Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Monday, January 11, 2010

3 January: Gertrud Baer Seminar and Dance Recital

Editor's Note: Internet access was not available for IB participants on the campus of Gujurat Vidyapith. I am back in Los Angeles and will blog as my schedule allows with some details from the meeting. The minutes of the meeting will provide the most comprehensive report, but the Executive Committee will need time to compile and approve them before they are published.

Unfortunately, I did not attend the Gertrud Baer seminar. It was attended by many members of WILPF India and all international WILPFers who were on campus at the time. It began in the morning with an introduction of the leaders of WILPF India and WILPF International. The seminar itself began with an introduction to WILPF: Susi Snyder gave her famous presentation on WILPF's structure. I hope this portion was videotaped and/or the information is now available in a presentation. One of my goals is to make all presentations from the meeting available not only on WILPF's website, but also on Slideshare. By distributing our information on community platforms across the net, we'll increase our visibility and potentially attract new members and new funders.

The participants were broken up into small groups to answer 3 questions:
1. Why join WILPF?
2. What would you say to an older member of WILPF?
3. What would you say to a newer member of WILPF?

The discussions got quite lively and a lot of new energy was found for membership recruitment and retention. I look forward to the written report from the seminar.

Unfortunately, Young WILPF (Y-WILPF) was not represented at the meeting. There was some age diversity in the participants, but the international networking group for younger members did not meet during in India, nor was its future discussed in depth. I know from discussions with the WILPF US representative to the international Y-WILPF organizing committee, Kristina Mader, that it has been difficult for US Y-WILPFers to maintain contact with their international sisters. I hear that young members are quite active in some of our sections (including the UK and Sweden), but not as active in other sections. As a reminder, on the international level the definition of "young" is left to the interpretation of individual participants. In the US, the network is available to all WILPFers 35 and younger.

I arrived in the evening and was able to join my sister WILPFers for a delicious vegetarian meal and then attend a cultural program. The entire hall filled up with local people, and they graciously reserved the first two rows for us. The program consisted of folk and modern dance, performed by students and it was just wonderful. The evening ended with singing the Indian national anthem.

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