The theoretical end of the mandate of the outgoing Committee was Monday, 20 September. I write ‘theoretical’ because the Committee’s rules of procedure provide for a certain number of activities to continue and for some office-holders to carry out interim duties. The new mandate begins on Wednesday, 20 October. We, the administration, are therefore in what we call the ‘interregnum’ period. It’s a strange feeling (and the first time I am working through such a period as the Secretary General). On the one hand, we must manage the transition and on the other we must manage the renewal. There has been a steady stream of farewells and, like many members of the secretariat, I can’t help but be saddened at the lost of such a large number of members – many of whom have become friends over the past two years. On the other hand, shortly we will be welcoming 102 new members (out of the Committee’s full compliment of 344 – that is, almost a third!) and we will also be helping to launch a new Presidency. So, there is a strong sense of ‘business distinctly not as usual’ but there’s lots of business all the same. This afternoon, for example, I chaired a preparatory meeting of our volunteer officials who, formed into linguistic teams, will meet and greet our new members in their mother tongues. Looking through the list of volunteers and the languages they cover, I could not help but be impressed by the administration’s linguistic strength in depth.