“Just a little more to the left. Could you move a little closer? Okay. One, two, three.. Smile!”
This is day one of the Frans Seda Foundation Seminar 2017. And this must be the tenth group photo we take – or was it the fifteenth?
Earlier that weekend we – ten Dutch participants, myself included – gathered at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands to fly to Indonesia. Most of us had met before, once in Amsterdam, once in Rotterdam. During those meetings we discussed our dreams, our connection to Indonesia, our plans for the future. We learned more about Frans Seda and his legacy. We took photos, all sending them to our Indonesian counterparts, in excited anticipation of meeting each other in Jakarta.
Now, finally, is the time. Before we board, we take one more picture at the gate.
Fast forward twenty hours and here we are, in a big conference room in Jakarta. Andrew is here, and so is Antony, Benny, Boudewijn, Dave, Dimple, Indro, Marije, Mohammed, Nanya, Natalina, Nicky, Olivia, Oscar, Patrick, Rachida, Savic, Susanne, Thiëmo, Annemarie. We shake hands, try to remember all the names of those we will get to know so well during the coming week. We make first conversations: where are you from? What about your family? How did you join the FSF-seminar?
We introduce ourselves to the group in short, one-minute pitches. We’ve already read each others introductions in text. Now we finally get to see the person that’s behind it.
Rennie and Irene, the lovely moderators of this year, open the seminar. There is a warm welcome from the vice-chairman of the Frans Seda Foundation. Alumni of previous editions say warm words tot his years’ participants. Then Ibu Ery gets the floor, the eldest daughter of the late Frans Seda. She talks about her father, touching, warmly. Everyone feels honoured that she is here.
And then, of course, it is time for what we will probably do a lot this next week. We take a group picture. The first one of the entire group. One, two, three.. smile!