The 41st World Scout Conference recently took place in Baku, Azerbaijan from 14th to 18th August. The conference is open to up to six delegates from each National Scout Organisation, whether they be a single, recognised National Scout Association, such as TSA, or a federation where there are multiple National organisations in the one country, such as in France or Belgium. The conference considered the election of the 12-member World Scout Committee for a three-year term. UK Commissioner for Programme, Craig Turpie, was elected, and subsequently chosen by the incoming committee to be its Chairman. Craig takes over from chairman João Armando Gonçalves. Craig was elected to the Committee for his second term. He is the first Briton in the Chairman role since former Chief Scout Sir William Gladstone was succeeded in 1983.
The conference was preceded by the 13th World Scout Youth Forum which hosted delegations of two young adults from each NSO. The WSYF elects 6 Advisors who may sit at World Scout Committee meetings. scout.org/youthforum
WOSM’s 9-year strategy Vision 2023, which was first agreed at the previous conference in Slovenia in 2014, was the focus of the resolutions considered by the conference. The vision is that ‘Scouting will be the world’s leading educational youth movement, enabling 100 million young people to be active citizens, creating a better world.’ The priorities for the triennial plan, as proposed by the World Scout Committee, were voted on by the c.1000 delegates.
The conference atmosphere was significantly affected by the high-stakes vote on the hosts of the 2023 World Scout Jamboree. Teams from Korea and Poland have been busy for the past three years developing plans for the Jamboree as well as plans to encourage support for their candidacy as hosts. In the end the invitation to host the jamboree was awarded to Korea, with 607 votes to 365 (including proxy votes), despite widely regarded very impressive bid from Poland. The European Region of WOSM is said to be considering asking Poland to host a EuroJamboree, the first since the 2005 event hosted in Hylands Park, Chelmsford.
Presentations were made by the hosts of the previous World Jamboree and World Scout Moot, Japan, and Iceland, and by Canada, Mexico and the United States as the co-hosts of the next World Jam (www.2019wsj.org) and 16th World Scout Moot hosts, Ireland (WorldScoutMoot.ie)
The plenery sessions and the main presentations, of both the conference and youth forum, were streamed via Youtube and facebook, and are still available (World Scouting youtube channel)
The next World Scout Conference will be hosted by Egypt in 2020, after the delegation decided against another impressive bid by Malaysia.
article by Ger Hennessy – Ger is a Scout Leader living in Ireland. He is a veteran of Jamboree Media teams across the world. He often writes for Scouting Ireland’s blog insideout.scoutblogs.ie