17Jul/110

34th World Conference – Day 5 (Friday 15th July 2011)

The last day of the 34th Wold Conference very quickly arrived.  The week has been filled to the brim with sessions, meetings, networking time, celebrations and team meetings.

The last day started, as each day has, with our safety briefing, except this time we had to show how much we remembered and say the safety briefing back to the conference coordinator!   I think we got it right…at least there wasn’t a fire to test how much we actually remembered!

Before commencing sessions, we had Reflections for the very last time, reflecting on our time spent at the World Conference.  This included singing the World Song and World Conference song (the delegation can be booked in advance for any performances).

We first heard from the Olave Baden-Powell Society (www.ob-ps.org) who raise money to support the Mission of WAGGGS.  They are dedicated to ensuring that girls and young women are given the opportunity to change the world.

WAGGGS Awards were then handed out.  This was an extremely momentous occasion for Girl Guides Australia as Eltham Echidna Ranger Guides (Melbourne) were awarded an Olave Award for their project which raised funds to build a much needed first aid post for residents of Rah Island, Vanuatu.  The girls visited the community in 2010 and helped build a seawall to protect the building from storms and floods.

Linden Edgell, retiring Deputy Chair of the World Board, received a bronze WAGGGS medal for her dedication to world Guiding and her work with WAGGGS over a number of years.

Other awards presented were:

Centenary Awards to the UPS Foundation (great global partners of WAGGGS) and Princess Beneditke, who is the patron of the Olave Baden-Powell Society and the Global Girls Fund.

Bronze WAGGGS medal to Kirsty Gray, ex-Chair of the World Board; and Della Salway, retiring Treasurer of WAGGGS.

Margaret Treloar, retiring Chair of the World Board, was awarded the silver WAGGGS medal for her work and dedication to WAGGGS and world Guiding.

After celebrating these accolades, made to some very deserving awardees, we moved into discussing and voting on the proposed motions.

We can let you know that a pilot program has been approved for the investigation and development of a 5th World Centre in Africa.  Those Member Organisations from the Africa Region were celebrating.  This has been some time coming and a report will be produced to the 35th World Conference.  The 5th World Centre will not be a physical building but will be roving.  It will allow a greater number of African girls and young women to experience international Guiding and training.

The WAGGGS Strategic Plan for 2012-2014 was approved.  This Strategic Plan will ensure that we (WAGGGS, Regions and MOs) can reach the Vision 2020…ensuring that all girls and young women are valued and can take action to change the world.

The Conference also approved a “preparatory gathering” for young women under 30 years of age prior to the next World Conference to ensure they have the necessary skills to be able to participate in the decision-making made at a World Conference.

Hong Kong were successful in their bid to hold the 35th World Conference.  All MOs will be heading to Hong Kong in 2014.

The World Conference was then bought to a close with Liv Arnesen, polar explorer, as a keynote speaker, talking about her amazing expeditions and the expedition planned for next year for a group of women to ski across Antarctica.  This is one very inspirational woman.  More information can be found on www.yourexpedition.com.

We had a wrap-up of the Conference from Linden Edgell and Margaret Treloar, with both stating that they were positive about the outcomes of the Conference with some very good decisions being approved by the MOs.

The MOs in attendance then celebrated…singing the World Conference Song, hearing from the new Chair and Deputy Chair of the World Board, thanking the organisers of the Conference and the service team for their assistance during the week, saying farewell to retiring Board members and welcoming the new members, and watching the handing over of the World Flag from Girlguiding UK to the Hong Kong Girl Guide Association.

We then headed to The Dynamic Earth for an official closing dinner.  This was another fantastic venue.  Much celebrating was done and many farewells made as we realised it would be another 3 years before we were all together again.

On behalf of the GGA delegation (Helen, Natasha, Allison and myself), we thank you for supporting us in getting to the World Conference and your continual feedback whilst we have been at Conference, particularly through comments on Facebook.  It has been lovely to be able to share our adventures with all Guides at home, along with their parents and other Guiding supporters.

 

Renée Bianchi

 

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