Annual General Meeting 2015 More than a success

IMG_4719More than 50 WG-USA members and their guests attended the 3-day WG-USA Annual General Meeting in Baltimore, MD the weekend of September 25-27, 2015. From early Friday afternoon to noon-hour on Sunday, members had a chance to meet, greet, eat, learn, fund raise and participate in the many activities provided. Activities ranged from participating in a town hall-style visioning session to listening to information speakers on our program and advocacy priorities: human trafficking; safe access to education for women; women, peace and security. Graduate Women International President Catherine Bell from South Africa was on hand to explain the advantages that all WG-USA members receive as members of GWI.

Friday evening featured the President’s Reception and Silent Auction for the Hegg Hoffet Fund, a relief education fund for refugee women. Florine Swanson, WG-USA Development Convener reported that WG-USA members generously donated $2,500 for the fund.

Starting with a presentation on Saturday morning by WG-USA Advocacy Convener Geeta Desai on Globalization and ending with the evening speaker, Julie Arostegui, the day was packed with information. Our luncheon keynote speaker from the UN, Natalie ben Zakour Man, explained the services of the UN Peace Keeping Forces.  The working groups of WG-USA, Human Trafficking and Education, each featured a speaker and presentations from the members of the working groups. Kristen Wells, formerly of the US State Department, talked about US efforts re human trafficking after which the members of the working group presented an interactive session on surveying our grocery shopping carts with an eye to foods and products produced by slave labor. The Education Working Group featured Katie Sheketoff from Teach for All after which various members of the group discussed the projects the group has been working on the year including a report about education for indigenous peoples, the 2014 UNESCO Report on Education for All, and the Afghan Women Writers Project. In the afternoon, the WG-USA Advocacy Theater Players presented a skit to show how to introduce advocacy in social environments. See links in the left sidebar for details, photos and presentations.

Sunday morning began with a presentation on using Social Media for advocacy by the Baltimore Youth Task Force followed by the second Business Meeting of the weekend, and installation of the incoming board. During the business meeting, WG-USA members approved the adoption of four new policy Resolutions for WG-USA. The day ended with an invitation from GWI President Catherine Bell to the GWI Triennial Conference in Cape Town, South Africa in August of 2016.

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