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National President’s Notebook July-August 2010

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SHANGHAI WORLD EXPO VISIT JULY

The World Expo was more than our delegation of twelve Society members expected as the guests of the Shanghai Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. We participated in the New Zealand Honour Day arrangements, saw a number of pavilions, gained an understanding of the immensity of the whole Expo.

Our time of five days went very fast with sightseeing to a new Arts Gallery complex, the Jade Buddha Temple, the Bund and the World Expo.

It was like visiting two Expos, with the numerous Chinese pavilions focusing on aspects of Better City, Better Life and their regions on one side of the river, and the rest of the world showcasing their countries and achievements on the other. Such a huge site, large crowds – up to 500,000 the days we were there.

We were very grateful for the excellent arrangements, sightseeing and the special banquet with Shanghai Youxie Vice President Wang Xiao Shu at the Shanghai Mansions. What a special occasion that was for us with the excellent food, the delightful discussions followed by the roof top view of the lights of the Bund.

LANZHOU CITY UNIVERSITY

Following home hosting President Kong of Lanzhou City University eighteen months ago, two of us accepted an opportunity to visit the University following the visit to the Shanghai World Expo for a very busy week in Gansu as their guests.

Our Society has had a long association with this University as one of its three campuses was the Lanzhou Bailie Oil School being the original Shandan Bailie School that moved after the disastrous earthquake in 1954 and still operates under Rewi Alley’s philosophy with subjects of urban planning, environmental, civil engineering, & horticulture.

SHANDAN BAILIE SCHOOL

Our visit here was all too short and the new Principal was very complementary about our Society’s efforts and the work done by Dave Bromwich as well as the current teacher, John Kirby. They were very pleased also to be involved in the Gung Ho training of trainers programme arranged by Dave Bromwich.

We were briefed on the a new teaching building costing $2 million soon to be built, that 29% of students from poor families receive free tuition and they advised they are maintaining the Rewi Alley Philosophy of Hands and Minds together.

NATIONAL EXECUTIVE BRIEFING

Your National Executive at its recent meeting, was pleased to have an excellent illustrated web demonstration by Ray Brownrigg on how national committees and branches can input their own material onto the web to keep the content up todate.

PROMINENT PERSONS & LEADERS DELEGATION

What an excellent team we have in this delegation that has five of our own Society members including leader Past President Bill Willmott, and five excellent media and community people – a TV producer from Christchurch, journalist from Auckland, a media person from Hibiscus Coast, Civic Affairs & Chinese exchanges co-ordinator from Hamilton and an Instep Programme manager from Tauranga. We wish them well as they prepare to head out on 6 September for Shanghai and the Friendly and Sister Cities two yearly Conference and other special events and visits.

Regards

National President

Download a pdf of the National President’s Notebook July-August 2010.