On Sunday, the SI delegation within our hotel gathered at 8am to line up at the Armenian Diocese Convention Center. It’s a huge building with a gold-metallic dome on the corner of 2nd Ave and 35th Street. We were bombarded with handfuls of flyers, buttons for the 5th World Conference on Women and even a book (Moving Toward the Millionth Circle: Energizing the Global Women’s Movement by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.). The weight was overwhelming and a surprise to me.
The NGO Forum hosted 700 women and men for a full day conference, starting at 9am and ending at 5:30 with a song – Keep on Movin’ Forward – sung a capella by our very own Dawn Marie Lemonds, who did a spectacular job. While I don’t have photos uploaded yet (the one thing I forgot was the camera cable), I will update this post when I return.
I heard that there are over 6,000 people registered for the 57th Commission on the Status of Women – the largest yet. In a time of economic hardship and turmoil one must believe that the topic of Violence Against Women is truly that widely held a belief and the movement to irradiate it is that strong.
The day opened with a public service announcement video for G!RL Be Heard: from Victim to Victory and a live performance that was incredibly moving. Find out more at girlbeheard.org
In the spirit of easy to search content, I’d like to take this opportunity to post the various panels and speakers individually in the next series of posts. It will be aligned with the format for the rest of this week. Instead, I will speak to the post-forum evening – the whole SI delegation met for dinner, along with members from SI Manhatten who came to greet us. We were presented with UN 2013 calendars and a listing of key publications, as well as an SI lobby package with flyers, pamphlets and CDs of the 2011 Global Impact Report. We got an update of key messages and actions taken in advance. We also rejoiced in the celebration of Catherine Myers, who was recognized for her lifetime achievement of advocacy work and unofficial welcoming committee for delegates to the UN in NY.
I had the pleasure of meeting Hanna G from Australia, who has been interning at Capital Hill, Margaret C from SI Middlesbrough in England (who took a keen interest in our auction and I in her Rotary Night @ the pub with music and a bottle auction), Any Aryany, National Representative for the one club in Indonesia (located in Jakarta – they hold all their meetings in English and are exploring the idea of multi-lingual meetings in an effort to charter another club in the country), and Christine Peer from Austria who I had previously met at the Montreal SI Convention in 2011.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the members of Soroptimist International: President Alice Wells and Federation Programme Director Anna McCormick, as well as the former Programme Director Dawn Marie Lemonds, and from SI of the Americas: SIA Federation Programme Director Sharon Fisher, who have made me feel so welcomed. I’ve met the most lovely people (Robyn from SWP and Hillary from UK, Wanda and Vivian from SIA and others whose names didn’t register with me) and am so incredibly thankful to be here!