In the history of ENOHE, which now spans more than 20 years, there have been many significant events:
- The founding conference in Amsterdam in 2003,
- the first joint conference with Canada in 2010,
- the start of the online presence with its own website in 2013,
- the annual conference in the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 2017,
- the adoption of the statutes and the first official elections in 2019,
- the León Declaration about global networking of the same year,
- the mention of the importance of higher education Ombud institutions and the cooperation with ENOHE in the final communiqué of the Ministerial Conference in Rome in 2020
- and most recently in 2023: the first Training Activities Programme TAP, the annual conference in Prague with around 100 participants and the adoption of the Prague Manifesto there.
Now, after the recent elections with the beginning of September 2023, there is yet another historical event taking place, the change in the bodies of the association with a new presidency and with new board members. Josef Leidenfrost (Austria) will be succeeded as President by Jean Grier (Scotland) and Ursula Meiser (Germany) has been elected as Vice-President. The new Board members come from Luxembourg, Turkey, the USA, Mexico and the Netherlands.
The most important tasks in the coming weeks and months are:
- the identification and preparation of next year’s venue for the ENOHE Annual Conference,
- the arrangements for the webinars foreseen in the annual plan 2023,
- the operation of a network of senior advisers as well as the recruitment of new members, from now on also of institutional members,
- and finally, the intensification of public relations work through the ENOHE List and through ENOHEpedia.
Former President Leidenfrost summed up his 20 years of building up ENOHE as the most exciting thing besides the daily routine as Austrian university ombudsman at that time, a period in which many innovations happened, which were also largely implemented. Always with room for improvements. He looks back on this time with humility and satisfaction. He will remain with the network as Presidential Adviser.
Jean Grier said in a first statement that she felt honoured, humbled and a little apprehensive at being elected to take over from Josef.
‘Josef has been tireless in his presidency and has done an immeasurable amount of work to develop ENOHE to the point where we are now – a formal association recognised by the Austrian authorities, and with a growing and truly international membership base.’
Undertaking to do all she could to build on this during her presidency, Jean said she was delighted that Josef would be staying on for a year as Presidential Adviser, and that a cadre of enthusiastic board members would help ensure ENOHE’s further development.
The formal kick-off started with the first Board Meeting under the new leadership 7 September.
The association by now has more than 100 members from four continents. For new members and those interested in the network, extensive information is available and always updated via www.enohe.net.