family of the union.
Participants in the seminar for Women Leadership in Moscow within ITF’s program “Leading Change” noted that FTTUB’s successful performance may be a sign that the next seminar should take place in Bulgaria, bringing together participants from across the region and creating a reliable network.
Participants were also introduced to the upcoming European Citizens’ Initiative for Social Justice in Transport, expected to be launch by ETF in mid September. It requires the collection of one million signatures from EU citizens from at least seven countries. FTTUB participates in the citizens’ committee and Bulgaria is one of these 7 countries. We will have to present at least 12,750 signatures, certified as valid by the authorities, so we can all together engage the European Commission to take the legal and other measures proposed by ETF, in order to solve the existing problems in European transport. The citizens’ initiative is a powerful tool for the civil society to influence political decisions that determine the development of the sector as a whole and individual modes of transport as well. The success of the initiative would save us years of intermediary negotiations with unclear success.
The seminar was an occasion not only for work on serious topics, but also for a deserved break, combined with trips to South Bulgaria’s picturesque old town of Melnik, Rupite and the Rozhen Monastery. It brought us many moments of joy, singing and dancing, shared over a glass of the excellent Melnik wine. We added new photos to our albums and priceless memories to our union life.
FTTUB Youth used the opportunity to ask Mr. Howard how does he feel to be back in Bulgaria one year after the Congress.
You can watch the short interview with the Assistant General Secretary of the ITF here.