In April 2023, Vincentian leaders from across Oceania met for three days at Mary Mackillop Place in North Sydney Australia to share their experiences, learn from each other and identify pathways and collaborations to strengthen their Societies and support their much-needed good works.
The conference theme of Serve: Respect: Share guided the program, sessions and the interactions of participants.
The meeting was convened by the Society’s Council General International ’Oceania Team’ comprising the International Territorial Vice President-Oceania and the Zone Coordinators, Projects, Twinning, Formation and Training, Safeguarding and Youth representatives. In welcoming participants, Br Frank Brassil shared the expectations for the meeting for:
“Renewed progress towards better governance in Oceania; renewed vigour in youth participation and integration; all countries understanding and committing to safeguarding policy implementation; better international partnerships and a plan for growth of formation and mutual support in sharing resources.”
Topics covered included the status and strengthening: governance; institution of Councils and aggregation of Conferences; safeguarding; formation and training; youth integration; twinning and projects; emergency relief; and Assist A student. Next steps for each of these areas were discussed, agreed and documented. These will be captured in the Oceania Meeting Report that will be shared with attendees and stakeholders.
An important part of the program was the exploration of the nature of partnerships that support development of the Society in the Oceania region and the carrying out of good works and how they could be strengthened in the coming years. These were captured in both words and creative and cultural expressions involving artwork, songs and dance. The collaborative spirit and the findings from this session and the meeting will be incorporated into the forthcoming Oceania Overseas Partnerships Program Strategic Plan and available on the www.vinnies.org.au website.
The Council General International was represented by Br Joseph Pandian, General Vice President, who gave a talk about CGI. Br Joseph was able to observe the strength of the Society in Oceania and to see the potential for better governance of the Society at the Zone level.
In thanking the organisers on behalf of the participants from Australia, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu the National President of the Society in Solomon Islands, Sr Julian Ketei said:
’Thank you so much for bringing us together. We really appreciate it and thank you from our heart. I hope and believe all the National Presidents from Oceania will bring something back to their countries from the meeting. All the members in our country will learn more from us after having been here.’
Meeting costs and arrangements were kindly supported by the National Council of Australia and its Secretariate. National President, Mark Gaetani emphasised to attendees that supporting the event was an important part of furthering the Society in Australia’s relationships with our Oceania partners:
’To our Pacific Island partners, we want you to feel us standing in solidarity with you, your National Council and your Societies and its members as you work to fulfill our shared Vincentian Mission.
To our New Zealand and Asian partners we want to work together to ensure alignment of support for the region.
For the Oceania Team, we thank you for your service and guidance as we come together as a region and continue our journey towards being strong and sustainable Societies carrying out the good works needed in our communities.’
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