We have just finished our annual conference in Sarajevo. It is so good to catch up with all the different people you have met and bonded with over the years and I wish I could take them home and prolong the excellent atmosphere a bit longer.

But before the conference we had a special event for IE’s country coordinators. As one of the more experienced ones, I was in charge of a capacity building workshop for other country coordinators. We were not a large group, but the willingness and exchanges of ideas and inspiration we shared in person or via Skype covered any deficiencies in numbers. We wanted to take a look at the role of country coordinators from two perspectives: What can they do for IE and how can IE support them in their role?

Country coordinators are national representatives of Interpret Europe. Our role is to promote IE, support the members in our country and make an effort to promote and implement heritage interpretation on a national level.

Every country is different and so is the role of every country coordinator. For example, Slovenia and Croatia have a strong IE training programme, with high numbers of members in each country. So, the role of the country coordinators here is more about motivating and connecting members. Where heritage interpretation is a lesser known profession in other countries, so the country coordinators there have a more introductory role.

This leads me to the most persistent question of them all: How to promote IE? What do people get from becoming a member?

I must be honest and say that people have never asked me that question, but as a country coordinator, I have thought about and asked it.

Is it not our biggest benefit to be a member of a community? To be connected and be able to meet some of the almost 1,000 individuals, organisations and companies all over the world who deal with heritage interpretation. Those two days and listening to other country coordinators really gave me a lot to think about on what I have done so far and what I can do in the future. And not to worry so much about what we can offer as benefits, because we can (and do) offer a lot. It is up to individual members if they take advantage of those benefits. I know I have, but that is another story.

In two days, we exchanged our ideas and solutions, with an understanding that not everything will work in every country. But the important part was the shared positive energy about our role as country coordinators and the optimism with which we left Sarajevo.

Janja Sivec is IE’s Country Coordinator Slovenia and can be reached at: janja.sivec@interpret-europe.net

To cite this article:
Sivec, Janja (2019) ‘Benefits of being a member of a European (world) family’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 2-2019, 13.
Available online: www.interpret-europe.net/fileadmin/Documents/publications/Newsletters/ie-newsletter_2019-2_summer.pdf