Council Chair hosts reception for Exchange Students from Bielefeld, Germany

14th October 2022

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The Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Barry McElduff, hosted a reception to welcome students from Bielefeld in Germany who were on a exchange trip with students from Enniskillen Royal Grammar School.

The following is a copy of the speech delivered by the Chair at the reception:

Good afternoon Councillors, ladies and gentlemen and students

As Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I am delighted to welcome you all to Enniskillen Castle this afternoon for this reception to host and welcome students and teachers from Bielefeld (Beel-a-felt), Germany.

I understand that Enniskillen was first twinned with Brackwede (Brack-vade-a) in 1958 until 1973 when the suburb was incorporated into the city of Bielefeld.  Notably, this was also the year that the legacy Fermanagh District Council was formed.  The first school exchanges between the two regions are recorded back to 1972.

It is fitting that we are in Enniskillen Castle this afternoon as I understand there is a strong connection between the Castle and your home city of Bielefeld.

School exchange opportunities are an important part of the curriculum for our young people because they build confidence and linguistic ability as well as encouraging you to expand your intercultural awareness and gain valuable skills which you can transfer to the workplace and your own personal life in the future.  Another key benefit is the lifelong friendships that you will make.

I would like to commend all the teachers over the years in both regions for continuing to maintain the links with Bielefeld for the last 64 years.  This is a significant commitment and a tremendous achievement.

I hope you have enjoyed you time in Fermanagh and that you have many happy memories to take home.  I am told that you had a very busy schedule which included the opportunity to visit  some of our attractions and activities we have to offer.  I hope that you tell your family and friends when you return home and perhaps you will make a return visit with them in the future.

In closing I would like to extend best wishes to all the students for your studies and for the future and I wish our visitors from Germany a safe journey home.

Thank you.