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Tuesday, 31.1.2023 our first president meets members” zoom meeting took place. We greeted 145 colleagues representing different groups and countries. The topic was to respond to any questions, comments and feedback concerning the revised handbook. This included emails previously received responding to the revised handbook.

EATA/PTSC were given feedback and comments regarding the process of the revision and publishing of the handbook. This was very important and we will be reflecting on the feedback.

I found the meeting to be touching, disturbing, irritating, angering and rather hurtful. Many people expressed their distress and anger. This wasn’t easy to listen to – It was partly overwhelming and significantly impacted me. I am, though, thankful for all the expressive voices both in speaking and in writing. Many people experienced their wish to belong, to contribute and to be represented rather than excluded. It was moving for me to listen to. This was heard and we will thoughtfully consider what was said. Inclusion has been, and is now at the heart of my personal and professional identity. This corresponds with my understanding of our TA community and to further developing inclusion is one of my main goals as I serve as President of our organisation.

I understand that there is a rupture and a loss of trust at the moment for many of you. Based on our common values I want to re-establish contact and trust. This will establish a way forward for us and will enhance a better common understanding for us. This was the first Zoom meeting establishing online responses to EATA’s actions. There will be more to follow. Such meetings mark the starting point of my initiative as President develop an inclusive, respectful and involving culture amongst our members.

Of course, developing in this way involves learning for all of us. We learn to listen to the impact of our organizing processes in a way that encourages expressiveness from the diversity of our stakeholders and their differing needs and perceptions. We have to continue to develop attitudes towards differences in a respectful way. This means recognizing and naming them and then find the best possible solutions. On an organizational level, EATA needs to look carefully at the existing contracts and procedures that it has so that we can develop clearer processes and responsibilities for a more effective way of decision-making. We have to learn to find the balance to respect boundaries and differences and build bridges.

EATA will hold several meetings. We will negotiate and design a course of action, within the existing EATA structures, that will account for the differing needs, expectations and responsibilities of the whole TA community in Europe. As soon as decisions are taken in common agreement with the responsible bodies we will be informed about what the next steps will be.

I look forward to fruitful, respectful, constructive discussions in which we will find the best possible way for us, as a community where members feel a sense of belonging and support, to resolve our difficulties.

For now kind regards

Sylvia Schachner

EATA president

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