Europe Alive 2017 – Santander, Spain

Europe Alive was created in 1979 by Alison Tennant, a founder member and past Chairman of European Union of Women (EUW). Its aim is to promote exchange visits between women from member countries and to give an insight into the culture, commerce and governmental activities of the country visited. In 1985, Alison Tennant’s report to the General Assembly said: “Europe Alive is essentially political for those well-versed and for those keen to learn more …. for visitors to share their knowledge and experience in discussions on social, industrial and economic problems …. for ordinary members. The hope is that Europe Alive may promote growth, and give EUW a broad base as well as a specialised membership”. The host country draws up a programme of events to cover 3-4 days and the visit is open to all national Sections. The mix of participants from many Sections is lively and stimulating.

This year, Europe Alive was held in Santander, Spain. We had the amazing opportunity to share our thoughts and concerns about our countries’ problems, as well as about the future of Europe. In our talks we realized that things that unite us are more than those that divide us. We had the opportunity to meet with María José Sáenz de Buruaga, President of Partido Popular de Cantabria, and discuss about women participationin decision making. We also met with the Mayor of Santander, Gema Igual Ortiz. Spanish women’s participation in decision making and public life is remarkable. Another important woman of the area we had the pleasure to meet is Elena García Botín, member of one of the most important families of the area, owners of Banco Santander, and great benefactors of the region of Cantabria.

During our stay we also visited many interesting sites and tasted locale cuisine. Our Spanish friends” hospitality and friendship was really amazing! We want to express our very grateful thanks to them and especially to Mrs. Tula Beltrán, International President of Europe Alive and president of Mujeres en Igualdad Cantabria for 20 years. Next year Europe Alive will be held in Kos island, Greece.