From the President: October 2021

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In advance of our upcoming World Council and Conference, this month I am writing to you with a please and a thank you. 

At each meeting of Council there are five positions for which all Member Organisations in good standing are entitled to vote: three positions as Member At Large, the position of President-Elect and the position of Young Doctor representative on Executive. The nominations for all five positions have now been submitted, and scrutinised by the Nominating and Awards Committee. The named representative of each of our Member Organisations will shortly be receiving the Council papers along with the approved nominations for each position. For each of the voted positions, the named representative of the Member Organisation will receive brief biographical information about each candidate, and each of the candidates will indicate why they would be a good choice in the role to which they aspire. You will also receive information about the voting system in place for this year’s WONCA Council, necessarily different from our normal system.

I am well aware that the election of these officers of WONCA is a key feature of every World Council meeting and there is excitement, tension and huge activity around the process. I remember it well, when I was nominated both for Member At Large and, later, as President-Elect. Usually, candidates have an opportunity to present themselves to the full Council membership, stating their goals and ambitions for their preferred role, referencing their WONCA credentials, engaging directly with the body of Council members in the meeting hall, to try to secure the votes needed to be elected. For the candidate, it can be scary, exhilarating, humbling, surreal and a range of other acutely-felt emotions and feelings. And, inevitably, as soon as the candidate has come off the stage after delivering their presentation of themselves, they will remember something crucial which they forgot to mention. There is plenty of drama.

This year will be different, as with so many other things in life at the moment. Our CEO and Secretariat have been working hard with the Host Organising Committee (HOC) and the Professional Conference Organisers (PCO), to ensure that all Council members will have an opportunity to read about and see personal presentations by all candidates. And, more importantly, that the voting system is available so that all those entitled to do so, can cast their votes. As well as submitting written statements, each candidate will have an allotted time to present via video, which can be watched at the convenience of named Member Organisation representatives. In addition, for the position of President-Elect, there will be a short Question and Answer session to which Council members can submit their questions.
As your President, coming almost to the end of my term of office and with only one more year to serve on WONCA Executive, as Immediate Past President, I ask you, our Member Organisations in good standing, to please use your votes. Each of our Member Organisations has a number of votes, depending on their membership numbers declared to WONCA. Despite the changed circumstances of this year’s Council meeting - please exercise your votes.

And the thank you in this month’s column goes to those who have submitted themselves for election. It takes a special sort of person to go through the process of submission; it takes courage, self-belief, determination, and a passion for WONCA as a global organisation representing 500,000+ members globally. Being a member of WONCA World Executive is not an end in itself. It is not a passive role. It is busy and challenging and time consuming.  We have a good range of candidates for all the available elected positions this year. I salute each of you for your courage in standing and for your commitment to our organisation. Whoever wins each of the five positions, I wish you every success in your challenging role on Executive and I look forward to working closely with you, if only for one year.

Dr Donald Li, 
WONCA President