The 40th World Scout Conference started this morning in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Nearly 1400 participants and support team members from 130 countries have gathered for what is the largest international event in the history of Slovenia.
In the first session, Jernej Stritih, President of the Slovenian National Scout Organization, welcomed all delegates to the Conference. He reminded them that his country and the wider European Region were faced by conflicts not so long ago, but that Scouting continued throughout these difficult years, thanks to one reason: Scouting is based on strong values.
John May, Vice-Chairperson of the World Scout Committee, read a very inspiring
keynote address from former President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Walesa. The rest of the morning was devoted to Regional Meetings.
At the beginning of the afternoon, after a tribute to the Scouts “Gone Home” in the past Triennium, a number of procedural questions were addressed. One highlight was the vote from the Conference delegates in allowing the NSOs from Palestine, Curaçao and Aruba to start the process of applying for full membership rights, including voting rights. This session closed with the welcoming of Monaco and South Sudan as new WOSM members and the presentation of Centenary Diplomas to NSOs that have celebrated their centenary.
World Scout Committee Chairman, Simon Rhee, then delivered his Report. Chairman Rhee focused his speech on the numerous achievements of the outgoing World Scout Committee over the past three and half years, as contained in the Triennial Report 2011-2014.
After a short presentation on a Messenger of Peace project by the Scout Association of Colombia, Scott Teare, Secretary General of WOSM, delivered his Report, entitled “Unity in diversity”. Scott paid tribute to his predecessor, Luc Panissod, for many of the initiatives that he started as Secretary General. Scott Teare also touched on the need to focus all of WOSM’s activities to bring more young people into Scouting.
Later in the afternoon, WOSM’s Treasurer, Olivier Dunant, issued his Report. He was followed by John Geoghegan, Director of the World Scout Foundation, who invited delegates to focus on the social impact of Scouting in order to help raise more resources for the Movement worldwide. Towards the end of the afternoon, a Report on the 12th Youth Forum was presented, as well as the new Youth Advisors to the World Scout Committee.
Day 1 of #ScoutConf concluded with a presentation of the candidates for election to the World Scout Committee. This very exciting first day ended with the official Opening Ceremony, including a keynote address from the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Borut Pahor.