Salute to the Chairman

The Backs

View from the River Cam and the Back Lawn at King’s College, Cambridge

We arrived in Cambridge mid-day on Saturday for the 16th International Conference of National Trusts.  Even through our jet-lagged fog, we were charmed by this beautiful city as we met two friends and colleagues from the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) for lunch in an English pub across from King’s College.

The meal and an afternoon nap were the refreshments we needed before heading out to dinner at the Polonia Club (who knew they had a Polish Club in Cambridge?).  The occasion was a delightful evening with the members of the INTO Executive Committee and Secretariat to toast our outgoing chairman, Simon Molesworth of Australia.  Simon has guided INTO for 10 years, first as head of the steering committee and then as the founding chairman, first elected to his post in New Delhi in 2007.

Simon Molesworth Dinner

Simon Molesworth (right) enjoying food, wine, and friends at the Polonia Club of Cambridge

Several of us spoke that evening about Simon’s service as the founding chairman of INTO, and his indefatigable work ethic through the years.  There was more than one mention of his joining our bi-monthly conference calls at midnight from Australia, so that those of us in North America and Europe could be on at more reasonable hours of the work day.  Others spoke of his vision for INTO, his ability to listen to all points of view, and his care for the world’s cultural heritage.  INTO Vice Chairman Bill Turner of Canada reminded us of Simon’s habit – while walking the Camino de Santiago last year in Spain – of handing out pens to local dignitaries along the way…and adding to the age of the eucalyptus tree from which they were made with each telling.

I spoke of Simon’s optimism, which will always be a trait I will associate with our founding chairman of INTO.  That outlook opened up new opportunities for the organization.  He is optimistic about the role young people will play in heritage conservation, as seen through the service of his own daughter as the volunteer head of INTO Farms.  Simon is optimistic that in the face of extensive world troubles, caring for our built and natural heritage is an important part of the way forward.

After ten years of service and investment of great personal time and resources, Simon turns over the reigns of INTO to Fiona Reynolds, the former Director-General of the National Trust in the U.K.  I am thankful for Simon’s work and for his unfailing commitment to the work of INTO to “promote the conservation and enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage of all nations for the benefit of the people of the world.”  Simon ensured that INTO – an international network of National Trusts and similar non-governmental organizations – was globally diverse but united in a shared commitment to work through cooperation, coordination and comradeship.

I join colleagues from around the world in saluting you, Mr. Chairman, and in thanking you for your invaluable service.

More to come…

DJB

3 Responses

  1. Wonderful tribute, David. Thanks for sharing. Hope to get to Cambridge at some point!

  2. You should try and get here Tracy. It is wonderful.

  3. Thanks for this post David. I agree that Simon has served INTO so well during the past 10 years, and in so doing has advanced all of our conservation efforts around the world. I recall that during the 14th ICNT here in Victoria, British Columbia (which I had the pleasure of helping to organize) Simon’s presence and grace and easy-going attitude helped tremendously to set the stage for a warm and friendly gathering; and his intellect and passion for the work we do were an inspiration for us all. We owe him a great debt of gratitude for stepping forward into this role and helping to make INTO the powerful (and growing) voice that it is. Thanks Simon, and best wishes.

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