I have been back at work now since 4 January and my feet have not touched the ground. There has been a whirlwind of important meetings – directors (twice), Budget Group, Enlarged Presidency among them – and a large number of internal but equally important meetings on resource and coordination issues. In the midst of that there have been conciliation meetings with the trades unions, job interviews, health scares for much-loved colleagues and, worst of all, the ghastly Haitian earthquake where President, Secretary General, Staff Committee and colleagues have all together reacted fast to express human solidarity and organise collections and contributions for aid. (I called the UN in New York earlier today. Staff volunteers are manning the phones 24/24. My former student (see previous post) is not among those who are known to have survived. He is thought to have been in the building. He is currently listed as ‘missing’. The lady who spoke to me, a nice Australian lawyer, was in Asia for the tsunami and says this is far worse. The UN collectively is traumatised…) Last but by no means least, the President and I had our annual meeting with all of the staff this evening. As Secretary General, I was expected to take stock of my time as SG so far but also to look to the future. I think it went well. I am very proud of our achievements together. We have some significant challenges ahead, but a recent staff satisfaction survey showed that no less than 87 per cent of our staff are satisfied or very satisfied with their working environment. And our President, Mario Sepi, confirmed that the cordial relationship between members and staff was constantly improving. This is a great basis for facing up to the challenges ahead.