WSDC – Personnel Changes

There have been a number of personnel developments amongst the World Schools Debating Championship community recently. Summarily, they are:

  • Andrea Coomber (Chair of the WSDC Board of Directors 2008-2009, 2010-2011) resigned for personal reasons
  • James Probart was elected to be Chair of the WSDC Board of Directors and resigned as chair of the WSDC Development Committee
  • Trevor Sather joins the Board of Directors and takes up the post as chair of the WSDC Development Committee
  • Claire Ryan has been appointed as a District Court Judge in Auckland, New Zealand. As a result, she has resigned from the WSDC Executive
  • Beth James will act as Chair of the WSDC Executive until a new Chairperson is elected

Details below:

From James Probart

Dear colleagues and fellow members of the WSDC community,

You will be only too aware that at the conclusion of our AGM in February the Board of Directors pledged to consult the World Schools community on the details of the new membership system introduced by the bye laws adopted at that meeting. This consultation will include both a finalised version of the wording of the amendment to the bye-laws proposing a system of counting votes of members in blocks by country, and a schedule of fees payable by different categories of member.

Recently Andrea Coomber, chair of the board of directors from 2008 to 2009 and again from 2010 onwards, has decided for personal reasons that she is unable to make the level of commitment to WSDC in the future that the role of director requires, and has resigned. I would like to thank her both personally and on behalf of the entire community for her sterling service and hard work up to this point.

At the most recent meeting of the board of directors I was elected chair. At the same meeting I’m delighted to say that Trevor Sather was co-opted onto the board of directors, and following my resignation as chair of the development committee has taken up that challenge too.

There is much work ahead of us, the WSDC community embodied in WSDC Ltd, as we move toward registered charity status and subsequently play an important role in helping and driving the development of the series of annual tournaments, focussing, as agreed at the last AGM, on widening access, in a number of different ways, to the competition. I very much hope that we will be able to build on the work of the board to date, which has sometimes been of necessity slow and steady, and quicken the pace of the organisation’s maturation and growth.

The last meeting of the board of directors agreed to begin as soon as technically practical the consultation on membership fees and voting systems, with a view to implementing the preferred version of both before Dundee. Therefore, in addition to being an update on the changes of personnel on the board of directors and development committee, I would also like this email to serve as an advance notice of the online consultation, which will begin in one week, on 6 July 2011, and last for two weeks, until 20 July 2011. Instructions for taking part will be sent out in due course.

I look forward to as many of you as possible participating in the forums, and to a bright future for WSDC as the new and exciting measures necessary for our growth and development are put into place.

Best wishes to you all,

James Probert,
Chair, WSDC Ltd.

From Claire Ryan

Greetings everyone from an unusually sunny day in wintry Auckland – great for astronomy tonight!

I was planning on letting you know some other news today but with the exciting announcements emerging this morning about WSDC 2011 ( the draw!) and WSDC 2012 ( the newsletter!) which hopefully will take the limelight, I am grateful that my less interesting news can slip quietly in behind.

My news is that I have been appointed as a District Court Judge and will be sworn in on 5 August 2011. I am very fortunate to be able to carry out my judicial duties in Auckland and not have to work and live somewhere else although I may go on circuit to other places in New Zealand from time to time. I will be presiding over jury trials and working in the Youth Court which will be wonderful and I look forward to it.

I will need to leave WSDC and I have tendered my resignation to the Executive to be effective from 5 August 2011. In accordance with the rules, Beth James, as Vice Chairperson will step into the breach until the elections in Dundee when you will choose a new Chairperson. I ask you to give Beth every support in this time. As you know, she is doing a fabulous job as co-CA and her organisational and leadership skills are phenomenal. I am sorry that I am imposing such an extra burden on her prior to Dundee.

I also want to thank the other members of the Executive for their service to you and the debating community; Hayah Eichler, Mehvesh Mumtaz Ahmed, Sherria Ayuandini, Effie Giannakouri, Irene McGrath, Mert Onen and Joshua Park.

Sadly, I will not be able to attend Dundee. As a number of you know, I intended to stand down as chairperson at Dundee anyway but my appointment has moved matters forward more quickly. It means I can’t say goodbye and thank you in person and I’m sorry about that. But as my little (6 ft 6) brother says, “it is what it is.”

What I can say by email is that it has been an honour and a privilege to work with you for almost 10 years and to watch our school debaters grow into fine young men and women who contribute in positive ways to the community. I have made some wonderful friends from the WSDC community (you know who you are!) and know that those friendships will continue.

I end with two phrases in reo (Maori language).

First a whakatauki (or proverb) for our young people and their call to leadership;
Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi.
The old net is cast aside, while the new net goes fishing.

Second, from within me;
Ko kaiwhakawā tōku mahi; ko nga hoa tōku mauri
Judging is my job (but) friends are my life-force.

Kind regards and thank you for all you do and all you are.