2008 World Congress Taipei 

The 69th World Congress in Taipei was a success. Some 178 clubs (out of 457 in 86 countries) were represented. There were about 600 participants, a relatively low number, but given the distance and the world financial crisis, the turnout was fair. As you know, as president of Skal International Puerto Rico I represented the club at the congress.

The general assembly, where the business of our organization is conducted, was held on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at the Taipei International Convention Centre and it was a marathon (nearly 10 hour long) event. In addition to the reports, elections and other club business, 28 proposed amendments to the Skal International Statutes were considered and voted on.

Here is a summary report. For a full report, go to www.skal.org.

New SI President: Hulya Aslantas of Istanbul. She was formally installed on Thursday, Oct. 16. I congratulated her in the name of SI Puerto Rico and invited her to our anniversary. She told me that the 1987 Congress in Puerto Rico was her very first Skal congress and that she hoped to be able to attend our anniversary. I will be preparing a formal invitation.

New SI VP Tony Boyle of Australia

SI Auditor Colin Schirmer of Australia

SI Dep. Auditor John J. Ruzich of New York

Next Congress sites:

70th World Congress 2009: Budapest, Hungary, Nov. 1-6

71st World Congress 2010: Sydney, Australia

Candidates to host 2011 include (to date) Finland and Dubai

Amendments to SI Statutes

All of the proposed amendments to the SI Statues were defeated, with the following two exceptions.

Article II. V. (In effect, removes the prohibition on doing business during Skal meetings or functions).

Article X Section 1, (In effect, allows that statutes can be changed every two years instead of every four years.)

NAASC/SIUSA in Puerto Rico

I met with Bobby Husain, President of SIUSA who is also handling the NAASC affairs and he invited SIPR to submit a letter of intent to host the 2011 SIUSA/NAASC Area Committee Congress. The 2011 congress should be held outside the US according to the usual NAASC cycle, but since NAASC is being reorganized, an opportunity may be available. The next firm USA congress date is 2012, so we could submit an updated proposal for 2012, if we are not successful in 2011.

SIPR 50th Anniversary

I distributed the SIPR 50th anniversary cards to nearly all the participants either at registration, major events, SIUSA receptions or at the Business to Business session. The response was very enthusiastic with many SIUSA members showing interest, including a couple from Kenya! The Panama delegation specifically expressed interest in attending and many Skalleagues asked me for more information. I referred them to our website, which will be updated as soon as the meeting packages are ready.

Twinning Possibility

Many clubs are twinning with clubs of similar interest and I discussed the possibility of twinning with the Panama club, represented by Sara Pardo, Maximo Herrero, Enrique Pesantez and Victor Paredes. This will be discussed at our next board meeting.

Final Notes:

The Congress was very well organized. We were honored that the get-together party was the first event ever held at the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall, under tents before the grand monument to Chiang Kai-shek. Transportation between the venues went flawlessly. The opening session and many of the events were in the Taiwan International Conference Center, a five-minute walk from the Grand Hyatt headquarters hotel.

Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings, was a walkway away from the Hyatt. The opening show at the Conference Center (without our Puerto Rico flag in the flag ceremony, alas) featured amazing acrobatic dancers—sort of a Chinese Cirque du Soleil. The tours included Taiwan’s world famous National Palace Museum, puppet museums, street markets, geological parks and landmarks. The talent night was held at the Grand Hotel and the President’s Gala at the Taipei Sheraton, so we were able to see several major hotel venues.


I would like to thank SIUSA President Bobby Husain and his wife Jill for hosting the receptions to introduce the candidates for the various positions in Skal International and for allowing me to promote SI Puerto Rico 50th Anniversary during their events. I’d also like to thank SIUSA VP Michael Dyrland (Orlando) and Skal New York President Peter Lintner and his wife Gloria Sosa (from Aguadilla!) for their friendship and camaraderie during the congress.

My wife Olga (Chiqui) and I met many wonderful people, saw extraordinary sights and participated with great enthusiasm at all events. Thank you Skalleagues in Puerto Rico for the privilege of representing you at the 69th Skal Congress in Taipei. It was an unforgettable experience.

For more photos of Taiwan, please visit my Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rcfgunkle/

© Skal International Puerto Rico 2019