International Convention 88 in Denver Colorado USA

This was the first in recent times to be held close to World Headquarters, following the move from California to Denver 18 months ago.

Initially the Trio initially interviewed candidates for the Board positions followed by two days of training. With other members of District 70, we then had a guided tour of all departments in the World Headquarters Building which features a display of Ralph C Smedley’s history in the impressive Lobby.

This convention initiated the new contest structure with two International Speech Contest Semifinals having seven contestants.

Our region winner from District 73 (Vic/ SA and Tas) Bharat Sangekar, successful in the Contest One, progressed to the World Championship Final.

In Contest Two, Kwong Yue Yang representing District 89 (China) and Daniel Midson-Short District F (California) were both Australian born. So there were three Australians from six finalists in the World Championship of Public Speaking.

Aaron Beverley- Region 7, Luisa Montalvo - Region 3 and Kwong Yue Yang - Region 14, placed first, second and third.

With the reduction in the number of Semifinal Contests there was more opportunity for Educationals and eight sessions from which to choose. A highlight was presenter Nicholas King (District 90 Oracle Toastmasters and District 70 Professional Speakers).

Greg Van Borssum became Australia’s first Accredited Speaker following a wonderful presentation on recognizing the signs of depression.

I was privileged to carry the Australian flag in a guard of honour at the Opening Ceremony for the Board of Directors during which a wonderful keynote speaker Phil Hanson gathered three thousand small squares (hand-drawn by the members) to create an outstanding picture montage of Nelson Mandela.

Jan Vecchio was recognized by Toastmasters International with a Presidential Citation for her services to District 70 and more recently District 90.

At the Board of Directors briefing a number of changes were announced including additional changes in Pathways. Members can now select a path without completing the assessment and members of prospective clubs will be able to work on level 1 of a pathway. There will be more upgrades to Pathways including the ability to see all of the projects in your chosen path.

The recent changes to the new Contest Rule Book have been officially revoked and we will return to the previous year’s Rule Book. Advanced Leadership Training will be starting from 1st November.

The next convention is in Paris, France from the 5th – 8th August 2020. Come along and enjoy the sites of Paris and attend your first convention.