I take this opportunity to write about how proud and glad I am to be a Toastmaster. I’ve been a member of this splendid organization, on and off, for well of thirty years and my admiration has only continued to grow through this time. Today, I was reading the comments made, via an interview, with our new International President, George Yen, DTM. I can tell you that I am very impressed with the way Geroge came across in that written interview. He is obviously a man of real stature.
Every year this world-wide organization of ours continues to grow, to expand, to become more and more International in every sense of that word. When I orginally joined way back in 1972 it was probably less than half the size it is now. Now it has members in more than one hundred countries. It is truly an organization which is helping to bring kindred spirits – those interested in developing themselves and others in Communcation and Leadership skills – together.
I think Toastmasters International is one of the most positive ‘movements’ – if I might describe it that way – in bringing friendship and co-operation between peoples all over the world. Because of its very International philosophy, particularly of the last decade or so, it is bringing goodwill, building the bridges, creating the links which are making this world a better and better place as far as human relationship is concerned. When we associate with, and meet people from, other places we are far more likely to become friends than enemies. It’s pretty hard to ‘dehumanize’ someone who we’ve met personally. And we meet a lot of people in Toastmasters.
At last, we are moving outside of what has long been regarded by some as a bit of shortcoming: everything of importance happening only in North America. Our first International Conference to be held in Kuala Lumpur in 2014, hopefully, will be the precusor to many more in other lands. For me, it’s closer to home, geographically. Chances are I will be able to attend this one. I’m sure there are other Aussies who feel the same way.
Be that as it may, our founder, Dr. Ralph Smedley, would be a proud man indeed if he were alive today, to see how big and influential Toastmasters International has become in the world.