The Council meeting and Congress in Brisbane were wonderful experiences. Not only did they provide the chance to meet and greet old friends and new, but--as always--the combined power of such a gathering recharged the midwifery energy within us all. The Congress was an opportunity for us as individuals to reaffirm our commitment to, and understanding of, the importance of midwifery care in the life of women and their families.
In several of the meetings that took place before or during the Council, there was a need to report with honesty on the hard face of the issues facing us; but these were matched with reports from midwives who get on with their 'ordinary' lives and continue to do unbelievable things to assist women and their families.
ICM Council meeting
The four-day Council meeting was busy, productive and very interesting. The experience of listening closely to delegates' contributions taught me that we are dealing with a very precious commodity called confidence.
The newly elected Board must have confidence to do what is required within the next three years; and confidence from the Council as representatives of their member associations in the Board to undertake the strategic direction that they have set. As always I admired greatly the willingness and the good spirit of the Council members to engage in and place their energies into global strategies for the greater good, when we are very much aware that for some their own local needs are so pressing.
It was apparent to me that there was a new sophistication in the thinking behind the mandate handed down from the Council to the Board. A clear message came from the Council delegates that the Board must have a well defined consultative approach to the work of the Confederation and it must be made clear how that is framed, implemented, maintained, communicated and evaluated.
From the meeting we, as members of the Board, are now abundantly clear about the Council's aspirations. As a Board we must balance those concerns with the work that must be undertaken on a daily basis and the constraint of our limited resources.
Maintaining the delicate balance can sometimes be like a high wire act: on the one hand we must take a few well-judged risks in the belief they will take us forward: on the other we must not compromise the mission and values that we have all agreed are fundamental to midwifery and to the ICM.
However we must also be clear that as a Confederation we cannot...