A most successful Annual General Meeting was hosted by Johanniter Germany on 9 and 10 June 2017. Attended by twenty-six delegates from St John enterprises across Europe (including Cyprus and Jerusalem), a wide spectrum of topics provided an interesting and varied programme.

The first day began with our Chairman, Ian Mackenzie, outlining the general activities of the network over the past twelve months, followed by comprehensive financial information by our Vice-Chairman, Christian Velten-Jameson.

This was followed by presentations of the working groups providing more detailed information about their activities which encouraged discussion and clarification on a number of issues. Areas covered included the outcomes of the PR, Marketing & Communication Group (Dr Robert Brandstetter, Johanniter Austria) and a call to start a discussion within the JOIN network regarding possible harmonisation of the members’ logos. The Brussels Office spoke about the Youth Group meetings and Volunteer Swap opportunities for 2017. To encourage greater participation in inter-country cooperation, a JOIN basic first aid standard has been drafted and approved by the Board. The Head of the Clinical Group (Dr Ian Greaves, St John Ambulance) provided an update on recent areas of discussion. The successful implementation of the Medical Student Exchange programme was highlighted. Finally, the Brussels Office showed a wide spectrum of articles published by JOIN members over the year about international cooperation projects.

On the second day, Tom Ogilvie-Graham (CEO of St John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem) presented how the St John family supported his enterprise in 2016. Harm-Bastian Harms (Head of Unit International Projects & Cooperation, Johanniter Germany) gave an interesting insight into European Emergency response projects and invited the JOIN network to send teams to the next field exercises.

The work of the Brussels office was outlined by Joachim Berney, our General Manager, providing detail of its routine activities while emphasising its focus on networking as well as EU funding opportunities.

Finally, after what was perceived by all delegates to be a successful two-year term of the JOIN Board, the General Assembly thanked the Board and in particular our Chairman Ian Mackenzie. Our resigning Chairman presented a flag with all JOIN members as a personal farewell gift. Johannes Bucher from Johanniter Austria was elected as the new Chairman for the next two years. The other Board members elected were Christian Velten-Jameson (Association des Oeuvres de Saint-Jean France), Wolf-Ingo Kunze (Johanniter Germany) and Eric von Troil (Johanniter Finland), while a fifth member from St John Ambulance will be appointed soon.

In his first speech, the new Chairman Johannes Bucher briefly identified the working priorities of the next years. The AGM 2018 will be hosted by our Italian member S.O.G.IT in Lignano in early June.