President's report to 2014 AGM

President’s report to 2014 AGM

I am pleased to provide a report to members on the Dante Alighieri Society’s activities in 2013.  Over the past year the Society continued its efforts to consolidate its financial position in the face of tight revenues from activities.  The outcome reflects our objective to manage and contain costs in line with reduced revenues and the effectiveness of the measures taken the previous year.  On the positive side, we benefited from an unexpected grant of approximately $5,000 from the Federal Government tied to the purchase of equipment which enhanced our resources in support of our regular services.  We also received a small grant from the ACT Government in support of our newsletter and participation at the annual Multicultural festival.  Overall, we concluded the year with a small surplus after taking into account the effects of the Dante Alighieri Foundation forgiving repayment of its outstanding loans to the Society.  The Treasurer, Mario Rosi, will provide details in his report.

Looking forward, we anticipate the tight revenue situation will continue in the year ahead.  Our initial enrolments for this year are slightly higher than those in the first term last year.  While somewhat encouraging, it is too early to assume that our enrolments have stabilised after several years of declining number.  The economic situation, particularly in Canberra following the change of Government, is difficult and likely to impact negatively on our activities.  Nonetheless, we are confident that with careful and prudent management of our operations the Society will be able to operate successfully and continue to provide a rich program of activities for the benefit of members.

The relocation of our grammar classes from Telopea Park School to the Italo-Australian Club on a trial basis in 2013 has worked reasonably well and we are continuing to hold the classes at the Club this year. A major factor behind the relocation of classes to the Italo-Australian Club was our desire to better align our activities with those of other major Italian community organisations and enhance benefits to our members through the consequential synergies.

The monthly cultural program organised over the past year offered an attractive and appealing range of activities and was well attended by members.  A similar program has been planned for this year.  Also during the year we were able to negotiate a cross-promotion agreement with the Italian Film Festival which is being expanded this year to include all Dante Alighieri Societies in Australia.

Thanks to the efforts of its organisers, musicians and members the success of our Choir continues unabated and acts as a wonderful ambassador for the Society at its many public performances.  I take this opportunity to congratulate the Choir for its excellent performances during the year and in particular for the great success of its concert at the High Court which saw the choir being invited to perform there again earlier this year.  

The Society is well served by the dedicated group of people that serve on the Committee.  Each and every one of them makes a substantial contribution to the management of the Society’s affairs.  In particular I thank our two vice presidents Yvette Devlin and Sue Hancock and our Treasures Mario Rosi and our Secretary Davide Lucchetti for their efforts and dedication to the Society.  I also thank the other members of the Committee, Francesca Foppoli, Cellina Benassi, Vittorio Beltracchi, Orlando di Iulio and Nicola Patini for their help and support in the management of the Society.

I would also like to acknowledge the support of our grammar class teachers and particularly of our volunteer conversation group leaders and of our office staff.

Last, but not least, I thank all the members of the Society for their continued support of the Society’s efforts in Canberra.

Franco Papandrea