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Prof. Anja Podlesek, PhD, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, was awarded the title of Congress ambassador of Slovenia 2019 for having organized the '13th Alps Adria Psychology Conference'. She is part of the Ljubljana Ambassador Club.

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How would you describe the process of organizing professional / scientific meetings in Ljubljana?

The process is truly dynamic and very interesting. It requires a lot of ingenuity and creativity, good leadership skills and patience when coordinating the organizing team and the acitivities of the support services. It also demands a huge amount of time for friendly and prompt communication with applicants with a number of special requirements. In the last weeks and days leading to the meeting, the adrenaline levels increase greatly. However, the end of the event always brings a warm feeling of tiredness mixed with gratitude for all those who helped with the organization. I always feel very grateful also to all participants for contributing to the good atmosphere and the quality of the meeting. What lingers is a big sense of satisfaction, especially if delegates praise the quality of the sessions and the local hospitality, and leave Ljubljana with a smile on their faces.

What were the biggest joys and challenges for you, and what is the most important lesson you have learnt & would pass on to your younger colleagues?

So far my biggest challenges were financial - how to offer as much as possible with a (very) small budget we have on our disposal. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned is to let go of the idea that everything can be prefect and taken care of - despite very careful and timely planning and great effort put into trying to make participants satisfied, their actual well-being depends on a series of other things I cannot always control. Also, every time we’re dealing with a problem that seems catastrophic at first, yet in the end we manage to solve it. The participants want to feel warmly welcomed by the host city and the organizers, and value when they see the organizing team working hard to make them feel good.

What do you see as the biggest advantages of Ljubljana as a congress destination, and which are its greatest potential yet to be developed?

Participants usually say they like the city because it is a very pleasant, compact and allows for short tours during the period of the meeting. They are impressed by friendly and talkative people who are always willing to help.

What does being a Slovenian congress ambassador mean to you personally and professionally?

First and foremost, I see it as a recognition that the event we organized was successful and important within the specific academic field.

What is your definition of a perfect (Corona-time) day?

Morning coffee with milk is actually all I expect from a day like this. The rest is undefined.

A special experience during the Corona-virus time you could share?

When my colleagues and I acquired a 'mobility project' in early April, the project manager wrote me an email saying: "Seriously, mobility in these times? It seems like a definition of oxymoron to me!"