What used to be referred to as "the WDA Presidents’ meeting" has now become the WDA Global Executive, a name change decided at the meeting headed by WDA Secretary-General Cheryl Stock. Others at the meeting included Jin-Wen Yu, President of WDA Americas, Yunyu Wang, President-elect of WDA Asia Pacific, Urmimala Sarkar, WDA Asia Pacific Vice-President elect, and Ralph Buck, Vice President of the Pacific region (and convenor of the 2012 Global Assembly in Taipei). I was also present as Secretary of the Asia-Pacific region, with apologies from current WDA AP President Anis Mohd Nor and WDA Europe President Joseph Fontano.
We confirmed the role of the Global Executive to ensure that it continues to focus on the big picture rather than on regional details, defining it as overseeing vision, governance, policy, branding and modes of communication, and brokering cross-regional projects and activities.
The meeting confirmed Cheryl in the role of Secretary-General for another three years, and also decided to extend its membership from four to eleven members to enable greater cultural diversity and representation and a casting vote. Each regional president will now nominate another two people from his or her region, with no more than two people coming from the same country. I was pleased to be elected to the Executive as the eleventh member.
Ralph also chairs the World Alliance for Arts Education (of which WDA is a member), and he reported on progress with formalising that alliance through a new constitution. He also reflected on this body's relationship with UNESCO and provided advice about the role of the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) which is affiliated with UNESCO. Australians will remember Keith Bain's central role in forming the Dance Committee of ITI in the 1980s, and the subsequent celebration of International Dance Day on 29 April, which eventually led to Australian Dance Week.
Some of us will travel to Paris in November to meet with the international dance support group as it expands to include more countries and organisations. As one of the founding members of this group, I'm looking forward to again sharing ideas with international dance colleagues and to promoting Australian dance and Ausdance.