Going to a district conference is a special experience for each Toastmasters. You should try to go at least in your life to experience this international spirit and the supportive environment that we have at all levels. Here are some news and impressions from this special conference ‘Rebirth in Athens’.
2 Districts are split into 6 new Districts
This District conference was special. There were two districts coming together, district 59 and 95, and they were split into 6 districts when going home. In total there were 850 Toastmasters from all over Europe.
This was a well prepared process over the last years. The reason for this is the growth of Toastmasters clubs and areas in Europe. Clubs, areas and divisions should only grow to a certain size so that they can still be managed well in a volunteer organisation like ours.
Our club now belongs to District 109 and in this district there are the following countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Lichtenstein, Mazedonia, San Marino and Switzerland.
The International President of Toastmasters – a role model for leadership
Some other memorable impressions from the conference where the speeches of the International President of Toastmasters, Balraj Arunasalam, from Sri Lanka, a very charismatic and humble leader. He held the keynote speech at the opening and also gave a workshop for members. We had the pleasure to talk to him in person. During the evening social event he explained and showed us how to involve all members in a ‘Round Robin’ exercise.
30 Workshops to choose from
There was a a wide variety of workshops, in total 30, that you could choose from. Often there were 6 workshops in parallel. It was really hard to decide which one you would like to attend. These workshops were inspiring and with practical tipps that you can immediately for your next speeches.
Here is a video of the first day of the conference where you get an impression of the opening ceremony and the workshops on Friday 25 May.
The contests and the winners
As in all district conferences there were the contests: this time for the international speech and for evaluations. In Athens we also had additional languages for the international speech contest: German and Greek. This was an exception compared to other conferences. After competing in the semi-finals the 3 winners had to give their speech again in the final contest. The level of speeches was very high and you can learn a lot especially from the evaluations.
We are very proud that 3 of the winners are from Switzerland:
- Constantina Häflinger (3rd place in Greek Speech Contest)
- Mark Alder (1st Place in German Speech Contest)
- John Zimmer (1st Place in English International Speech)
- John Zimmer (1st Place in Evalutation Contest)
John Zimmer can now represent our district at the International Convention in August 2018 in Chicago.
Next International event in our District
There will be no fall district conference this year. But if you want to experience this special international Toastmasters atmosphere of sharing, learning and having fun together, you can join Allegro, the Toastmasters Floating Academy. This is a 4 days cruise from 1 – 4 December on a cruise boat starting from Savona, going to Marseille, Barcelona and then back to Savona. There will be workshops, trainings and speech battles, a lot of fun and dancing at the disco. If you want to make friends and new contacts with other Toastmasters this is you opportunity.