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

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Executive Committee Elected, Program Discussed, Departure

This post was written by Catia Confortini, WILPF US Representative to the International Board.

This is my last blog report from the 30th WILPF International Congress. Today was our voting day and I am glad to report that we elected as new International President Adilia Caravaca from Costa Rica. The four Vice Presidents elected were Martha Jean Baker from the UK, Ila Pathak from India, Neelima Sihn from India and Kirsten Griebaeck from Sweden. Nancy Ramsden will continue to be our International Treasurer. We also approved a number of resolutions and the International Program, all of which will soon be published on the international congress website.

WILPF Secretary General Madeleine Rees has committed to revise the international program she and WILPF staff drafted by the end of September 2011 to incorporate the good suggestions received at congress. She insisted that Program and Resolutions are empty words if not for us who will translate them into action. During the discussion the UK representative Lorraine Mirham suggested that, once Madeleine has produced the final version, we make sure the program is circulated among the branches and members, and that could also make part of the packet that we send to new members when they pay their first membership fee.

I will make sure to circulate the program to the branches list and on WILPF website and this blog, but it is up to you to bring it to each other attention. If you are a contact person for your branch, make sure these blogs as well as the international program and information from the congress website reaches your members!

I forgot to mention in my previous reports that we had a very productive meetings of the Americas, where we decided to create a quarterly bulletin describing the activities of our sections and branches and linking them to international program, in particular with the two WILPF projects in New York. The bulletin will be bilingual. I will send you more information about the decisions taken at this meeting when the minutes are approved and translated.

Last night we were treated to a vegetarian, organic dinner organized by the Costa Rican Section and prepared and served by volunteers from a network of women’s cooperatives that serves to empower rural women in Costa Rica and help them find markets for their products. Many of us bought souvenirs and food products to bring home with them. Who knows, next time you go to one of your WILPF sisters’ house you will be washing your hands with Costa Rica organic fairly traded soap! It is here that I would like to thank the Costa Rican section (and in particular our new International President) for the marvelous organization, for their hospitality and tireless work and the new ties of friendship develop in San Jose. I also would like to thank the International staff and the Swedish section for having generously donated time and resources to make this possible. In particular, big kudos go to young WILPFer Karin Friedrich who, on her own time and money, went from Sweden to Geneva to put this congress together. Her attention to detail, dedication to WILPF, and many many hours of work made all run incredibly smoothly. Young WILPFer Jennifer from the UK Section is going to set up a Flick’r account where pictures from Congress will be posted hopefully very soon!

As final commentary about congress, I would like to commend and thank the US delegation for having positively contributed to this congress in so many ways and for their commitment to the work of WILPF International. Look for more news about the congress on the next issue of Peace and Freedom, where many of our delegation members will be contributing articles on the different subjects discussed at congress and on the wonderful developing contacts with WILPFers around the world!

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