By Rich Schutt, Chair, The Global Ageing Network
Board meetings of the Global Aging Network (GAN) are interesting events. Given the geographic spread of the board members, it’s necessary to hold many of the Board meetings telephonically. Recently, while on a GAN phone call, it occurred to me that the call itself was a metaphor of the substance and purpose of the Global Aging Network.
Since the meetings occur “at a given moment in time” and the members cross many time zones, the board members often meet at unusual hours in their own time zone. So, while one member takes a call at 8am in the morning, other members are on the phone at 2pm, others take the call at 10pm or even 2am (which is technically, the next day!). Board members have been quick to become friends beyond their professional experience and goals; they have become “a network.”
A striking feature about that recent call was the appreciation the board members expressed for each other. They were unknown to each other just a few years earlier. By participating on the GAN board, they now had occasion to meet and share their personal and professional stories about how they serve in the ageing services field. All board members are dedicated to serving the field, but each one has a different story to tell involving a unique journey of service to the aging. All of them have lives dedicated to the service of others, but as the board coalesced, each one found new benefits of sharing. Everyone enjoyed the learning, the encouragement, and the support that a true network brings.
The Membership in the Global Aging Network is very similar to the board experience. Members get something, and they give something; both are opportunities for growth. The only variable is how much time and commitment a member can devote to the Network. The satisfaction, benefits, and rewards of membership are directly related to a member’s participation, and participation in this global partnership can take many forms. Let me suggest a few:
- Connect with webinars and “Wisdom Talks” on current topics, featuring key speakers in our field. Watch and hear how common issues are managed around the world.
- Follow, participate in, and “like” our Facebook page so you can keep current with happenings around the world.
- Explore the GAN webpage, globalaging.org, which is regularly updated with research studies and information about our work at the United Nations.
- Read the GAN newsletters.
- Email, call, and otherwise connect with GAN members.
- Attend the bi-annual conferences! The next conference will be in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on September 17-19, 2019.
- Donate to the scholarship fund, which will allow members (especially those from emerging economies) to participate in Global Aging events.
The Global Aging Network is a “2-way platform.” This means that GAN is a place where we can receive, learn, and be encouraged. But it is also a place where we have opportunities to give, to inform and to encourage others. I have personally learned a lot from GAN members. I have also taken the opportunity to share my experiences and showcase our services with others. As you read this edition of the Global Aging Network, consider how you may benefit from participation. The world is ageing, and it needs every one of us to learn and to serve.
Please join us in this exciting work as together we strive to make aging a healthy and enriching experience. I look forward to sharing this journey with each of you!
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