Reviews from 2019 conference participants

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Below you can read some of the comments & the reviews we received after the end of the 1st Athens Play Conference, in April 2019:

Dr. Peter Gray, keynote speaker, USA: "Hi John, Thank and congratulations, again, for a truly wonderful conference.  You and the others who worked with you were wonderful hosts. Hari Kirin and I had a great time touring in Greece and are now on our way home now with great memories."

Tom Hobson, keynote speaker, USA: "Honestly, from a personal perspective, this was the most productive conference I’ve ever attended. I learned new ways of thinking about things from both Suzanne and Meynell. I don’t think Peter could have said anything new since I believe I’ve read everything he’s written, but the opportunity to spend personal time with him gave me a chance to better understand a couple of the (very few) points on which I disagree. And overall, the other presenters were very high quality".

Suzanne Axelsson, keynote speaker, Sweden: "This is not just a conference - it is so much more. Ego is left at the door and there is an equality between keynote speakers, presenters and participants sharing and learning from each other. Those running the conference and the volunteers are friendly and helpful and go out of their way to help. The talks and workshops were important, interesting and of value - everyone got to learn something new. Just as in early childhood education - it’s not just about the learning but about the relationships too. Thank you for a totally fantastic conference. It felt like a giant family from all over the world. Sharing ideas, inspiration and wisdom. Everyone open, generous and a warmth and friendship. Truly a unique conference experience."

Neli Keremidchieva, Bulgaria: "Precious event with so various and interesting presentations, really great speakers from all over the world and dedication from the organizers to make visitors feel good and comfortable. Thank you! I would recommend it to anyone working with children or simply willing to understand better what is learning, growing, and education. The key note speakers were more than I expected. I put the question for a second conference, because it would be a great challenge for the organisers to make it at least as good as this one. Thank you for all the efforts you have put into this."

Nicole Holtberg, USA: "Hey John! Nicole here!  I want to thank you again for the amazing conference.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much your hard work and determination to make this international conference mean to, not just me, but everyone who attended!  It was absolutely wonderful to be involved in this momentous occasion!  I have made connections with so many people from the conference and everyone truly is excited about having a private FB group started for those of us who attended and connected. It's good to feel we have allies in our mission to protect play! Thank you again to you and your amazing staff and volunteers for making this conference happen!"

Karen Orteza, US & China: “From the first email from John, I felt like I was a welcomed member of the Play-on -Athens team. The facebook posts were professional-looking , informative and added excitement. The tech crew and volunteers were cheerful and helpful. The presenters offer diverse perspectives, the keynote speakers were exceptional and all participants seemed to mesh together into a happy, play-minded group. It was a fantastic experience. I’d say it was better than I expected, but I knew from the beginning that it would be an event to remember. Thank you, team! And a big thank you to the sponsors and caterers too!”

Greg Bottrill, UK: “A really welcoming team and it has felt like being part of a family of play. So many wonderful people behind the organizing. Thank you for all of your energy and efforts. It was a privilege to be chosen as a presenter so thank you for your faith in me. I hope that I contributed to the event in a positive way. An extraordinary event which will have an echo for the rest of my life. Once again – thank you. Keep playing and playing hard.”

Ruby Bergdahl, Sweden: "On behalf of my team, CREATIVE KIDS PRESCHOOL, we would like to thank you and your team for the immense hospitality and organization that you all have provided us during the conference. I hope that you were able to take some time off for yourself as well to relax and digest all the glorious moments of this event. I must say it is one of the most inspiring, intellectual at the same time passionately involvement conference I have ever attended. And the main reason I can think about here is probably the diversity of people, where we all come from different backgrounds with different upbringing and education. I must say its magical."

Iva Georgieva, Bulgaria: “I think that you did an amazing job, with the organization of this conference! In fact, it was one of the best and the richest conferences I have ever been! Big thank you to all who stand behind it!”
 
Gosia Budek, Poland: “I’m very happy and thankful for taking part in it. Thank you so, so, so much for organizing it! I loved the last Q&A session-where also “the public” took part in (more like a discussion-it was great!) and most of all, because it touched the very important aspect of our job- being dependent on politics. I really hope that this conference will lead to global changes in kindergartens, education systems, that “play” will really be in the center. YOU DID AN AMAZING JOB! THANK YOU!”
 
Eleni Geroulanou, Greece: “Well organized. Inspiring. Stimulating. Though Provoking. Thank you guys!”
 

Daniela Pandurska, Bulgaria: “Great conference! Thanks a lot!! Great experience!”

Mania Chatzoglou, Greece: “Apart from the keynote speakers, as well as Greg Bottril, whose presentations were inspiring and charismatic, I also enjoyed the food and yoga classes. Well done for the organization and multi-culturality of the event!”

Zoe Karatza, Greece: “I like the experiences, examples and practices which were presented. What made the conference very interesting was not only what was presented and discussed (content) but also the way (process).”

Filia- Elisavet Christou, Greece: “Everything was perfect. It was an amazing experience for us all and especially for Greek people. I hope to meet again in the next conference.”

Anastasia Psalti, Greece: “This was a great initiative. I met people whose work I’ve been using in my teaching and will go back home with fresh ideas and many questions that need answers. I would like to help you advertise the 2nd Conference as much as I can in the university student community or even help you organize it (why not?) in Thessaloniki.”

Lynne Byatt, Netherlands: “Loved it-even though not my opinion/thoughts/feelings with some of the presenters BUT always something to take away. Very high caliber of presenters. Thank you SO much for your planning and preparation. John, your team is fantastic – you are an inspiring leader!”

Domna Papageorgiou, Greece: “It was inspiring being in a conference about Play. It was moving to hear stories about people trying to have play in their field of work. It was joyful to see the children play the drums at the opening. It made my heart warm that people all around the world came, heard, met people who work, love, play as adults. I am very thankful for this experience! Thank you Dorothy Snot.”

Danae Makropodi, Greece: “Thank you very much for the opportunity of listening all these amazing educators and most important human beings! Really inspiring.”

Dimitra Moussioni, Greece: “You did an amazing job! Hope there will be a 2nd Athens Play Conference. Great keynote speakers and interesting presentations. Everything was perfectly organized and the volunteers did an amazing job! Thank you.”

Songul Dundar, Turkey: “Everything was perfect”

Alexandra Tioulis, Greece: “The conference was amazing! Fantastic organization.”

Tatiana Papastefanou, Greece: “Being a parent and not a teacher, I felt lucky for being here. Thank you for organizing this event and inviting these incredible people”

Gloria Romlin, Sweden: “You rock guys! Thank you for all the help, the smiles and everything else”

Marianna Psihalos, Greece: “It was really inspiring. The keynote speakers were very interesting. It would be very nice to organize workshops with the speakers that would be run during the conference. Overall, you did a fantastic job!”

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