While this will be the 14th year that I will have the pleasure to attend the World Service Conference (WSC) as Associate Director—Conference, it will be Al-Anon Family Groups’ 60th World Service Conference! That’s right—Conference members will be stepping into a 60-year-old conversation in Virginia Beach from April 20 through 24, 2020.
Some of you may be wondering, “What is the Conference?” Pages 139 and 140 in the “World Service Handbook” section of the Service Manual state that the WSC is “Al-Anon’s annual business meeting, which is attended by all Delegates from the World Service Conference Structure, representatives from other countries, members of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee, voting members of the World Service Office (WSO) administrative Staff, and other WSO personnel. The Conference provides guidance to the WSO on service matters that are brought to its attention.” For more in-depth information about the Conference, including its purpose, historical background, composition, and more, see the subsection, “World Service Conference” in the Handbook beginning on page 160.
So, just as the 67 Areas in the World Service Conference Structure hold Assembly meetings to take care of Area business, and your home group and your District hold business meetings, Al-Anon Family Groups has an annual business meeting. Among other agenda items planned for the 2020 WSC, this year’s Conference will focus on some potential Policy text changes. Many times, these discussions result in clarifying the text of an existing Policy so that it is easier to understand. If the Conference chooses to move forward with a motion, a majority of no less than a two-thirds vote for approval by the entire Conference is required to pass the motion. Policy discussions, as well as all other agenda items, are reported each year following the WSC. The WSO compiles these reports in a World Service Conference Summary (P-46) that provides a full account of the proceedings.
Would you like to know what discussions take place at this year’s Conference? The 2020 Summary will be posted to the website in July. What have Conference members been talking about for the past 60 years? All of the Summaries, from 1961 through 2019, are available at al-anon.org. I wonder what Conference members will be discussing during the next 60 years . . . stay tuned.
Suzanne M., Associate Director—Conference
The Forum, April 2020