Report of our event in Oxford, August 2019

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The most recent JEB event happened in Oxford, on the weekend of the 31st of August to the 1st of September, with 14 people in attendance. With perhaps a biased view, being one of the organisers, I felt that the event went really well, and coming back from it I’m full of ideas and enthusiasm, and am feeling really positive about the near future of JEB.

The new committee, left to right, Ariel, Tyron, and Adam

The event started on Saturday, in a room we hired above a café in the centre of Oxford called Turl Street Kitchen. There was the usual hectic organising to start – no chairs, the room setup was wrong, the projector wasn’t working – but with the help of early arrivals, everything was up and running by the official start time of the event.

Ariel Bonkorpa (JEB President at the time of the event) led an introductory session, getting everyone to introduce themselves and outlining the programme for the weekend. She then took time to outline what JEB is, who we are, and all the different activities we have done over the last year, including but not limited to, an Esperanto theatre event, several sessions introducing Esperanto to non-Esperantists and an Esperanto course in Bristol. This then led into our Annual General Meeting, where we had some fruitful discussion, with the main points outlined below:

Felix’s talk, ‘Topology is cool’
  • Tyron Surmon ran to be President, and was elected unanimously
  • Ariel Bonkorpa ran to be Vice-President, and was elected unanimously
  • Adam Brooking ran to be a Committee member, and was elected unanimously
  • We discussed the possibility of doing more specific events, e.g. ones with a focus on fostering debate and discussion on specific themes, and on the feasibility of doing more courses
  • We raised the topic of the 2021 Universal Congress in Belfast, and how we can capitalise on it, perhaps through hosting the IJK or running a youth section within the Universal Congress

Afterwards, we had a series of ‘lightning talks’, short lectures on a wide variety of topics. Marteno discussed the translation of English songs into Czech. Felix talked about the life of Publius Clodius Pulcher, a fairly infamous Roman politician. I (Tyron Surmon) discussed methods to compare different language Wikipedias, and using these methods to find out which is best (as it turns out, Catalan and Serbian). Adam presented Fek Parolu!, an Esperanto board game he created to encourage beginners to speak, and finally Tim explained to us why we should never use the word quite in his talk Don’t Say Quite. A quite good series of talks, I must say.

During the tea and coffee break we enjoyed  the homemade Belgian Tiramisu Adam and Ariel brought, which we ate directly from the dish, for want of us bringing any plates…

At the White Rabbit

Following this were two interactive workshops. The first was by Felix, with ‘Terrific Topology’, showing us the joys of the mathematical field of topology through cutting, pasting, and scribbling on bits of paper. . Next Ariel Bonkorpa did a workshop on creating videogames through the programmes Twine and Bitsy, showing us some of her own (quite wicked) productions.

We ended for the night at the White Rabbit, a pub only a few minutes walk away. We all ate pizza and had some very welcome drinks, chatting and playing some board games that participants brought. Some people made it out to the club after, but not the organisers who opted for a well-earned early night!

The picnic in Christchurch Meadows

Sunday began with a guided tour of Oxford, led by me, Tyron. Definitely not hurriedly prepared the night before, it was done all in Esperanto, and showed the major sights of Oxford. Notable were the Blackwells bookshop (holding the world record for the largest single room selling books), the Bodleian library, and Corpus Christi College, my very own college.

Afterwards we went punting, an activity renowned not only for being a staple of the Oxford and Cambridge student experience, but also for its uncertain translation to Esperanto. Premboatumado, stangboatumado, or simply puntado? We are none the wiser, but it was a very relaxing hour on the water in the sunshine. We then went to Christchurch Meadows, to sit down, chat, relax, have a picnic, and just generally to have a really nice finish to the weekend.

I went home from the event feeling really positive. The weekend was the result of months of work planning and organisation on behalf of the committee, and I’m really glad it paid off. We have definitely learnt from our mistakes, gained new experience and really developed as an organisation during the last year, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year will bring for JEB! 

A photo album of the event can be found here

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