Blogging the AGM 2008 #3 (Setting the scene)
9:06 Alex Siddall is taking us through the welcomes and processes and sets a nice tone for the weekend ahead – good humoured, authoritative and respectful.
AIUK Chair of the Board, Tom Hedley sets the scene. So will I.
We're sitting in a university lecture theatre – it's pretty packed. We have 500 or more people here this year, representing the various component parts of AIUK's membership and activist structures – youth, local and student groups, trade union and other affiliates, thematic campaigners like our LGBT network, as well as staff and volunteers from all four AIUK offices.
The front of the tiered hall is beautifully dressed with two massive new banners, one marking the 60th anniversary of the UDHR, the other highlighting our Human Rights for China campaign, the campaign theme for this year's conference. On the stage is a speaking podium, plus tables for our conference officials – Alex Siddall (Chair), plus the standing orders committee, who make any necessary procedural rulings during the event.
A candle sits in front of the stage, burning brightly through the barbs. I know there will be more light than heat this weekend; there always is and that's why so many people come year after year. But it's also great to see a show of hands of first-timers: from a quarter to a half of delegates (incluiding about 50 teenagers from our AI youth groups) are at their first AGM, a very hopeful sign for the future. Look forward to meeting some of them this weekend.
9:18am Tom finishes up and introduces Director, Kate Allen.
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