Wednesday 1 October 2008

Chairperson's Report 2007/08 - Peter Patterson

Welcome to the 2008 Annual General meeting of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association. The past year has been a successful and progressive year for the Sister City relationship. We completed our 25th anniversary celebrations during the latter part of 2007. We have some new faces with us and some who have rejoined us. Thank you to all the members of the Executive for their contributions this year. Thank you to Councillor Bill McCluskey for his input to our meetings.

Frankston is an active member of the Australian Sister Cities Association. We send delegates to the annual conference and submit applications for many of the ASCA Awards. We have been successful in winning several awards over recent years. In October 2007 at the ASCA Conference in Darwin we won the Best Overall Program Award in recognition of the breadth and longevity of the activities we undertake for the sister city relationship. For a group of volunteers we achieve a lot. Very few sister cities have such a varied, innovative and passionate program as the one we have delivered over the past 26 years. Every person who has been and is part of the sister relationship both in Frankston and in Susono should be very proud of the work they do. Well done and Congratulations.

I attended the Darwin Conference with Chris Hodgins and Nic Lancaster. Sorin Ionascu attended the July 2008 Conference in Gosford NSW.

A delegation of 11 people made the trip to Japan for the 2007 Australian Fair on 18th November 2007. The group was lead by Councillor Colin Hampton and then CEO Steve Gawler, and included local business people, Sorin and Mirella Ionascu and George Bacon and Julie Leiber together with Ken Anderson and Rose Conboy from Australian Arrow. Myself, my wife Margaret and Therese Sakamoto represented FSFA. Therese put together a fantastic DVD on Frankston that was dubbed with a Japanese commentary to show at the Australian fair. The trip was very successful and all members had an outstanding experience. Sorin, Mirella, Ken and Rose have now joined our Executive to help on a regular basis. Thank you to all the members of the delegation for their efforts during the visit to Susono and since the visit. Thanks to David Lee for helping put together the DVD on Frankston. Therese and David are working on a DVD about Susono.
The trip was filled with many highlights including a visit to Yazaki headquarters, a Susono school and enjoying the hospitality of our friends in Susono.  Presenting the ASCA award to the City of Susono and SOFA was special. They were unaware until we presented the trophy at the Australian Fair.

The City of Susono and SOFA have promised something special to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our Sister City relationship in 2012. Its only 3½ years away.

At the ASCA Conference in Darwin we met with the CLAIR (The Council of Local Authorities for International Relations) delegation. Mr Hiroshi Ueda, Senior Managing Director of CLAIR issued an invitation to the delegation to visit the CLAIR office in Tokyo. The delegation had a successful meeting and an enjoyable lunch with the staff at CLAIR.

During the year, FSFA was successful in placing two locals, Claire Marshall and Tom Gardiner into Assistant Language teacher positions with the Susono Board of Education. These ALT positions are with the 5 junior high schools in Susono and we have been please to help in the recruitment process and give opportunities to local Frankston people to work in these roles. In mid 2007, Elsa Chng was appointed to the Community English teaching role with SOFA. She finishes this September. FSFA was unsuccessful in finding a local replacement for Elsa.

In May I gave a presentation to City of Casey Global Friendships Group on the sister city work by Frankston. It seemed fitting that we exchange ideas and information with other Council s in the area who have sister city relationships.

The student Exchange program is in recess at the moment. We were struggling with the demands of the program placed upon us by the State Government and our capacity to host incoming students. Sam Warrington, a former student to Susono is making a presentation tonight and he may rekindle the spirit to get the program working again. Student Exchange has been a cornerstone of the sister city relationship. In the meantime Therese Sakamoto has been busy organising the visit of 8 Junior high school students and 2 teachers from Susono this month. They will look after by Derinya and Overport Primary schools. The group will here for about 10 days.
Thanks for your efforts Therese and also Miharu Morioka from Overport Primary School.

A group of us enjoyed an outing to the Japan Festival at Box Hill Town Hall on Sunday 18th May 2008. It’s where the Japanese community in Melbourne come to celebrate their culture and for us to get our own Japanese fix. Thanks to the bus driver Simon Hast for getting us there and back.

Promotion and publicity of our work is always well received. In March this year Donna Kelly and Kyle Barnes visited Susono for several days and subsequently wrote a series of newspaper articles on their visit to Susono and other sister cities. Donna Kelly, is a former resident and journalist with the Frankston Standard and now working for the Ballarat Courier. Therese and I organised with SOFA for her and her colleague, Kyle to meet the Mayor Dr Ohashi and some of the Assistant Language Teachers and they went out to dinner with SOFA members and also saw the Australian garden and made a visit to Yazaki.  Donna and Kyle were very happy with the trouble we had gone to help them. 

We are also the subject of an educational resource that will soon appear in the Studies Magazine. It was written by journalist Doug Neal.

At one of our meetings James Rampant showed a PowerPoint presentation on ‘Manga’ (animated cartoons) and distributed a brochure about the Manga Library.  James was Manager of the Manga Library at Monash. He recently accepted a teaching position in Japan

Our relationship with Australian Arrow (AAPL) remains strong and we continue to partner with them at the Frankston Sea Festival. AAPL sent Ken and Rose to Japan with us last year. We continue to use the Sea Festival as our main vehicle to promote Japanese culture in the Frankston Community. We were supported this year by the Japan Travel Bureau, Brenda Saunders and Hiromi Maloney with Origami and Allies Therapy. We are expecting a delegation from Susono for the 2009 Sea Festival. It should be a great weekend to look forward to too. The last visit was a time to remember.

Communities and Cities acknowledge their sister relationships in many ways.  Signage at the entrance to a city or at the municipal boundaries is a longstanding and popular way of doing this.  Frankston’s roadside signage displays with pride their relationship with Susono Japan.  It would be a fitting tribute to the sister city relationship if one of those signs could be placed in Susono to recognize its friendship with Frankston.

You will recall in January last year we presented two signs, one large 2M x 1.5M - a city entrance sign and one a smaller sign showing the kilometres from Susono to Frankston to the Mayor and Citizens of Susono to be displayed in a public place in Susono.

The sign would be a significant gift to celebrate 25 years together as sister cities.

The signs were presented by Mayor Glenn Aiken of Frankston to Mayor Shunji Ohashi of Susono at the 25th Anniversary Dinner in Frankston on 19 January 2007. 

Australian Arrow undertook to transport both signs to Japan.  This was a wonderful gesture given the dimensions and weight (some 80 kgs) of the sign.

At 8.00 am on Friday 16 November 2007 an official ceremony was held in Susono to welcome the sign to the city.  The entire city Council of Susono and some 100 onlookers were present for the unveiling of the sign.  The sign had pride of place outside the Susono city offices.  A brick foundation structure had been made for the signs.  Councillor Colin Hampton, CEO Steve Gawler and FSFA Chairperson Peter Patterson represented Frankston and Mayor Ohashi and Chairperson Iidsuka from the Susono Overseas Friendship Association were part of the sign unveiling.

I look forward to the forthcoming year and the likely visit of a delegation from Susono. Thank you to those who have been part of Executive for a while, to those new comers including Judy Heeps.
We are also fortunate to have a large team of supporters who we can call upon when the need arises. Everyone please stick around. The journey is not complete and we have lots of things to do.

My report would not be complete without special thanks to the Frankston Council for their support in particular Chris Hodgins. Chris well done. Sometimes we forget that we are working for the Council. Please enjoy the rest of your evening and our hospitality.