April 10, 2006
To the members and guests of Region VII:
Toastmasters throughout the world, including your international officers and directors, congratulate you and wish you the best at this 2006 Region VII Conference.
This conference has special meaning to me because I am a member of your region and have been so for the past 19 years. Districts 18, 27, 31, 36, 38, 45, 46, and 53 have a treasured place in my heart because I have “grown up” in Toastmasters with you. Many of you have been role models and examples to me. Many of you have encouraged me and shown me the way. Some of you have also corrected me and tried to keep me on the straight and narrow! That, after all, is the Toastmaster way.
Our theme for this year, “Find Your Voice; Serve Your World,” exemplifies what we do individually and collectively. Individually, I have heard many of you talk about how your Toastmasters experience changed your life for the better. The application of the Toastmasters program helps us discover new facets about our strengths and capabilities so that each of us finds our unique “voice.”
Also, I’ve witnessed region VII’s members serve their world. Individually, we serve each other by mentoring, coaching, inviting guests to our clubs, and in a myriad other ways. Collectively, when we help charter a new club, or launch a Speechcraft or Youth Leadership Program, we serve our world.
In the end, I think the measure of a “distinguished district” is that a majority of clubs in that district live up to the club mission statement. The inevitable result of doing so is that such clubs help their members find their voices and serve their world. May every district in region VII discover the joy of being distinguished.
This gathering of Toastmasters from the beautiful lakes of Nova Scotia, Canada, down to majestic Washington, DC, USA, represents some of my dearest friends in Toastmasters. I wish for you a very successful conference, filled with learning, fun, and inspiration. I extend sincere thanks to your International Directors, Rodger Baker and Chris Emond for their dedicated leadership; my congratulations to the Conference organizers for a job well done; and my best wishes to every one of you to continue to Find Your Voice and Serve Your World.
Dilip R. Abayasekara, DTM, AS
International President, 2005-2006