President’s Report – 2012

Prof. Ian Olver’s report at the AGM, Vellore Board.

As I reflect on the past year which was enriched for me by visiting Vellore again for the January Council Meeting, I am struck by how much change needs to be embraced by those at CMC Vellore and all of us supporting the Australian Friends of Vellore and the state groups. Perhaps I should start on the home front. The Board is able to meet by teleconference in between annual meetings so that we can respond promptly to the various issues that arise.

We are showing a new face to the world with the development of our new website. The changes are not just cosmetic but will result in improved functionality of the website and an opportunity to keep up with the rapidly changing developments in the on-line world. One that is particularly important is to provide the opportunity to donate on-line which is necessary in a competitive environment where there is a generational change in how people like to donate to charities. (I will leave mobile optimisation for another time but that is rapidly gaining ground with a generation who stay connected to the world by their smart phones).

I am pleased with the closer ties between the FOV and Alumni. At an Alumni event in Sydney I was pleased that there was a great enthusiasm from Mahiban Thomas for helping to be the focus for establishing a FOV group in the Northern Territory. The alumni will meet in Darwin in 2013 and we need to determine how we may share a possible visit by the new CMC Director Dr Sunil Chandy. The formation of a FOV in the Northern Territory will add to the reformed fledgling group in Western Australia and is part of encouraging growth in support for CMC across Australia.

Hugh Skeil continues to provide us annually with a spread sheet of Australian visitors to Vellore. This is circulated to the state groups so that they can engage with students and others who have done electives in Vellore. They often return filled with enthusiasm and if they can be engaged they will be the future of the FOV in Australia. I reflect on this particularly because one of the sad notes in the January Council meeting in Vellore was the withdrawal of New Zealand because of an aging group who could no long sustain a FOV organisation. We will explore whether they can continue involvement through the Australian group.

I have provided a report on the January Council meeting which can be found on the website. The highlight was my visits to the new land consisting of North and South Campuses in Andhra Pradesh. The South campus is 76.45 acres at Kannigapuram and the North at Chittoor will be 640.17 acres of which just under 615 have been handed over. On the Chittoor Campus an Outpatient  and Dispensary Block has been completed and it is already serving the surrounding community as the outpatient clinic numbers build  The chapel is currently under construction. The next step is for a 100 bed community hospital which will provide the initial inpatient facility. But that is just the start. There are visions of a developing a Christian University of Health Sciences on the site. As I stood on one of the hills on the Chittoor campus looking over the beautiful green land trying to envision what it would look like in decades to come, I wondered about Ida Scudder seeing the potential of the Bagayam campus perhaps from the slopes of College Hill decades ago.

It was at the time of the Council meeting when the announcement of the next Director was made. I was able to personally congratulate on your behalf Sunil Chandy an interventional cardiologist who trained in Adelaide and has many friends in Australia. We can assure him of our prayerful support and I hope that he is able to visit us in 2013. On the subject of prayer, Ann Witchalls from the British group was in Vellore when Jenny and I visited and commenced an email prayer group for CMC. I am sure that she would welcome an expansion of the group to those in Australia who wish to support CMC in this way.

What of the future of the Australian FOV? We must continue to renew our groups with the young visitors to Vellore. We must look to new methods of fundraising and we need to nurture our new state groups. We should always be guided by what CMC sees as the priority for using the funds that we raise. Most of all in the spirit that is so evident at CMC we must not unduly concern ourselves about our future but simply put our faith in a God who has a plan of how we can best serve in the future, those at CMC who continue to faithfully serve Him.

Ian Olver AM President Australian Friends of Vellore Board

Website Design and Development by Identiti Web Development