The highlight of the week is always the closing ceremony. It was the same this year. In the morning the participants were preparing for their presentations very excitedly. They made a summary and a ppt of the previous days’ experiences and findings. After lunch the event started with official greetings and speeches celebrating the Junior Eco-Expert Project’s 20th anniversary. On behalf of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology Ms Tomorné Vujkov Krisztina, Principal Advisor gave her speech. She emphasised the importance of learning and spoke about the governmental guidelines concerning education.  As the twentieth anniversary is a significant milestone it inspired all the speakers and the audience to look back and commemorate the first two decades of a fruitful international cooperation. Our eco-project has a long history so it is important to refresh and preserve memories, share experiences and keep these records for future generations. 

After the official speeches all the professional teams shared their findings and experiences with the audience. So, we heard a lot of interesting information about the Tokaj Wine Region Historic Cultural Landscape world heritage site: methods, means and challenges in environmental conservation in the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region, soil quality and its influence on wine quality, sylviculture and wild life management of the Zemplén mountain ranges and the Bodrogzug, the erosion of loess soil in the world heritage Tokaj-Hill, the region’s history and investments in tourism. The participants acquired much knowledge and first-hand experience about sustainability and took big steps to become even more responsible citizens. They had new ideas how to preserve and restore our environment in Tokaj region.

After these presentations the representatives of every nation had a cultural performance to give an insight into their traditions and share them with each other and the participating schools’ headmasters and their towns’ mayors invited for this magnificent event. In their speeches they included that the twenty-year period was long enough to revise the original objectives and values. The main concepts have been the same since the beginning and proved to be well-chosen. All the participating schools: “Hoehere Lehranstalt fuer Umwelt und Wirtschaft“ from Yspertal, Austria; “Szerencsi Szakképzési Centrum Tokaji Ferenc Gimnáziuma és Szakgimnáziuma” from Tokaj, Hungary, “Střední odborná škola pro ochranu a tvorbu životního prostředí” from Veselí nad Luznicí, the Czech Republic; “Zespół Szkół Ponadgimnazjalnych” from Cieszyn, Poland and for the second time – as invited guests – “Gymnázium a základná škola Sándora Máraiho s vyučovacím jazykom maďarským” from Kosice, Slovakia are devoted to educating open-minded and environmentally conscious citizens. In their teaching practice, extra-curricular activities and action programmes all these schools try to share the “Think Global, Act Local” approach applicably in everyday life. The participating young people have the privilege to live in a Central Europe where there are no borders any more. As the students belong to a new generation, their positive experiences may determine the future of Central Europe.

After so many years the Eco-Expert Project is not a simple partnership of four schools representing four nations but friendship of students, teachers, schools and nations. It is a great honour to have such a long-lasting and fruitful cooperation. We would like to thank everybody who – with support, assistance and work – contributed to the successful implementation of all the twenty International Junior Eco-Expert Project Weeks. We say thank to the participating schools and especially the alternating hosts for their constructive cooperation, encouraging attitude and useful assistance. Special thanks to “Founding Fathers”: Mr Johann Zechner and Mr Dr József Dankó, the partner schools’ previous and present headteachers: Mr Johann Zechner, Mr István Dévald, Mrs Dr Dankó Kornélia Patkó, Mrs Alicja Ziomber, Mr Ladislav Honsa,  Mr Gerhard Hackl, Mrs Iwona Bebek, Mrs Molnar Erika Tóth and Mrs Éva Csurkó.  They have worked together within the frame of the Junior Eco-Expert Project, contributing to its success, to the deep professional contacts and personal relationships existing among the participating institutions widening our students’ prospective and the development of their environmental consciousness.

On behalf of the organising school we are extremely grateful to all the participating towns’ previous and present mayors, experts of regional educational authorities, Ms Ida Fakla project manager, Mr Zsolt Pataki professional leader, all the professional and language teachers of Tokaji Ferenc Secondary School and to everybody who contributed to the successful implementation of the twentieth memorable and highly professional project week. Thanks and acknowledgements to all the guests, participants and sponsors of the 20th International Junior Eco-Expert Projects!

We express our special gratitude to the Visegrad Fund for the subsidy and financial support of our objectives and assistance in the course of the sponsored project.