Caux Palace宏偉的大廳內，佈置著閃閃發光的宴會桌和白色的椅子。 一條紅地毯從大堂通向大廳，大堂設有站立式桌子和適合打卡的背景牆。 2023 年 1 月 13 日星期五，Swiss Hotel Management School – 瑞士酒店管理大學修讀宴會策劃的碩士學生，有幸組織了一場主題為「面具背後的心」的慈善化裝舞會，以支持紅十字國際委員會。
SHMS 的講師亦是本次慈善晚會的主管 Stephanie Hawawini 指出，本次活動從一開始就是一個挑戰。 她在倫敦、紐約和巴黎的豪華酒店業擁有超過十年的豐富經驗，從實踐中了解活動策劃的來龍去脈，並可以利用這些工作經驗來指導學生。 參與者對傍晚都充滿期待。修讀宴會策劃課程的碩士生們，都要為這場規模宏大的活動承擔很多的責任。而且該次宴會是在聖誕假期後進行的，這意味著每個人都必須在回到學校後，立即開始為這場宴會做準備。不過宴會所得的結果亦沒有令學生們失望。
在活動當天，您可能會瞥見一名學生急切地從一個地方衝到另一個地方，甚至是拿著晃來晃去的托盤去接待客人，但宴會似乎從服務到娛樂都完美無缺。 來自越南的碩士生 Linh Thuy Nguyen 是慈善晚會活動團隊的人力資源經理，她詳細描述了她在為紅十字國際委員會籌劃活動時有多麼緊張： 「在假期後立即開始舉辦宴會是個艱難的轉變，但我認為我們成功了。」她說，並指出雖然學生們很緊張，但這是因為他們對每件事都過於注重細節。
另一位來自多米尼加共和國的學生 Julissa Vasquez David 對他們的活動策劃充滿信心。 作為助理廚房經理，她覺得自己可以把宴會策劃課堂上學到的東西付諸實踐，考驗他們的團隊合作精神和耐心。在強調管理和規劃方面， 今次的宴會真正抓住了團隊合作中互相幫忙的想法。 「面具背後的心」的主題表達了這些想法以及同理心，這在慈善和款待中都非常重要。
代表紅十字國際委員會出席了當晚宴會的五位嘉賓，包括聯合國人權事務高級專員辦事處（人權高專辦）的人權專家和紅十字國際委員會烏克蘭中央尋人局辦公室的通訊官Erika Oman Chappuis，該辦公室旨在尋找失蹤人士，交換信息，讓家人團聚，並澄清陷入衝突的失踪人員的下落。 當晚播放了紅十字國際委員會歷史和工作的視頻，並由Mrs. Chappuis進行了介紹。
對於舉辦「面具背後的心」宴會的碩士生，Ms. Hawawini 笑著說：「他們在很短的時間內成功舉辦了一場非常出色和專業的活動，這令人印象深刻，我感到非常自豪。」
Hospitality with heart: learning from the masters of charity
Sparkling banquet tables surrounded by white chairs are arranged artfully in the grand hall of Caux Palace. A red carpet leads in from the lobby, where standing tables and a photo backdrop have been set up. On Friday the 13th of January 2023, Swiss Hotel Management School’s Master of Arts students in Events Management had the privilege of organizing a masquerade charity gala with the theme “Hearts Behind the Masks” in support of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Stephanie Hawawini, events lecturer for SHMS and the supervisor for this charity gala, notes that this event was a challenge from the start. With over ten years of experience in luxury hospitality spanning London, New York, and Paris, she understands from practice the ins and outs of event planning, and can use that work experience to guide students. There was much anticipation leading up to the evening; not only was this class of master’s students smaller than usual for an event of this magnitude, which meant a lot more responsibility for each individual, but the event itself was set right after the holiday break, which meant that everyone had to be up and running right after getting back on campus.
The students did not disappoint.
On the day of the event, you might catch a glimpse of a student urgently dashing from one place to the next or bobbling a tray, but the event seems like it runs flawlessly, from service to entertainment. Master’s student Linh Thuy Nguyen from Vietnam, operating as the event team’s HR Manager for the charity gala, details how nervous she was about planning an event for the ICRC. “It was a hard shift after the break, but I think we nailed it,” she says, specifying that though students were nervous, it was because they were too detail-oriented about everything.
Another student, Julissa Vasquez David from the Dominican Republic, is confident in their event planning. As the assistant kitchen manager, she feels that she could put into practice what they learned in the events management classes and test their teamwork and patience. There is emphasis on the management and planning side because of the number of student volunteers helping with coat check and service, among other things. The event really captures the idea of helping each other, whether it is fellow classmates with a project, or helping a stranger abroad. The theme of “Hearts Behind the Masks” expresses these ideas along with empathy, which is so important in both charity and hospitality.
Five guests attended the evening on behalf of the ICRC, including a Human Rights expert from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Erika Oman Chappuis, the communications officer of the ICRC Central Tracing Agency office for Ukraine which aims to locate people, exchange messages, reunite families, and clarify the fate of missing persons caught up in conflict. A video of the history and work of the ICRC was shown during the evening along with a presentation by Mrs. Chappuis.
Ms. Hawawini looks forward to helping students with future charity events, perhaps on an even larger scale. And about the master’s students for the “Hearts Behind The Masks” event, she has only positive things to say. “They managed to pull off a very good and professional event in a very short amount of time,” she says with a smile, “which was very impressive, and I am very proud.”
Proceeds from this charity gala event go towards the ICRC CTA restoring family links programme in Ukraine.