38th World Scout Conference – Summary

The 38th World Scout Conference was held 14-18 July 2008 on Jeju Island, Korea. It was attended by 1189 participants from 150 countries. Hosted by the Korea Scout Association, The Conference was officially opened opened by Dr. Han Seung-soo, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea.

Aside from the official sessions and workshops, participants had the opportunity to take part in a varied evening programme and an educational tour of Jeju Island on the Wednesday afternoon.

The World Scout Conference is the governing body, the "general assembly" of World Scouting, and is composed of all the members of the Organisation: the National Scout Organizations.

Its function is to consider the policy and standards of the Scout Movement throughout the world, formulate the general policy of the World Organization, and take the action required to further the purpose of the Movement.

The Conference welcomed five new members to their first Conference: National Association of Cambodian Scouts (NACS) the Organization of the Scout Movement of Kazakhstan (OSMK), Association of Scouts of Montenegro; Scouts of Syria; National Organization of Scouts of Ukraine (NOSU).
The admission of Montenegro as a Member Organization has changed the status of the National Scout Organization of Serbia, which retains membership in WOSM.
All were presented with a certificate of membership on the opening day of the Conference.

Progress reports were made about the following future events:
13th World Scout Moot, Kenya 2010
39th World Scout Conference, Brazil 2011
22nd World Scout Jamboree, Sweden 2011
Japan was chosen by the Conference to host the 23rd World Scout Jamboree in 2015. Singapore also made an invitation to host the event.

Six people were elected to a six-year term and one to a three-year term on the World Scout Committee, from a field of twelve candidates:
Mr. Eric Khoo Heng-Pheng, Malaysia
Mr. Wahid Labidi, Tunisia
Mr. John May, United Kingdom
Mr. John Neysmith, Canada
Mr. Oscar Palmquist, Brazil
Mr. Simon Rhee, Korea
For a 3 year term:
Mr. William F. “Rick” Cronk, USA

The World Scout Committee elected the following officers:
Chairman: Mr. William F. “Rick” Cronk, USA
Vice-Chairman: Mr. Mario Diaz Martinez, Spain
Vice-Chairman: Mr. Simon Rhee, Korea

Continuing their mandates on the World Scout Committee are Mrs. Thérèse Bermingham (Ireland), Mr. Mario Diaz Martinez (Spain), Mr. Georges El Ghorayeb (Lebanon), Mr. Nkwenkwe Nkomo (South Africa), Mr. Gualtiero Zanolini (Italy).

Retiring World Scout Committee members are: Mr. Philippe Da Costa (France), Mr. John A. Gemmill (Canada), Mr. Habibul Alam (Bangladesh), Mr. Wayne Perry (USA), Mrs. Ana E. Piubello (Argentina), Mr. Mohamed Triki (Tunisia).

The Bronze Wolf, the only award of the World Scout Committee, was presented to Mr. Willian “Bill” Cockroft (United Kingdom), Mr. William F. “Rick” Cronk (USA), Lalit Mohan Jain (India), Sir Garth Morrison (United Kingdom), Yongyudh Vajiradhul (Thailand), Neil Westaway (Australia). The following were presented at another time following the previous World Scout Conference: His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, Klaus J. Jacobs (Switzerland), David Bull (United Kingdom), Toby Takemichi Suzuki (Japan), Henry R. “Bill” Hall (United Kingdom), Kirsty M. Brown (Australia).

Key-note reports were made by Philippe Da Costa, Chairman of the World Scout Committee; Luc Panissod, Acting Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement; and Maurice Machenbaum, Treasurer.
Governance was a key focus throughout the Conference. Some of the issues identified were:

  • The need for continued debate and analysis in the next triennium;
  • Policy and strategy for World Scouting needs to be developed at world level but delivery should be local;
  • A deeper debate on membership criteria;
  • The financial implications of good governance must be addressed;
  • The need for improvement in the Organization's communications, having regard to differing situations around the world;
  • The need to develop more partnerships and to find ways of making sustainable developments in our governance.

On the Strategy for Scouting, progress on each of the seven priorities was reported with many countries presenting examples of success and best practices. NSOs had the opportunity to participate in a choice of over 30 workshops on topics such as membership growth, youth programme, support to volunteers and developing volunteering in Scouting, and Scouting's profile, Some of the main issues identified to work towards in the coming triennium are: involving young people, supporting adults, better communications and improving the image of Scouting.

Issues relating to membership growth were addressed such as the need to offer better Scouting to more young people. A new membership development toolkit was presented to the Conference in order to encourage NSOs to think about the topic and learn how they can get new members and retain existing ones through the example of NSO best practices. A dynamic workshop allowed NSOs to interactively explore the toolkit and take a copy was provided to each NSO to home with them.

The new corporate identity of the World Scout Shop has been launched during the Conference, following the decision of the Board of Scout Resources International (SCORE) to start a plan of development for 2008-2011. Scout Store, as it is now known, will provide new services to the NSOs and all Scout event organisers.

Many of WOSM´s partners were participating in the Conference. These Included Vice Chairman Linden Egdell and Chief Executive Mary McPhail from World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Dong Eung-Park from Korean Committee for UNICEF, Hon. Abdourahmane Sow from World Scout Parliamentary Union, President of CONGO (Conference of NGOs) and distinguished representatives from SCORE, Kandersteg, DESMOS, International Catholic Conference of Scouting, International Scout and Guide Fellowship, International Union of Muslim Scouts and YWCA.

The new World Scout Environment Programme (WSEP) was launched at the Conference- this includes the World Scout Environment Badge, activity resources, and a framework for environment education. The WSEP strengthens the commitment of World Scouting to the environment. The Web of Hope, a partner organisation of WOSM, were present at the Conference, collecting data in order to carbon footprint the event.


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