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Skal Asia Bucks COVID Trend with Stellar Growth

Burcin Turkkan President of Skål International was on-line from Atlanta Ga USA to welcome all Asia Skålleagues at the Asian Area AGM, a grouping of 41 Skal clubs stretching from Mauritius to Guam - image courtesy of Skal
Written by Linda S. Hohnholz

The 51st Skal Asia Area (SAA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) was conducted online and was graced by a dazzling array of Skal stars who turned up eager to hear news of this year’s happenings and the plans for driving post-COVID recovery.

During the Zoom pre-meeting period, warm friendly “HELLOs!” and genuine joy was expressed at seeing friends not met for so many months of COVID-enforced lockdown.

The virtual meeting was attended by 6 of the 8 members of Skal’s Managing Executive Board (EB) (apologies were received from Director Annette Cardenas and CEO Daniela Otero who were both traveling). 

Skal International’s Executive Board

Past World Presidents and Past Asian Presidents turned out in a fantastic show of support for Asia. The list of senior Skal executives who joined were: President Burcin Turkkan (USA), Vice President Juan Steta (MEX), Vice President Hulya Aslantas (TUR), Director Denise Scrafton (AUS), Director Marja Eela-Kaskinen (FIN), Internationl Skål Council (ISC) President Julie Dabaly-Scott (KEN), SI PP Lavonne Wittman (2019) ZA, SI PP Peter Morrison (2020) NZ, SI PP Uzi Yalon (1994) ISR, SI PP Richard Hawkins (2000) SG, SIAA PP Mohamed Buzizi BHR, SIAA PP Gerry Perez GUM, SIAA PP Jason Samuel IN, SIAA PP Jano Mouawad BHR, and SIAA PP Sanjay Datta IN.

The chair acknowledged and welcomed National Presidents Carl Vaz (IN), Wolfgang Grimm (TH), and representatives Dr. Elton Tan (PH), Yoshiataka Bito (JP), and James Cheng (TW), along with secretariat Joan Béchard (MU) and former SAA Sec Arun Raghavan (IN).

The meeting host, Asia President Andrew J. Wood, opened the meeting with a warm welcome and quickly introduced Madame President Burcin Turkkan, who in the time honored Skal tradition offered the Skal toast. Afterwards there followed the Skal Hymn. 

Full details of all the proceedings and the excellent speech and presentation of President Burcin can be found on the YouTube link

During the Asia Presidents report, it was learned that through sponsorship, club activity, and input driven by the National Committees, membership in Asia had grown 10.29% despite losing a few clubs to the pandemic. 

President Andrew also announced the Asia Congress will now take place in Phuket, June 1-4, 2023, at the Four Points by Sheraton,Patong Bay, Phuket. He also announced that the mid-term SAA board meeting would also take place on the island in November to check progress. 

Skal Asia will move its financial center to Singapore from Spain as soon as arrangements are finalized. Thereafter invoicing for Skal clubs would switch from euros to SG dollars. 

Expanding on the growth in membership, Skal Asia leader, Andrew J. Wood said: “For membership, we have been paying a great deal of attention to how the Asian Area could help and support our 5 national committees and 41 clubs throughout the 15 countries that today makes up the Skal Asian Area. I am pleased to say that we have been very successful with our Project 3000 campaign with a target to raise membership in Asia to 3000+ members and have seen fantastic support in all sectors with growth in active and young Skal membership and our clubs have supported Director Shalini and Asia’s Project 3000 with substantial numbers of young students including a record number in Kolkata, now the world’s largest Skal grouping of Young Skalleagues with 177 members – an outstanding achievement!

Wood went on to say, “It is also pleasing to see that Kolkata is also bidding for the 2024 SkalWorld Congress which will be a world class event and possibly the best attended Skal World Congress of the decade.” 

President Andrew at home in Bangkok prior to chairing the 51st SAA AGM (virtual)

The awards presentations were led by Past President Richard Hawkins, Chairman of the international panel of judges, consisting of Uzi Yalon, Gerry Perez, and Jason Samuel. The winners were announced after careful deliberations in the weeks prior to the AGM – the following were winners of the 3 SAA awards 2022:

– Goa won Club of the Year reflecting their tremendous efforts once again this year.

– SKÅL ASIA’s Personality of the Year 2022  was awarded to SIAA Secretary Shekhar Divadkar (IN) for his contributions to Skål. 

– Goa won the Young Skål Best Club Award 2022 building on last year’s equally impressive performance. 

Congratulations to SI Bahrain who won the bid for the 2024 Asia Congress, with an outstanding value package that was fully inclusive of all meals and gala dinners, hotels, transfers, free visas and net prices. The congress date will most likely be late May 2024. 

Bahrain back in 2017 was famous for promoting single or twin room rates per room not per person and with no single supplements, effectively halving the cost of attendance for 2 delegates sharing one room. They have repeated a similar offer for the Congress in 2024. The Bahrain bid as aims to keep prices affordable in a post-COVID world, and it allows bringing a spouse or partner included in the package. It also allowed less affluent Skalleagues to share the room and spirit of Skal.

Finally, SAA Director of Membership and Retention, Dushy Jayaweera, announced the awards for membership growth were presented to Kolkata, Trivandrum, and Bombay. 

National President Thailand Wolfgang Grimm gave a heartfelt vote of thanks which went down very well with all attendees, and shortly afterwards, SAA President Andrew declared the meeting closed at 16:29 hours Thailand time. 

About the author

Linda S. Hohnholz

Linda Hohnholz has been the editor in chief for eTurboNews for many years.
She loves to write and pays great attention to details.
She is also in charge of all premium content and press releases.

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