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I think I am not exaggerating if I say that in the history of the ITER project, 2007 has been an exceptional year in every sense: not only have we celebrated the entry into force of the ITER Agreement and with it the birth of this new International Organization, we have also concluded the Design Review, a truly global effort leading to what will from now on be the baseline design for ITER.
Then we saw the first successful Meeting of the ITER Council which is the highest governing board of the project, we signed the Headquarters Agreement with the French Government and finally we celebrated the signature of the first procurement arrangement symbolizing the transition from designing to manufacturing the ITER machine. The ground levelling work on site starting early next year will be another visible sign of the beginning of this new era.
All these events mark important milestones along our way. But I don't want to leave unmentioned the many daily tasks we all carry out in order to make ITER a success. Therefore I would like to use this Director's Corner as a forum to thank you all, here in Cadarache and out there in North and South, in East and West for your support and also for your patience. Building up a new organization that spans the world and that joins together people from 38 nations is not an easy task. We are starting from scratch and before us lies a long road before we reach our final destination and achieve our goal of having built the biggest science experiment in the world.
I do not want to give the impression that everything is roses. There are many challenges to be faced. We will continue recruiting more staff next year which won't help to solve our office space problem. At least we will experience some relief when the new temporary offices become available in February 2008. There are also some major items of concern for our families that everyone is aware of. One of these is the International School in Manosque that opened last September. All I can say is that I am personally taking this issue very seriously indeed. The upbringing of our children is perhaps the most important ingredient in our lives and we must do everything we can to make sure our children receive the best possible education. So, thanks to you all for the massive contribution you are making to the eventual success of the ITER project. I wish you a merry Christmas and a joyful and peaceful New Year.
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