A beautifully sunny Friday April afternoon in Paris. The chestnut trees were indeed in blossom in the garden of the Chambre de Commerce’s stately and ornate Hôtel Potocki, where graduates, families, friends, teachers and dignitaries assembled in the very impressive downstairs ballroom.
First, an introductory bilingual speech from Jean-Paul Vermès the CCIP’s vice president.
Next my friend and colleague Derek Mainwaring called up his MoTIS MSc graduates, who came up one by one to receive their degrees, shake hands and have their photos taken.
With Mike Gradwell’s motto « One hand for yourself and one hand for the others », Karsten closed his valedictory speech.
As Mohamed was speeding on the Eurostar through the Channel Tunnel on his way to join us later, it was my pleasure to call up and congratulate all the the other ITMP graduates, whose achievements I briefly described yesterday.
Klintio’s valedictory speech was (she confessed afterwards) not at all what she’d prepared, but it was really spot on, straight from the heart and very moving.
Finally, John Gaynard, the « godfather » of the ITMP and MoTIS students encouraged us all to keep stepping out of our comfort zones and keep learning and flowing. We were captivated as he fast forwarded the last twenty something years of his career from a key and very intimate moment in his professional life at the World Bank up to the 11th of April 2014. No doubt the fresh graduates were fast forwarding their future professional paths up through the 2020s and 30s as « beings who loved and were capable of problem solving ».
Time for the ITMP 2014 group pictures on the stately marble staircase. First staid and sober, then relaxed and sprawled out.
Time to head through the cosy winter garden into the other ballroom to clink glasses and « decompress ».
Later that evening all the ITMPs (including Mohamed) plus Leila, Jenny, Mike, Christelle and a few life partners sat down at table and shared a great meal.
Afterwards we shook hands, hugged and kissed each other and said « au revoir » (but not « adieu »!).
Then the sun set.