I.I. President Wienczyslawa Sato then presented certificates of honor to 20 I.I. members with 45 years of membership in the organization and to Leela Raj Kumar and Veena Dass, recognized by the government of Japan for profound contributions to promoting Japanese traditional culture abroad through ikebana activities.
The Welcome Dinner was honored by the presence of both H.I.H. Princess Takamado and H.I.H. Princess Akishino.
A toast was presented by Former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Atsuko Toyama, which was followed by a duet performance of the famous Drinking Song (Libiamo ne’ lieti calici} from Verdi’s La Traviata. Mr. George Newman from Washington, D.C., addressed the dinner as a representative “ikebana spouse.
The entertainment was memorable: three dances from Okinawa.
The Chairs of the Regional Conferences were introduced: 12th Asian RC (Delhi; Nov. 21-25, 2012), 17th North American RC (Asheville, North Carolina; May 18-22, 2014), and 8th European RC (Berlin; August 21-24, 2014).
Convention Chairperson Nobuko Usui introduced members of the Convention Committees with deep gratitude for their dedicated work. Her farewell address expressed a sense of positive commitment to the future and the hope inherent in love of flowers and nature.
The singing of Auld Lang Syne this time had a special warmth and energy, expressing the sense of community and purpose that was generated with the Business Meeting and was amplified during the Breakfast Discussion.