Thursday, August 30, 2007
I spent 5 days in Melaka, Malaysia, and it was utterly awesome! I really love the APRRCs - they have a great blend of Rotaract content (at all levels) and interacting with everyone. I was again the only Aussie Rotaractor (*sigh*), but not the only Caucasian Rotaractor this time - there was a Rotaractor from Hungary who was there as he was on student exchange to Singapore, and it was great to chat with him to hear more about Rotaract in Europe.
I ended up being involved in 5 (yes, 5!!) presentations - even the MCs joked that the only other person on stage more than me was the conference chairman!! :P I was originally asked to be involved in a panel session on Multi District Information Organisations (in a general plenary), and also provide more training on MDIOs to the District Rotaract Representatives in the DRR Assembly. Then, being the only Aussie there, it was also up to me to provide the country report for Australia. So, originally, I had prepared 3 presentations.
A few days before I was due to leave, I was asked if I could also participate in a panel session in the general plenary about the Rotary/Rotaract relationship, as one of the Rotarians originally in the panel had pulled out. Sure. That was harder to prepare in advance as I didn't hear from any other panelists (there were 5 of us for this one) as to what we would each do, but I found out in the Leaders Meeting the day I arrived that we would each give a 5 minute presentation on our thoughts on the Rotary/Rotaract relationship, so that night I compiled a PowerPoint presentation (luckily I had brought another one to use as a base). Ironically, this was the most well-received of my presentations, and I had a LOT of requests to send it to Rotarians and Rotaractors alike. (Once I unpack and sort through all the name cards I collected, I will start doing just that. ;)).
The 5th presentation, the final panel session for the conference, on "One World, One Voice" came as a complete surprise to me. I didn't know I was participating in the panel until they called my name!!! It turns out that again, another panelist hadn't been able to make it, so I was a last minute addition... only, they forgot to tell me in advance. :P Not to worry. Fortunately, when we were on stage, one of the other panelists whispered to the Rotarian chairing the panel to confirm what we were to do - a 5 minute talk on our thoughts about this year's APRRC and how we will move forward. Two of the others went before me, so I had a few minutes to gather my thoughts on what I would say! I don't think anyone could tell that I was making my presentation up on the spot... I received a number of congratulations on another good speech, and when I told a couple that I hadn't known I was going to be in that panel, they were surprised. Thank goodness for years of public speaking practice!!!
The next APRRC will be in Bali, and even though I will not be a Rotaractor anymore by then, I really hope we can go (perhaps as Rotarians!) to show our support.
I managed to come home with a very sore throat (a combination of too much air conditioning and too much speaking!) and a cough, which has progressively got worse. :( I've spent the last few days at home in bed! Still, the APRRC was worth it!! Well done to DRR Dinesh and all the Rotaractors in District 3300 for a fine conference. See you all next year!