Date: 25-10-2016

In their own words: reflections on ISSA Conference 2016

Representatives of ISSA Member Association 21 July, Dzemila Salkanovic and Francesca Colombo share their reflections what it meant and how it felt to be involved in ISSA Conference 2016.

Dzemila Salkanovic "ISSA conference was an experience of enhancement for me. I felt amazed seeing lots of people participating in the conference coming from such different places in the world, having different backgrounds but all sharing the same objective: child wellbeing. It was really important for me to meet, stay together and work for a common goal, learn and share something (either knowledge or practical tools) with other professionals and practitioners. All the concurrent sessions were so interesting that I found difficult to choose where to go. I would have liked to have the opportunity to listen to all the presentations and participating to all the workshops offered because the issues debated were all essential. Even if I talk another language and I don't understand English at all, I felt touched by the passion and motivation that I saw in the others' eyes and gestures. The documentary "The beginning of life" was so powerful and emotional: watching the images I felt a deep feeling inside of me not only as operator but also as mum. The logistics of the conference was just perfect. People felt comfortable and welcomed. ISSA succeeded in creating a cozy atmosphereere people could be relaxed to absorb all the information delivered during the conference. We were almost 300 people belonging to diverse societies and cultures and the logistics could not be better. I felt cuddled as woman. The only thing that I regret is that the lunch time was too short to chat with the colleagues. I would like to say much more things but words don't come to my mouth. It was really striking to learn that children that live in poverty have a little vocabulary in comparison with their peers. This is the same gap that I have. It is a limit that I feel inside of me very often. I have lots of ideas and reflections in my mind, but not in my mouth. It is a serious limit". Francesca Colombo "As soon as I arrived at Radisson and I participated into the opening ceremony I felt at home. In the last years, ISSA has become for me an "international family" where I feel nurtured with knowledge and supported by people that own a great expertise and motivation. The conference itself met my expectations: keynote speakers were just great and the concurrent sessions unfortunately too many at the same time but all interesting. I would like to have had the possibility to listen to more presentations, but I understand that the logistic couldn't be different. The app created for the conference was fantastic even if my mobile didn't support it and I had therefore few possibility of interacting with the other participants through it. The app gave us the possibility of being part of a community (virtual and long-lasting) moved by same objectives and constantly in touch. I was really struck by the empathy and enthusiasm of my peers. I listened to a comment that reflects perfectly what I mean and I would like to share it with you: "ISSA people are not just people that knock at the door but people who walk the walk" (Mehnaz Aziz quotation). That is so true for me. Finally, all the experiences, information and ideas shared during the conference were so valuable for me not just only as a professional working in the field of early childhood but also as a mum of a little girl. The importance of the first 1.000 days in the life of a child are printed in capital letters in my mind and I hope to succeed to do my best to pursue and enhance child wellbeing both in my personal and professional life".