(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Dear Scouts and friends,
Welcome to our leadership seminar,
Scouting is a global movement. After more than 100 years it remains relevant. There are over 34 million Scouts in more than 161 countries. Together we believe that we can make a real contribution to create a better world.
Today's theme - leadership - is an essential part of Scouting. The Scout movement provides young people the methods to develop their own leadership skills. And all this wrapped in an active program that at the same time teaches them to respect other people, to respect the environment and to build friendship across borders.
In the recent past we have seen Scouts showing their leadership in Haiti, Japan and Burundi. Scouts are often the first on the scene after natural disasters or taking care of refugees in conflict zones. And last year, 2011 in Sweden, Scouting showed strength by creating a new temporary city where 40 000 Scouts lived for 10 days together in harmony.
One of the leadership training activities I appreciate is the Value Based Leadership program. We started this program in Sweden a few years ago. More than 100 young leaders from the Scouts and other organizations have participated in this program. The training is managed and run by Scouts and professionals in the field of leadership.
All this makes me confident to state a bold fact: Scouting is the biggest leadership development program in the world!
We need to give young people the opportunity to develop as individuals and leaders. We have to support those who have the courage to present new ideas, give them responsibility and let them take their place in leading positions.
When I mention leadership I mean the individual's ability and willingness to take her or his position wherever they act. We need leaders, people who feel responsible and are able to take action, who make the difference towards a better world. We are creating tomorrow's leaders!
The World Organization of the Scout Movement has the program to support leadership development all over the world. The over 2200 Baden-Powell Fellows of the World Scout Foundation provide the financial support and very often act as role models of leadership. Our efforts are directed mainly there, where the resources are most needed and the impact the strongest.
On behalf of World Scout Foundation I welcome you and encourage you to take part in the discussions this afternoon.