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AGM '09: Saturday morning / opening - (#2)

8:40am A powerful Amnesty video opposing torture is screened. A shocked set of delegates eventually remembers to applaud. Hell of a start to Saturday morning.

AIUK Chair Tom Hedley welcomes delegates to the Taliesin theatre for the formal start of AGM proceedings and invites our Kenyan guests, Opiata , director of local NGO Hakijami, and Nyamalo, from the Deep Sea community in Nairobi,  to light the Amnesty candle and so officially launch proceedings.

This done, Sheila Banks, doughty Yorkshire trade union member of AIUK and our conference chair for the weekend, runs through the rules and procedures for the event, including a reminder that we should mix our passion in debate with respect for other perspectives. Based on past experience, the reminder is scarcely needed, but welcome in any case.

Guests from Amnesty sections in Peru, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, Ukraine and France are announced and applauded warmly.

9:00am Tom Hedley is back on his feet for the official speech to open our event. He reflects on a few of the changes he has witnessed in his near thirty years of activism with Amnesty, including the huge growth in the organisation.

When last we gathered for our conference in Swansea, the Taliesin theatre accommodated our delegates. This year we have had to take over another room as a spill-over facility with video-link.

Tom bids farewell to a few of our Board members, whose terms have come to an end, and to Head of Activism, Bruce Wylie and Finance Director, Melvin Coleman, who are both retiring from AIUK after years of brilliant service. Tom introduces AIUK director, Kate Allen.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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