2009-02-18

H.M. The King's Speech at the Baden-Powell Fellowship Ceremony, Thailand, 18 February 2009

Dear Friends,

It is wonderful to be back in Thailand again, surrounded by scouts and friends.

Last time we met here, was in August 2008. At that occasion we decided to arrange a new Baden-Powell Fellowship ceremony within half a year. I am glad that vision could become true.

Scouts around the world have something important in common – we are leaders who try to make a better world to live in. In particular, we care about the young people who are going to take over from us in the coming years.

I am concerned about the future. In this globalised world with deep economic difficulties, people sometimes seem to lose hope for the future. Young people become uncommitted to each other and few youths want to take the role of leadership and responsibility.

In this situation scouting can help and balance relations. Through scouting people get to know others who are different from themselves. Scouting helps young people develop leadership skills based on sound values. Scouts are prepared to lead and make a difference. All over the world I meet young scouts, sharing the belief that they are going to change the world together. And I believe they will! I believe them because I have seen so many examples when scouting has had an impact on society.

Yesterday, for instance, I visited “The Pattaya School for Blind". This is one of 11 schools for blind children in Thailand. There are over 140 students living and studying for free. The scout movement is happy to host and to take care of a number of these students from the school and involve in different scout troops. It was really gratifying to visit that school and experience all the good initiatives for the blind.

Another example is, when I last year visited the Arab world. It was delightful to see the great interest and engagement for scouting there. I am pleased that we have now developed a good relationship with the scout movement also in that part of the world.

Although the scout movement is based on voluntary work, money is necessary. One important source is the contribution from private people and company donors as well as the founding of the membership from BP Fellows. All your important engagement and support is very much appreciated! With us today here in Thailand, we have a number of new members of Baden-Powell Fellowship.

know you all will join me in a warm welcome to these members! Furthermore, I would like to say to all scouts here today: Continue your important work for the scout movement, wherever you are in the world. Scouting is an international organisation with an impact for our common future. Thank you very much for all your support! I wish you good luck and hope to see you at the next Jamboree in Sweden in 2011!

Thank you!