Last week, UITP came together for our annual New Year Reception to bid farewell to our former Secretary General Alain Flausch and toast to a bright future for public transport and UITP in 2018.
The evening was divided by an academic session and a networking event. At the academic session, while looking back briefly over the successful year of 2017, Mohamed Mezghani delivered his very first speech as Secretary General of UITP. He took this opportunity to thank the entire UITP community and congratulate everyone for having achieved so much to advance public transport.
More importantly, we looked at what’s ahead of us in 2018.
"As you all know, public transport is at a turning point. This is one of the reasons why 2018 should be, more than ever, the year of ambition. A year during which we will build new tracks and open new routes, to expand mass transit while embracing shared mobility. A balance that will benefit all", said Mohamed Mezghani.
Our keynote speaker, Laurent Ledoux, Owner and General Manager of Equis and long-time friend and associate of Mr Flausch, delivered a speech entitled “Governance for the public transport of the future: it takes at least two to tango”. In his speech, Mr Ledoux emphasised the importance of partnerships, especially across different sectors.
The session was also intended to honour and bid farewell to our recently retired Secretary General, Alain Flausch. Mr Mezghani was the first to thank Mr Flausch on behalf of the entire community; video farewells were sent in by former UITP Presidents Ousmane Thiam (UITP President 2011-2013), Sir Peter Hendy (UITP President 2013-2015), and Masaki Ogata (UITP President 2015-2017), all of whom expressed their deep regards for Mr Flausch and best wishes for this next chapter of his life.
Mr Flausch was presented with gifts from the staff, which he received on stage beside his successor Mr Mezghani and current UITP President Pere Calvet. Mr Calvet took a moment to thank Mr Flausch personally for his work and support, and particularly for his collaboration on rail related projects. After which, Mr Flausch thanked the association and the entire UITP community, shared his experiences from around the world, and wished us all success for the future.
Following the session, an exciting networking event took place in a remarkably unique location: at the Heysel metro station in Brussels—actually on the metro platform and in a stationary train itself—all thanks to STIB, the Brussels operator, for making this possible. The metro and platform were decorated beautifully—our hosts and event organisers had certainly outdone themselves for this occasion.
Thank you again, to every participant and organiser, for making this lovely evening the success that it was!
Watch the video to get a sense of the atmosphere!
Check out our pictures from the event in the gallery below:
Read our exclusive Q&A interview with keynote speaker Laurent Ledoux!