Banquet & Presidents

Trip Start Jun 30, 2012
Trip End Aug 03, 2012

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, Piedmont,
Thursday, July 12, 2012

Conference final day - Thursday

As usual it was up and away early to conference. The day started with a brief memorial service for those Zonta members all over the world who had died in the past 2 years. Very simple - their names scrolled over on the big screen and the governor of each district put a yellow rose in the vase at the front while the names from their district scrolled, music played in the background - simple but effective.

Then the last session of business - voting on some projects for the upcoming 2 years and setting goals. Then a call to the next convention in 2 years in Florida. Because the incoming president is a kiwi she asked the kiwis to join the Florida folk with a big "Come to Orlando" at the end of this. We were supposed to be wearing bright holiday gear but both Anne and I thought this was happening at the banquet that night so I was wearing black!

Up to the mall for lunch. We decided not to sightsee. I thought I should put some more money on my italian sim card - it proved more challenging than I thought. Went to the TIM shop but the guy there spoke no English and my few words of Italian weren't up to it. We went to google translate and iTranslate but it was confusing because I was asking for a voucher and that didn't translate into sense for him - we finally decided it was recharge and I put E5 on it just to be sure.

Then a couple of bus tickets to get from hotel to banquet and back (my 2-day pass had expired.

One last gelato (sigh!) - this time "Crema" - almost a custody taste - lovely and refreshing. a brief rest in our rooms then changed into our glad rags for the evening and back on the bus. Before the banquet in the big courtyard outside Lingotto there was entertainment - flag tossing - it turned out to be much more impressive than you would think. Quite mediaeval - some sort of cross between juggling, dancing and marching. Our district photo clashed with this so we missed the very beginning but hurried over and managed to find a good slot.

Because kiwi Lyn McKenzie was being installed as president they had saved us named tables near the front. As we walked in there was some lovely jazz music and wine and nibbles. Then we found our table. Another lovely dinner was served with several courses and plenty of wine.

There was a keynote speaker ( she had originally been slated for the opening but there was a last minute change to her schedule). Apparently they don't usually have a speaker at the final banquet and it did make us a lot later but I was so pleased to get the opportunity to hear this very impressive woman. It was Michelle Bachelet - former president of Chile and now head of UN Women - the branch of UN focussing on gender equality. She had been a paediatrician and then minister of health before serving as president. When she realised that so many women were denied access to work opportunities due to child care issues she instituted about 3000 child care centres in Chile to give women some options. She was passionate about q

After Michelle's Speech there was a formal ceremony to install the new Governors of @ district. Then there was farewell to the outgoing president & finally the installation of Lyn -the 1st NZ International president of Zonta. She had asked us kiwis to sing a Waiata. There was a good contingent of over 40 & we sang Tu tira mai. It was quite special.
This conference has given me a much more global view of Zonta. I feel proud of what we as an organisation have achieved & continue to do in the world. I'm looking forward to Lyn putting a slightly kiwi stamp on it during her tenure. The conference is more than I expected. It was partly an excuse to go to Italy & UK. I think it has been life-changing.

At the end of the evening we hurried to the bus. Just managed to catch the last one. Then repacked the bags. When I finally hit the sack it was 1.30 am. I'm writing this on the plane to Dusseldorf. Anne was catching a train to Verona this morning with her friend Jill. There is an opera festival there & they see Carmen tonight. Sounds lovely. Was able to share the cab to the airport with 3 swedish women so it only cost 15€ I have a 1.5 hr stop there before my flight to Manchester. This is a smaller plane holds about 40 & only half full - plenty of room to spread out. Have been feeling very sleepy all morning.
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