Friday 1 October 1999

Chairperson's Report 1998/99 - John Richards

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 1999 Annual General Meeting of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association and to present my inaugural report.

Despite some disappointments along the way, this year has been a very active and successful one for the Association and I have difficulty in choosing the highlight of the year. However, there were a number events which vie for the honour of this title.

Frankston City Council has been of great assistance to the Association this year. Although the Council provides financial and administrative support for which we are very grateful, this year I thought that Council was taking a deeper interest in the activities of the Association and recognising that the Council and people of Frankston are also part of the Sister City relationship.

It is some years since representatives of your Association attended the Australian Sister Cities Association Conference and never before in such numbers. Four members attended the ASCA Conference in Darwin and their Registration Fees were paid for by Council. It was also most heartening to see three Council Officers/Councillors also attend to take an active role in the Sister City organisation.

One of the main reasons for attending the Conference in such numbers was to ascertain what is required for Frankston Council and FSFA to make a bid to hold the annual ASCA Conference in Frankston. We see that 2003 would be our earliest, realistic opportunity to hold the Conference perhaps in conjunction with another city, say Casey. There is an unprecedented amount of enthusiasm in the Committee to investigate the requirements of holding the Conference in Frankston. It will require a lot of work and assistance from Association members.

I would like to specifically thank Steve Walker and Peter Patterson for their efforts in preparing submissions for ASCA Awards at short notice.

The final contender for highlight of the year was the decision to send a large group of delegates to Susono in October/November to be present at the Susono Overseas Friendship Association's Australian Fair. It is most pleasing to see that, at last, we can reciprocate the large groups that SOFA sends to our Japanese Fair.

We are fortunate in having Colleen Hanbury accept the position of assistant teacher in the Junior High Schools in Susono for the year 2000. We shall hear her tonight.

It was unfortunate that no student came to us from Susono this year but it is gratifying to hear how well Laura Wallace represents us as our exchange student in Susono this year. She continues to go from strength to strength.

We were also fortunate in having Shingo Naito as our student from Susono in 1998. He proved to be an excellent ambassador for Susono and received nothing but high praise from his host families during his stay. Shingo returned to Susono a different man from the youth who arrived and I have no doubt he will return to Frankston when he is able to arrange it.

I will conclude by thanking the Executive Committee for their support and tolerance throughout the year which can only be described as very successful.