It is only days away from Chinese New Year in Malaysia, and the city is decorated in an amazingly beautiful and festive way. The Alliance of Youth CEOs, or the Big 6 as we often call it for short, has its annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur. You may ask yourself why we travel all this way to meet with Red Cross, the Scouts, the Girl Guides and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award together with the World YMCA? Aren’t all of them headquartered either in Geneva or in London? Have you gone travel crazy?
The answer is quite simply that the Scouts Movement has done the brave and courageous step to move their headquarter to the Area where there are most Scouts, namely Asia Pacific. Therefore we go all the way to Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur to be hosted by the Scouts. The first evening Scott Teare, the Secretary General of the Scouts Movement, host us in the Orchid – room of Hotel Majestic, a fine traditional KL hotel with architecture from colonial times, and we dine together with the owner of the hotel. (We have placed two Swedes at the front of the photo to give it a touch of style and friendliness.)
We discuss many matters of common interest in addition to being a peer support group for people in rather lonely jobs. Anita from the Girl Guides presented their work on the campaign against violence against children. David from the Scouts presented what they are doing on Impact Assessment. Xavier from the Red Cross talked about the 1 Billion Campaign for Resilience (Disaster Preparedness) and I had the pleasure of launching the One Million Voices Youth Research. The research got enthusiastic feedback and lots of questions and discussion afterwards. The YMCA was really complimented for its solid work with youth research, and the other organisations were all interested in sharing the results with their own staff and volunteers. Great!
This is the Peer Support part of the network. After some years we are close friends and have fun and plot and plan together. This is John May, leader of the International Award in London, Scott Teare, leader of the Scouts and humbly Yours, whose face takes up a tiny little part of the corner of the photo. YWCA unfortunately had to apologise for this meeting.
The staff of the Scouts Movement introduced themselves to us and gave us a very friendly and hospitable reception.
Xavier to the left is the Area Secretary of Red Cross and Crescent in Asia Pacific, also based in Kuala Lumpur, a very sympathetic new acquaintance. Then John May and Gary Davis from the International Award in London
John has a peculiar habit of photographing their logo-bird wherever he travels.
And while you are enjoying an orchid in full blooming, I give you a quote from my good friend and predecessor in my job, John Casey of Chicago from yesterday:
“Johan: A little bit of history. I can’t remember the exact year, probably 1995 or
96 that I received a call from a guy that said that he was Prince Philip from
London. My first inclination was to say that he got the wrong number because I am Louis IV from Paris. But yes it was Prince Philip and he laid out the idea of
a meeting of the Big 6. Our first meeting was hosted by the YWCA in Geneva at which time we all agreed to make this a regular event.
I am glad to hear that the group is still meeting. Have an exciting trip to all those great countries. John”