The fact that Toastmasters has spread to over 140 countries and provides a unique opportunity for people around the world to connect with others from different cultures and backgrounds, and to learn from each other’s experiences makes us International. Technically, one could argue that we are a global organisation given that Toastmasters clubs are operational across these 140+ countries but I won’t go down this route – I will use international and global interchangeably for this note.
The fact that this is even a topic for discussion means that there is something that reminds some members, especially those outside of North America that Toastmasters is somewhat designed for elsewhere and not truly global. The cost of membership is seen by some in developing countries to be prohibitive, access to services is still not near equitable enough with some district leaders needing to stay up in the middle of the night to get service. A lot of Toastmasters materials and programmes are available in American English and a few other languages with a lot more still to be included.
We are a work in progress and I acknowledge the work the organisation has put in to correct this. There are a couple of next steps I would like to recommend that are in our faces that would make a difference in us being more inclusive in how we operate. How about we ditch Mountain Time and use UTC which more of the world including Americans in other time zones would appreciate than a localised time zone. Then we could consistently go through the inconvenience of duplicating Toastmasters International sessions to make the timing more inclusive – not do in selected cases. Then one day, hopefully in the not too distant future, we can look forward to a day when we can have distributed remote teams that service our members 24 hours during the work week.
Do you think Toastmasters International is truly global?
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