This week I have been reminiscing. We’re gearing up for INTO’s 10th anniversary on 3 December, I have been scouring the archives. I’m also writing two short articles about INTO. One for the National Trust here for the Member & Visitor Care Manual, whilst the second is a case study for The Heritage Alliance. THA is the umbrella body for the heritage sector in England. It has been gathering information about its members’ international activity …
My involvement in INTO actually began well before 2007. However my contribution was really from a National Trust (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) perspective. My NTEWNI job was very much as a champion of all things international! Indeed a paper I wrote in 2003 identifies international activity as a vital part of the Trust’s outward facing core work. It also mentions the new ‘International National Trust [sic!] Organisation’, alongside benefits (to the NTEWNI) of more strategic international engagement:
Many of these still hold true within the INTO context. Indeed some are new priorities for the Secretariat team, like the commercial benefits.
It was also interesting to look back at the outcomes of our first face-to-face INTO Executive Committee meeting. This took place in Bratislava in 2008, hosted by the National Trust for Slovakia. We held a visioning exercise which imagined a future for INTO in 2015 which included a bigger membership (tick), sustainable finances (tick), more regional cooperation (tick), strong partnerships (tick). There is still room for improvement on the brand side (we talked about INTO membership being a badge of success alongside greater public recognition). And diversity (we wanted our leadership to be a lot younger and a lot less white!). Nonetheless we have made some great progress over the past ten years.
I’m still working on a list of achievements: Five ICNTs (International Conferences of National Trusts) held in four continents; over 700 delegates involved from 70 countries; membership growth from 22 (2008) to 72; a part-time volunteer Secretariat of nine; new Trusts established in Portugal, Czech Republic and Georgia; 7 COPs attended … But it’s not all about the numbers. I am going to ask the rest of the Secretariat team to chip in more statistics when we meet next week. But for me it’s almost more about the people and stories. So I’ve also been collecting quotes. Here are some of my favourites so far.
“The global economic crisis is a crisis of vision and values. Honour, integrity, trust, vision, the feeling of history and perspective of where we have come from have been lost. But the National Trusts of the world are helping ordinary people to reassert these values – and to make their own connections across the globe.” Lord Frank Judd, former Director of Oxfam and Voluntary Service Overseas, former UK Minister for Overseas Development
“Working together through INTO, we can identify common problems and tackle these as a sector making our arguments more robust and our voice stronger.” Muhammed Mugheiry, Chairman, Zanzibar Stone Town Heritage Society
“By joining the INTO, you are effectively employing a new team member, one with a wide range of experience and expertise to help your organisation grow and flourish.” Martin Scicluna, Din l’Art Helwa, National Trust of Malta
“INTO provides an opportunity to exchange information, ideas and best practice with National Trusts and similar heritage organisations around the world, and there’s a great sense of comradeship and common purpose too.” Simon Murray, Chief Operating Officer, National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland
“INTO serves as an indispensable resource for sharing information, best practices, inspiration and encouragement among National Trusts and like-minded non-governmental organisations. It takes the aspirations, visions and missions of the individual Trusts and leverages those on the global stage.” David Brown, Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer, National Trust for Historic Preservation (USA)
INTO’s achievements really are the results of the combined efforts of every individual and I thank you all – my past, present and future colleagues and friends. (Incidentally, here’s our son – and his sister – ten years on! Doesn’t time fly?) There is still much to do of course, and I look forward to working with you all on the next ten years of INTO.
Thanks for reading!