Twelve years have gone by since December 2004 when the founding of the Consortium of Landscape Observatory of Catalonia was approved and I was asked to take the helm.
Twelve years is not long in the life of an institution that wants to endure over time, but it is a long time in an individual’s life, in this case my own. However, I am not tired, bored or lacking in enthusiasm. The simple fact of the matter is that it is time for someone to take over from me as the director of the Observatory. I have always believed that in such proactive and innovative projects like this one, changes in leadership are advantageous and healthy. Furthermore, they have to take place, and, when fitting, be actively sought, when the sweet taste of success is present, when things are going well and when the institution has grown up and can operate with autonomy, as is the case in question. The Observatory will be left in good hands. On 29 March, our organisation’s Governing Council unanimously approved Pere Sala as the institution's new director, whose appointment will become official in the forthcoming weeks. Most of you know him for his commitment, honesty, professionalism and extraordinary work ethic. With this man as leader, the Observatory is sure to continue to thrive, while upholding the values we have always advocated.
This has been the intellectual and professional challenge that I have been most passionate about and interested in throughout my lifetime. However, I would never have been able to do it alone. It has been — and it is — a team project. Without the unconditional support and absolute dedication of Pere, Laura, Montse, Gemma, Jordi and the 'two Annas', this adventure would not have been successful. Nor would it have been possible without the various ministers — of different political persuasions — who have presided over the Governing Council, or without the freedom of movement that this Council has granted me. I have worked without feeling pressurised or subject to any kind of instructions, with the conviction that this is a collective and transversal project that has never been tied to the interests of a particular party. In this way, everyone has had the opportunity to speak out and no one — from the various professional sectors to the multiple disciplines of landscape and citizens of diverse social stances — has made it serve their own interests.
It has also been both a local and global project. Olot city has welcomed us warmly, and I only have positive things to say about the mayors — also of different political persuasions — with whom I have come into contact. We have worked from Olot and Barcelona for this country and the world. Yes, the world. I could never have imagined the overwhelming impact of our activities on an international scale. We have travelled, and a lot. We have also taught and, at the same time, we have learned, which is how it should be. Not only will I always be grateful to the Governing Council for not slowing me down in this regard, but also for them encouraging me to do more. For me, this was a key and strategic focus.
I will continue working on landscape and for landscape with the same enthusiasm and passion as always, but now from another battlefield. I would like to thank all of you who have helped me to continue and urged me not to give up during these years. I have felt the warmth of so many people, the understanding of so many groups and the appreciation of so many individuals! I will always carry you in my heart.