It was my absolute pleasure to welcome the delegates to Richmond and the 24th Annual Down Syndrome Conference which opened at the Delta Airport Hotel on May 20. The following is an excerpt from my speech: 'Communication and socialization are necessary. Children need to be able to communiate their wishes and desires to their peers. We are designed to interact. We may not always know the best ways to proceed or the best ways to elicit those behaviours but I pay tribute to researchers everywhere who are refining our practices with their insights. The Down Syndrome Research Foundation here in BC has taught me much about the horizon. The future is bright. It is a good time to be born. Thank you for all the fine work you do, both as parents and professionals. It has given me great joy to be with you this morning.'