News: Executive Director’s Report

Ten Minutes to Open Our Hands to the world

How do we understand: “Palms Australia: Opening our hands to the world”?

To view our palms we need to open our hands. This idea almost replaces the conception of Palms Australia as an institution or organisation, to that of a process or posture. We are Australians who open our hands to the world.

What this might convey is articulated around the palm in our greeting card as shown here:

Opening our hands to the world is as much about being ready to receive the wisdom from the life experience of others as it is about what we have to offer.
Feel it…turn your palms face up…Widen your arms a little. As we open our hands and widen our arms we also open our hearts. We are ready to receive. It is the opposite of folded arms, a pointed finger or a closed fist.
It requires us to become vulnerable and prepared to remove ignorance of what we might not understand about fellow human beings and, as a consequence, lessens our fear and prejudice.

If we “open our hands to the world” like this we are adopting a posture that will enable us to successfully live by Palms values, achieve Palms vision, or accomplish the three threads of the Palms mission. It is a posture that welcomes solidarity lived with love, justice and humility; a posture that facilitates the building of networks that link and engage people across cultures in order to reduce poverty. It is actually a prerequisite to accomplishing each thread of our mission:

  1. The “exchange of knowledge and skills” required “to build the capacity of individuals and strengthen institutions” begins with the integrity personified by open hands.
  2. Open hands are a prerequisite if “Australian communities and partner communities are to engage (through either Fair Trade or CommUnity) so that each increases their awareness and enthusiasm to encourage just, sustainable, interdependent and peaceful development.” And,
  3. “Advancing mutually enriching and challenging relationships of understanding, acceptance and care, to the point of sharing worlds of meaning in the deepest sense, with people of a culture different from one’s own”, cannot begin if hands and hearts are not open.

Governance Requires Open Hands

This is an election year for Palms Board and all seven elected positions are open. Peter Corser, Michael Kukla, and Martin Crick have opened their hands to the world as Palms Directors for two consecutive three-year terms, which is the constitutional limit. We therefore need at least three nominees with an interest and capacity to help the rest of us to open our hands even wider.

Directors keep an eye on the implementation of strategies, the finances that support those strategies and the framework in which we operate as an Australian company. At four ordinary meetings each year (either in person, or via electronic communication) they give guidance on volunteer placements, networking, sales & marketing and many other areas. A nominee needs to bring qualifications and experience to the issues likely to confront Palms as an organisation, to ensure we operate according to our values and mission and that we continue to realise our vision.

Palms’ members can nominate or second the nomination of a suitable candidate (not necessarily a Palms member) by completing and returning the enclosed nomination form before Friday August 29th. If there are more nominees than positions members will receive a ballot paper and biography of candidates before Monday September 22nd. Voting, by proxy or in person, will take place at the AGM, just prior to the Jubilee Dinner on Saturday October 18th.

Annual Membership

Palms Australia is a unique independent and democratic organisation, open to the direction of its members. However, your membership needs to be current if you wish to vote. All memberships fall due on July 1, so even if you do not wish to nominate a director, do complete theĀ membership form on the flip side of the nomination form and pop it in the post. It need cost nothing and in you will have again taken the opportunity to open our hands to the world.

Roger O’Halloran
Executive Director

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Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have. - Emile Chartier