Greetings and welcome to Sakyadhita Australia's AGM 2018.
And my heartfelt apologies for my absence from this important day.
It is less than 12 months since our last AGM but nevertheless we can say that Sakyadhitta Australia is making fine progress.
First, the new Executive met straight after the last event with other members who are interested in the next International conference. We had an excellent discussion based on our various experiences at previous conferences, including Hong Kong 2017, and with feedback from some who had worked on that conference. We agreed that small groups would investigate possible venues and report back, which was done, both in Victoria and in Queensland.
The International Conference Committee asked for our suggestions on this as well as on possible conference themes and sub-themes. By November, we were able to send the Committee our recommendations for both venue and themes. We also wrote a formal invitation to Sakyadhita International to hold the conference in Australia. As you will have already seen, the Conference will be held in June 2019, in the Blue Mountains. The format has been changed a little with fewer academic papers to allow space for more workshops and poster sessions over a shorter time frame. There will be opportunity to talk about the Conference today. If you would like to give a paper or poster, or lead a workshop, the submission deadline is September 1, 2018.
At the same time, the Executive redrafted our brochure, and printed about 250? copies to be distributed to members and Buddhist centres around the country. We were also able to send out many via email. My thanks to everyone involved in the production of this great brochure. Please take more with you- and feel free to share as many as you can to potential members of Sakyadhita.
We were likewise able to finalize Issue Number 3 of the Newsletter. It is mainly distributed via email. We aim to have at least 3, if not 4 newsletters a year, so I do encourage you to send any news, reports of events, reviews of books or films, or even short articles to us and we will be happy to publish!
The Facebook page is another more immediate source of news and events which the Executive is supporting so have a look, and a like or 2 if you are not already a follower!
The Executive is almost national (and sometimes international) with members from 4 states now. We meet once a month via Skype and in the homes of the Melbourne members. It is a bit of a trick being a virtual/digital? Chair but this is a wonderful group of women who practise wise motivation and wise effort very skillfully. Lydia Brown deserves special thanks for her great work as Secretary.
Overall, Sakyadhita Australia is on the path to becoming a flourishing organisation which can support (including material support) and encourage women Buddhists.
As we know, we are yet to achieve real equality in all our diverse Buddhist communities. In the coming year/s, I am hoping that we can become a place for growth and discussion of issues and ideas that arise from the challenges facing us. This can include finding ways to engage across the country, perhaps with webinars, or seminars or online discussions. All suggestions for topics and means are welcome.
My thanks to Rani for acting as Chair today, and my warmest wishes to everyone.
May you be happy.