Gala Night: Recognitions and Music
Team Spirit Has Its Rewards
Not far from the conference site at the National Sportscentre-Papendal lies an old Saxon farm, "Rijzenburg," nestled in woods that have grown from the last ice age. The old stables are now home to a cozy restaurant, complete with a dining room and small stage, beckoning the EE 2000 event attendees. Here the participants of the EE 2000 event gathered for the final ritual and farewell: the gala night.
Harmony through Song
Tonight's host and NEEF board member Hans van der Laan welcomed the party and prepared the participants for the first performance of the evening by telling them that it would be of a totally different nature from what they had encountered this week. As he completed his introduction, in rushed 40 children, dressed in colorful, traditional clothes from all over the world. They are the UNESCO-JHU Children's Choir, and they had been practicing an award-winning song for weeks. Tonight is the premiere! Their song, "Let's Make the World a Better Place," was welcomed with overwhelming applause.
"Song is entertainment, which is ideally suited to be used for educational purposes and as a catalyst for social change," said Daphne de Rebello from UNESCO, who expressed her thanks to the children for all their hard work and then gave the choir a token of appreciation. "Harmony through Song," a joint project of JHU/ CCP and UNESCO, included a contest for songwriters. The winning composer, Tony Sierra, a songwriter from Honduras, and his wife were guests at the conference, and he was recognized with an award from UNESCO-JHU/ CCP.
Thanks and Compliments
Host van der Laan continued the festivities. A large bouquet of flowers (and a generous round of applause) were presented to Martine P. A. Bouman, conference director and managing director of the Netherlands Entertainment-Education Foundation, which hosted the conference. Collaborating partners Patrick L. Coleman from JHU/ CCP and Vibert C. Cambridge from the Department of Communication and Development Studies Program, Ohio University, expressed sincere gratitude to Bouman for her zealous and tireless efforts to make the conference such a success. Bouman returned the compliments by giving both Coleman and Cambridge a small statue symbolizing the teamwork of the three partners.
Music and Song
Leading off was Jim Paredes, who sang and played guitar, performing original Filipino songs as well as English compositions from the repertoire of his band, the APO Hiking Society. Paredes explained the origins of his songs; some were composed for his own children, while others were created exclusively for EE purposes. Next, the guests were delighted by an intimate performance by entertainer Marides Laud Lazo, with songs from musicals she played leading roles in, such as Miss Saigon and The King and I.
Recognizing EE Pioneers
Van der Laan once more gave the floor to Martine Bouman, who expressed her admiration for the pioneers of EE. "Often enough," Bouman said, "scholars and researchers get the credit for successful EE projects all over the world, but this may paint a picture of the EE field that is not entirely accurate. We cannot forget the pioneers, who, often without any scientific background, provided EE its solid foundation by their tireless work in practice."
Bouman announced that the NEEF wanted to recognize these "pioneers of EE practice," and called Miguel Sabido to the stage. Sabido, who immediately called his sister Irene Sabido to join him, insisting on her important role as a pioneer as well, received a small statue, called "The Intermediary," in recognition of "his innovative and creative use of commercial television, which has led to the advancement of the EE field, both in practice and theory."
Radio drama pioneer Elaine Perkins received a statue, called "The Crown," in recognition of "her pioneering, sterling, and unselfish contributions to the field of radio drama for social change, which has entertained and educated audiences in Jamaica, the wider Caribbean, and around the world."
The third and final recognition was reserved for a team. Bouman briefly mentioned the enormous success of the Soul City project in South Africa and other African countries, and then unwrapped an impressive small statue, called "The Team at the Summit." Garth Japhet, Sue Goldstein, Shereen Usdin, and Savera Kalideen received the recognition "for their dedication in designing comprehensive and multimedia EE campaigns, which serve both the needs of the South African people and the EE community."
Time to Jam
After generous applause for each of those recognized for their efforts in EE, Jim Paredes took to the stage again. After a few songs, Pedro Suarez Vertiz performed his hit single "Sex Train," in which he advocates sexual responsibility among youth. Several wildly applauded songs later, Paredes and Lazo joined Vertiz in a jam session of all-time favorites.
The evening ended when Bouman read the EE 2000 Declaration (see page 58). The applause from the audience changed to cheering when once again the singers joined in for a closing session.