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This year, the International Board of Directors held their bi-annual meeting in Manchester, U.K., to coincide with the 40th Anniversary World Conference.
If you didn’t get a chance to be at the conference in person, you missed a truly fantastic event (read a recap of the festivities here)! In addition to receiving acknowledgement of our anniversary from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and hearing from Wayne Smith’s daughter and former FFI President, Suzy Smith Bennitt, the Friendship Force of Manchester and the staff at Friendship Force International put together a celebration to remember!
Although the celebration largely focused on Friendship Force’s past, our Board meeting before the conference was focused on our future. Here are the highlights from the meeting:
- The Board formally said goodbye to Ivan Ng, Fred Opondo, and Kurt Haefeli who will be finishing their four-year term in December.
- James Permana, from the USA, and Krisztina Balogh, from Hungary were put forward by the Nominating Committee. They were unanimously approved and will join the Board of Directors beginning January 2018. (Read more about them here!)
- With the approval of two new members, the Board of Directors was reduced by one position.
- The Executive Committee for 2018 was approved with Jo Custead as Chair, and Bobbie Mulholland as Vice-Chair, Ramona McGee as Treasurer, and Lyn Hargreave as Secretary.
- The Strengthening Clubs Workgroup, chaired by Bobbie Mulholland, presented insights on how to support struggling clubs with information gathered from surveying some of FFI’s top performing clubs.
- There was ample discussion on the need to revisit Journey fees, noting that it has been several years since any adjustments have been made. This discussion will continue in 2018.
- The European Action Group reported positive feedback regarding staff being stationed closer to clubs and the focus on revitalizing Europe.
- A detailed report from the Fund Development Committee was received ahead of the World Conference. The Board expressed much confidence in the structure and plan in place to support the goals of the 40th Anniversary Campaign.
- The Board also received general reports on the outstanding progress being made in FFI’s effort to be more transparent, the increase in communication overall, and the efficiency and strength of the home office.
- A detailed report on the progress of the new database and the next steps with the website was also received.
The largest block of time at the Board meeting was dedicated to the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. As Jeremi mentioned during the conference, he and the Board feel strongly that a thorough and detailed Strategic Plan that is connected to the campaign is critical to the success of both. The Board hopes to have more information on this for members soon. The Board recognizes the significance of this anniversary for Friendship Force International, and we are working hard to ensure that our next 40 years allow us to take our mission further than ever before.
World Friendship Day kicked off our 40th Anniversary with excitement, the World Conference in Manchester continued the celebration, and we know that more events are happening throughout the year. 40 years is a significant milestone, and we enjoy celebrating it with all of you!
Bob Duncan, Board Chair
Jo Custead, Vice-Chair