16 December 2022 / Vienna, Austria
2022 – the Year of the Comeback
Contributed by:
Voice of the Danube
18 December 2022

No, this wasn't the comeback of the year, it was the year of the comeback, with everybody cautiously returning to normality and celebrating the long-missed simple joys of meeting in person.
Your IAWD team takes a long last look back at these amazing 365 days, an optimistic peek at a promising year 2023, and then a little break, wishing you all a great holiday season, a happy New Year, and the deserved success we all are working so hard for. 

Launching now phase four of the Danube Water Program with a new, young team, IAWD President Walter Kling looks back with pride : “IAWD saw substantial organizational changes in 2022. We have successfully established a joint IAWD Secretariat, consolidating all management and administration activities in the hands of a young team that hit the ground running and met multiple challenging organizational circumstances with skill, competence and contagious motivation – which put us in a perfect place for entering the fourth phase of the Danube Water Program. If we keep going at the current pace, 2023 will be a good year.”

In 2022, following the retirement of Philip Weller, Katerina Schilling established herself as IAWD's Head of Secretariat. Among 2022's many memorable moments, happy occasions and pleasant successes, the one that really stands out for her was the completion of the first Utility Management Training class ever: “It was a huge pleasure to watch this room full of people from everywhere in the region grow into a tightly knit gang, keen on improving their utility management skills and along the way building their own highly energetic network of utility people, trainers and corporate partners. I'm really looking forward to getting to meet the class of '23!”

Emilija Milunovic celebrates a year that saw her live up to many new challenges. 2022 was her first full year in charge of all IAWD activities in the frame of the Regional Capacity Development Network project: “2022 was memorable in so many ways, for the professional and personal challenges I met, for growing in stature to overcome them all, for lots of fantastic teamwork, and especially for finally, after so many months of splendid isolation and online meetings only, meeting my coworkers and so many other wonderful people in person.”

SHUKALB Executive Director Elisabeta Poci had a similar experience when she hosted the Danube Water Forum in Tirana, Albania: “This was the first time ever that the Danube Water Program community gathered in my hometown, and certainly one of the biggest highlights of the year – for me and everybody who was there. On a both personal and professional level, another really exciting moment was joining the IAWD team as an Association Development Manager, seconded by SHUKALB. I’m looking forward to this new journey!”

Antonia Püspök joined the IAWD Secretariat in April 2022, starting up a steep learning curve: “In this past year, pretty much every day brought new experiences and challenges. I am all the more grateful for the support, understanding and trust that this wonderful team put into me from day 1. I could not have hoped for a better start into my professional life. I am looking forward to 2023, when I will dive even deeper into the water service sector, while climbing ever higher on the learning curve.”

The Voice of the Danube team will now take a well deserved break and will be back on screen on 16 January 2023.

All that said, there's only one thing that remains for us, and that is wishing everybody everywhere in the Voice of the Danube family a wonderful, peaceful holiday season full of love and joy, and a happy and smashingly successful year 2023.