“Migrantes 2017” at TAOMODA

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Presented on 19 th June, just before World Refugee Day, at the Greek Theater of Taormina, the project “Fildis Syracuse – Migrantes 2017”  is the result of an international cooperation of promotion women’s talents and professionalism for social and cultural integration of immigrant women. Invited by Elena Flavia Castagnino Berlinghieri President Fildis Syracuse and UWE Vicepresident, UWE Board represented by President Edith Lommerse, Treasurer Annelies Pierrot -Bults and Secretary General Roxana Elena Petrescu, attended on 15 July the TAOMODA opening event  in the presence of personalities from fashion and television gathered together in the centre of wonderful city of Taormina. A unique piece of clothing designed to support the “Migrantes” Project by Filly Cusenze promoted by volunteer associations Fildis Syracuse and the University Women of Europe was sold at the contemporary exhibition with auction organised on this occasion and with gathered funds will go on buying sewing machines to be donated to migrant women, thus addressing them to a new perspective of professional integration in the fashion industry.


“I have created a Suk-spice warm-colored dress, the Tunisian markets that look so much like the Sicilian ones and want to explain the beauty of the different colors. In the decoration, it was created a face that, bored by the usual white or black skin, asks designer Filly Cusenza to have two colors: brown and pink. A woman’s face that wants to open to different cultures of the world to enrich her experiences. The union of different cultures creates wealth, creates beauty.”


Next day, surrounded by a beautiful landscape at Taormina Excelsior Palace Hotel we had the honour to attend together with Fildis Syracuse to a fashion design Masterclass led by the designer Filly Cusenza for the brand FILLY BIZ with a group of migrant women from our international Project Migrantes promoted by volunteer associations Fildis Syracuse and the University Women of EuropeFifteen immigrant women participated and together with Filly created tailored made accessories for one piece of dress material to tell their stories and emotions.


The purpose of ‘Migrantes project‘ is to create an evolving perspective on the human side of immigration, migration, refugees, asylum-seekers and social justice which is now particularly difficult to cope especially in the Sicilian context.

More than other countries in Europe, Sicily is facing a “biblical exodus” for people moving between Arab countries, Middle East and south Asia escaping from their own realms to reach Europe.

IOM (International Organization of Migration) reported that deaths of all migrants and refugees attempting to reach EU by sea in 2015 now total 2,373: most of them have drowned in overcrowded boats heading for the coasts of Italy. As crossroads in the middle of the Mediterranean, Sicily welcome women that had left their homes with their children in great haste, fleeing before the civil war in search of a future. Their husbands had stayed behind, either because they had joined the combat forces or because they had fallen victim to the bloody conflicts. For these women, the death of their menfolk means there can be no return to their previous lives, even after the war ends. Projects aimed at helping migrants are facing renewed political opposition in some countries. Even facing such an uncertain future, the refugee crisis shows no sign of abating.

The main aim of this project is giving women refugees in Sicily the hope of a brighter future and work opportunities by combining social, fashion and design on the art of tailoring thanks to specially designed training.

In 2016 we started the project with the well-known fashion designer Loredana Roccasalva from Modica (Sicily), to create a special DRESS inspired by woman refugees and their stories. In 2017 the desiner is Filly Bizz.  As sympathetic woman close to social issues, Filly fully agree and crafted for us a stunning dress by using different fibres and patterns from all over the Mediterranean, she tailored a sort of mosaic-overcoat coupled with a pure-white silk dress with flowers evoking positive outlook and hope to reborn (see attached immage). Thanks to Agata Saccone, the Director of Taomoda Fashion Week, the 16 of July 2017 the “Migrantes Project” will performe a masterclass with with first training in sewing, fashion design and embroidery skills. The majority of women, between 18 and 50, are married, with children. For most women, the income they generate will support the entire family.

Draft Agenda AGM

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Draft agenda

Please send us your proposals for the agenda ultimately 1 august 2017 at boarduwe@gmail.com. Due to personal circumstances we were not able to present the draft agenda earlier That is why we urge you to send us your questions and proposals asap. the link for the program of the full conference is here Conference Program June 2017

Annual General Meeting Agenda – GRAZ, 26th of AUGUST 2017

08.45 – 09.00 am  Registration. To be able to vote at the AGM either the known CER (as known on the website) or a delegate with a proxy from the NFA must present themselves as such at the registration desk on the day of the AGM. Only NFA’s that have paid their dues on the 15th of August will be allowed to vote.

  • 09.00 am 11.00 Welcome
    EU Strategy Gender Equality, by Isabelle Trimaille Vice President UWE
  • Sharing reports NFAs: please use the ppt draft report as we will have a “inspiration Market”. Meaning we will use lunch also as a moment to get more info on the main subjects and themes of NGAs. There will be a slide show during the whole conference during breaks and of course on our website and Facebook.

12.30 lunch – voting and meeting up with Cers

13.30 second part AGM

1. Adoption agenda

2. Minutes the minutes  were published on this site within a month after the AGM in Winchester.  Minutes AGM 2016

3. Jans Gremmée awardCall for candidates Jans Gremée award

4. Reports

a. overall report by the President

b. Vice Presidents

c. Financial statement 2016. Election of members financial committee; we call for members of the financial committee

Financial statement and proposal will follow shortly.

5. Adaptation of the UWE Constitution UWE Constitution new   and Bye Laws.

Reasons for changing the constitution   

Current UWE Constitution

UWE Constitution remarks

Background: In 2015 it was decided that because of the name change of the IFUW into GWI the UWE Constitution needed to be adapted. A committee was installed to adapt the UWE constitution and bye-laws. The committee was led by CER of Finland and lawyer Marita Salo and consisted of three other lawyers: Annelies Pierrot, Anne Negre and Georgeta Stoican. Besides the name change of IFUW to GWI the UWE board proposes to adapt the deadlines for proposals and plans as it is now possible to communicate digitally. Also the possibility of electronic vote is part of the new constitution and lastly to accept associated members. Last year we had an extensive discussion during the AGM and came up with a possible solution. Namely to introduce the concept of “friends of UWE” as members like GWI has in 2016 in Cape Town. 

6. Proposal Next AGM 2018 and Meet and Greet 2018
Due to circumstances in Sicily the planned Meet and Greet 2017 could not be held. Fildis has made it known to us that they have the intention to host a Meet and Greet in April 2018. 

We hope to receive invitations for the AGM. Call to host AGM 2018 and a Meet and Greet 2018

7. Budget 2018 and Proposal dues 2018. The balance will be presented under the reports. Because we have less members in 2016 still hoping to get more  with allowing for associate members, the Board proposes… The proposal will follow shortly. 

8. Any other business.

Call for candidates Jans Gremée award

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The UWE president and the JGA committee calls for candidates for the Jans Gremée Award 2016. Nominations should be entered before the 15th of August 2017 including a motivation maximum 400 words, a colour picture of the candidate and CV.

Criteria for nomination for the JGA

  • The award can only be awarded to a female citizen of Europe.
  • The contribution for the nomination for the award must enhance European Matters and should be innovative.
  • It is not obligatory that the award-winner is a member of UWE/GWI. This is to make UWE   outward-looking and innovative oriented.

Jans Gremmée founder of UWE in 1981
At the occasion of the 16th IFUW Conference in Karlsruhe, Germany, a small group of participants took the initiative for the European associations/federations to start studying the consequences of the European developments for their organizations.

Several meetings were held and in 1975, Jans Gremmée inquired at the IFUW now GWI headquarters if and how headquarters could help to further nomination of capable European women in positions of influence and decision-making in the new Europe.  GWI answered that it would undertake activities on a global level only. This meant that for any actions to the further interests of women in Europe, European associations/federations had to bundle their forces at a regional, European level.

In 1977 a few European participants at the 19th IFUW Conference Stirling, Scotland, took up the initiative to realize the Consultative Status for a new NGO to be founded for the University Women in Europe.  A proposal  thereto was launched by German DAB’s Gisela Kessel (†) and the Dutch VVAO’s Jans Gremmée in 1978. Several meetings were held and during a meeting in Luxembourg 28-29. November 1981 UWE started its official life. At that time, fourteen European NFAs (countries) participated. The Seat was to be in Switzerland. In 1982 the first Executive was chosen, with Jans Gremmée as its president.

Nowadays UWE is a network of Associations of University Women from sixteen European countries working in partnership with the Council of Europe and the European Women’s Lobby to address issues impacting the lives of academic women throughout the European community. Its aim is to work towards an achievement of the goals of the Council of Europe and also to cooperate with all other European governmental and non-governmental organizations dealing with European matters and in particular questions affecting  the lives of academic women.

The Jans Gremmeé award was proposed by the Dutch NFA to encourage and compliment women for their work for a peaceful Europe and a better position for women and girls. Candidates can be proposed by any NFA. Please let us know ultimately 15th of August 2017 at boarduwe@gmail.com.

Call to host AGM 2018 and a Meet and Greet 2018

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The UWE Board is pleased to invite applications from NFA’s interested in hosting the UWE Conference in 2018. The host NFA will be assisted by the Board in relation to the Conference programme.  Applications, including a short proposal in PowerPoint, for presentation at the UWE Conference in Graz  2017, should be made to Boarduwe@gmail.com to arrive 15th of August at the latest. There is ample material to use for organizing the Conference and the UWE Board will assist with the theme, PR and programming. The AGM is held around the end of August 2018.

Call to Host Possible Meet and Greet 2018
The concept of a Meet and Greet originates from a try out in Amsterdam follow up with a successful event in London.  It was judged to be very worthwhile, productive and informative, as well as being an opportunity for members from different NFA’s to meet, exchange views, form friendships and learn from each other.  As the cost for attending should be low it is an opportunity for members of your NFA to be introduced to the international work of UWE.
A Meet and Greet 2018, again taking place around Europe Day (9 May 2018), would further inform both existing and potential members in an informal setting, would give further focus to UWE and strengthen the ties already made.

Applications are therefore requested from NFA’s who would be interested in hosting a Meet and Greet weekend in May 2018. The host NFA would be assisted by the Board in regard to themes and presentations for the day. A Meet and Greet is a kind of friendship tour combined with introductions and updates on the international work of UWE in the EWL and the INGO conference of the Council of Europe.

Call for Candidates Vice Presidency UWE

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logo-nouThe UWE Board is pleased to invite applications from candidates interested in the position of Vice President of the UWE.

Starting 27 August of 2017 the board has two vacancies for Vice President. The ideal UWE-Vice President should have collected some experience in working within her national federation/association (NFA) or a similar organization. She is familiar with the European situation on Gender equality and is interested in the lobby for equal opportunities in all aspects of society for women and men.
She enjoys travelling and is keen to work in an European team. Preferably, she does not have an official function within her own NFA to avoid conflict of interest. click for PDF. Call for Candidates 2017

Applications by the NFA in a letter of recomendation should be accompagnied by a CV, photograph and a motivational letter stating the candidate will accept the Vice Presidency should the AGM elect the candidate.
The candidate is also required to present herself during 5 minutes at the UWE Conference in GRAZ AUSTRIA 24-26 August 2017. E

Applications should be made to boarduwe@gmail.com to arrive ten days before the AGM, i.e. by 15th of August 2017 at the latest.

The board meets twice a year, once at the AGM and one midterm. We convene via skype and work together via the internet. We are looking for VIce Presidents interested in seeking contacts with other international NFA’s to work on proposals and actions. We have no office and no secretariat except for the Secretary General responsible mostly for PR.

– Fluent in English (both written and orally) and preferably French
– digitally able: e.g. Skype; WordPress, Facebook, etc.
– Collective governance adept
– Knowledge of the EU and Council of Europe

The duties of the UWE vice-president will be divided in the board and can be:
-preparing and coordinating projects
-representing the UWE
-Supporting the president by visiting other NFA’s time to time for special celebrations etc.
-Contributing to the UWE strategic and work plan.
-Writing two monthly reports on the UWE Themes proposing actions to the NFA’s
-Posting news and articles on the website

Note: The UWE gives a small remuneration which covers the travel costs in part. In practice a Vice President of UWE spends approximately 1500 Euro per year additionally.


World Day of Women without Veil

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Solidarity with our sisters in Turkey who are detained!

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We are in solidarity with our colleagues who are detained!

Statement by Women’s Coalition -Turkey //Kadın Koalisyonu

Ten women & human rights defenders including members of the Turkish Women’s Coalition, İlknur Üstün, one of the founding members of the EWL Coordination for Turkey, and Nalan Erkem were detained yesterday (5 July 2017).

UPDATE: A decision to detain the 10 women and human rights activists for 7 days is taken

It is unacceptable that two of the prominent women’s rights defenders were detained at a time when attacks against women’s rights are getting prevalent at an alarming rate. We see this detention as an outright attack against women’s movement and all women in the country. Women’s rights struggle cannot be separated from human rights struggles.

Both colleagues have worked dedicatedly on eliminating violence against women, for women’s access to justice and women’s political participation. We understand that their detention is a “response” to their years of relentless work on women’s rights.

Their detention will neither deter them nor us from our struggle for women’s rights, because there is a long way to go in realisation of women’s rights in Turkey. It’s a long road, and we will continue with our strive for women’s rights.

We are in solidarity with our colleagues and and will follow the situation closely.