So what happens at a world congress...?
Posted: November 15, 2011 08:45 by Sarah Beckwith
So what happens at a world congress? Well...a lot!
Key note speakers - I attended Rees Mann's talk on ˝The JCI Advantage - Giving You the X-Factor˝, in which he outlined the amazing things he has achieved post-JCI thanks to his experiences as a local and national president and international vice president. These included transforming a run down area of Johannesburg and setting up a fashion school for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Johan Driessens' talk on ˝the power of enthusiasm˝ has to count among the most unusual, fun and energetic key note speeches I have ever been to - largely because he had us jumping around and playing air guitar! His tips on how to live with more enthusiasm certainly gave us something practical to put into action!
Competitions - the debating competition included fun and amusing topics such as ˝cats make better pets than dogs˝ and ˝it is better to be single than married˝. The JCI UK team did a fantastic job and reached the semi-finals, only to be narrowly beaten by JCI Australia. The final of JCI Scotland vs JCI Australia was an intense debate on ˝the JCI brand is about what we do, not who we say we are˝ and the brilliant team from JCI Scotland emerged victorious.
The four winners from each of the JCI area conferences also competed in the world public speaking competition on the topic of ˝to stir the world to an ever-lasting peace˝.
Awards Ceremony - we saw local and national chambers around the world rewarded for their outstanding projects, the final address by outgoing World President Kentaro Herarda and the inauguration of 2012 President Bertolt Daems.
Training sessions - I attended Training Commission Director Patrick Knight's session on Painting with Passion, in which we explored how to use language and stories to communicate our message. Some participants shared their passions on stage, which included their training business, food and the incredible hulk! There were many more sessions on a diverse range of topics from social involvement to flirting in business and from advanced negotiation to personal branding. The JCI official course are also on offer.
General Assembly - where national presidents discuss and vote on important issues for the future of the organisation, such as training and the elected officers for the following year. All members are welcome to come and watch.
Parties - each night a different country/region hosts a party. This year we were treated to Belgium night with many types of beer available, European Night in a club with a revolving dancefloor(!) and Global Village where many countries have stands showcasing their national food and drink.
What makes a congress so special is the people that you meet. There were 4,600 delegates from around the world in Brussels - all there to improve themselves, contribute to the organisation and make friends and have fun. You never know who you are going to meet. I caught up with people I hadn't seen in over a year from the COC (Conference Organising Committee) Academy I attended last year, as well as those from our twin chambers, European Academy and people I've met at other international events.
I also met a lot of new people (the Union Jack sparkly dresses we were wearing helped as everyone wanted a picture!). We even met the 1978 President of JCI London, Ian Cameron Black, who had lost touch with the chamber in recent times as he does not have a computer.
It is impossible to do everything and even harder to describe to someone who hasn't been exactly what it is like. All I can say is that everyone who goes does not come back disappointed. When discussing highlights with the JCI London council last night, all who had been to World Congress said that it was their highlight of the year.
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