Never waste a good crisis

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It’s only because the calendar tells me that it is almost the weekend that I realize the working week is over. It seems my days are all the same. I am sitting in my office overlooking my roof top garden and watch it change slowly. I see the white daffodils and then it is the pink clematis turn to bloom while the palm tree shakes in the wind. The Oleander is starting to bloom and will be white. I don’t remember ever having such an eye for the details in the small garden but since the “intelligent” lockdown ,as our prime minister calls it, I have ample opportunity to care for and observe my roof top garden. Life is slowing down and sometimes I fear it will not be long before I will give in and start to have naps in the afternoon to break the day. It reminds me of my time in Afghanistan when I was cooped up for long periods of time. Every time there was imminent danger be it from earthquakes or attacks from the Taliban the work came to a full stop. Now the culprit is a virus and any human can be a deadly vessel for the virus. Mind blowing. The upside here is ,of course, that I am with my family and the internet streaming opera, concerts, musicals and courses. I did a philosophy course on Coursera with no costs involved and I try to do yoga each day. I still haven’t touched the rowing machine… but who knows.

Being an extrovert I need to talk to people to maintain my energy levels up. So I was happy to answer the emergency call of a team in distress at work. Wonderful – I can meet people even travel to meet them. Next step is to analyse where it went wrong and more importantly advise on what steps to take to start the teamwork flowing. Cooperating is extremely difficult in “normal’ times but under stress of the lockdown we have less distractions. Email and chat can easily lead to misunderstandings and conflicts as we all know. The report will be done next week so I will be eagerly awaiting the next team in crisis. For my sake of course, not for the team!

Meantime I am happy to have a virtual drink with my friends in Ireland and Scotland, chat with Israel and have Skype dates with Romania. I am looking forward to having more of those meetings. Even though the world, as we know it, has changed UWE has still made it possible to have friends all over the globe. It is a wonderful Idea of the UWE Board to ask us to write about our weeks at home and I am looking forward to reading all the stories.

Indeed, let us keep in touch and support one another now and in the near future. When the economic crisis really hits us, as we saw in 2008, it is women that suffer the most. They will suffer not only financially but in several countries the rights of women are being trampled on and it is being done almost overnight and all in the name of the crisis. So let’s stick together, cooperate and invest in turning the crisis into positive change for all. As the saying goes:I never waste a good crisis. Stay vigilant and let us use our contacts to influence the new rules and regulations that are bound to appear after a cure is found for the virus; and make sure women’s rights are respected!

Stay safe, stay healthy all of you!


Edith Lommerse

former president UWE


We are living through history!

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The little we knew about what laid ahead for the Year 2020 when we wished Happy New Year. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has been devastating, globally. With the casualties rising against an invisible enemy, war-chest opening, worrying press conferences, small businesses shuttering, and an over-extended health service, there has not been a positive news to come out of the pandemic, naturally!

There are many negatives of the current situation but looking at the positives, this shall pass soon. While practicing ‘social distancing’ we may feel stuck at home, but we are safe at home. We might feel bored or sad because we can’t see our family and friends, but the best things come from having the time and space to think and be creative. The future generation will study the time of Covid-19, learn how rainbows were a sign of hope and hear how everyone came together to cheer and clap for the amazing people who saved lives to keep the country going. A time where the world slowed down, polluted skies cleared, and animals reclaimed the spaces. A time when families spent time among themselves, met friends on screen, treasured their one-walk a day and got to know their neighbours. When schooling went online, parents became teachers and the world went a bit crazy to stockpile essentials! We are a part of history, so shall we create a time capsule?

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies! I am concerned and worried for the difficult and unprecedented times we all are facing. But, at the same time it has given me an opportunity to reflect and enjoy this unique time. A life-time opportunity, if I say so, we get once in 100 years! I am treasuring the 24/7 time with my girls and loving husband: be it home schooling, watching movies together, fun-dancing, living-room workouts with nations favourite online PE teacher, clapping for NHS every Thursday at 8 pm, trying new recipes, painting rainbows, creating tunes or making up a funny song, photographing random acts, skipping in the garden, working from home in shifts, video calling to extended family and to people we hardly had enough time to share everything before. It took a week to settle into the new routine. Interesting to hear the video chats of my 6 years old with her friend planning what games are they going to play when they meet! My younger one having no idea what is happening around and for few days after the lockdown started, she kept putting on her jacket and boots every morning pointing to the front door to go walk to school. Now, she is happy going only to the back door where we set up something new to play in the garden. I am fortunate and thankful to God for whatever I am blessed with. Many people in the world have their own struggles. To quote the British Chancellor’s concluding remarks at the press briefing when the nationwide lock down was announced by the PM (I wish him a speedy recovery): “Now, more than at any time in our history, we will be judged by our capacity for compassion. Our ability to come through this won’t just be down to what the government or businesses do but by the individual acts of kindness that we show each other.” Amidst all this, technology is playing the greatest role than ever before!

To all my friends across the globe: we have a key role to play while writing history, to make the best we possibly can, of each and every day.

Stay Safe, Stay Positive.

Together in solidarity,

Sudha Srivastava

Editor – British Federation Women Graduates


Reaching out – in solidarity

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The pandemic is a cruel time especially for the most vulnerable in our society whoever they are, particularly for bereaved families.

Today, across the globe more than half of humanity is confined, this is unheard of. Our democracies and human rights are affected, and especially the rights of vulnerable women.

We want to be united, attentive and concerned for each other and for our common future.

In particular, we need to have regard to the people who are suffering from daily violence, and especially women and children who are affected by domestic violence.

I would like to urge NFAs to lobby their governments to safeguard access to women suffering from domestic violence.

As well as ensuring support facilities for affected women and children, we also need to be aware of the need to continue to focus on prevention, including facilities for angry and violent men.

These need to be in place in every country, and therefore we would like all national associations to make a call to immediately ensure the existence of such facilities in each country.

Few interesting articles here:

Home is not a safe place for everyone (As “social distancing” is urged to contain the coronavirus outbreak , home is exactly where the danger lies for some)

The Impact of COVID-19 on ImmigrantSurvivors of Gender-Based Violence

Jess Phillips: Hotel need to house domestic violence victims during the coronavirus lockdown

We thank our Irish friends who had prepared a very interesting Meet & Greet for us, regrettably of course they had to cancel it. For the moment we are maintaining the AFFDU Centenary on September 17 and 18 and the AGM in Paris on September 19, we will open the registration if the situation allows.

We recognize that in these difficult times many of us are isolating at home, and have time on our hands. We also need to support each other, and stay in touch. Therefore we thought it would be a good idea to invite members to weekly contribute to our blog; as we are reaching out to all our members we thought a good name for this special newsletter would be ‘REACHING OUT – IN SOLIDARITY‘.

We welcome your thoughts, ideas and experiences. Feel free to send us at approximately 400 words including spaces, on what you are experiencing, by means of texts, poems, paintings, or various artistic expressions. Exchanges can also take place if you wish via comments section below the article posted.

Keep safe and connected,

Dr. Anne Bergheim – Negré

President University Women of Europe

Women’s Biography Award

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Awarded in November each year, the prize is created by the French Association of University Women and University Women of Europe.

The prize is awarded for a biography in French of an author on the life of women who have lived in France or abroad.

The biography must be made available to the AFFDU/UWE Jury on 30 August 2020.

The laureates may only compete once. The prize money is the publication of the Biography in French by Editions Ampelos. The laureate undertakes to rework her biography for publication if necessary.

Biographies selected by the jury may be published online on the websites dedicated to this purpose.

Abstracts of the biographies presented for the prize will be published online on the websites of the associations AFFDU and UWE, as well as on the Publisher’s website.

Biographies should be sent before August 30, 2020 to the following e-mail address:


In electronic format:

  • a compressed file with the first names, surnames, etc., will be sent to the Editor.
  • The text with a maximum of 160 000 characters including spaces, its annexes may be a bibliography of 2 000 characters including spaces and a maximum of 18 illustrations in pdf format.
  • A 5,000 character biography summary, including spaces, without footnotes, in word format. The abstract should include a definition of the subject of study, a brief presentation of the sources and the problem, and the main results of the research.
  • In French, if the text also exists in another language, it can be attached in the following languages
  • The author’s telephone, electronic and postal contact information
  • A resume.
  • Authorization for publication by edition and on the web
  • If the author is a University graduate, she will become a member of the AFFDU. If the author is not a University graduate, she will become a related member or will make a donation equivalent to the AFFDU membership fee. In this way, she will subscribe to the corporate objects of the AFFDU as well as to those of the UWE which inspire this competition.

And in paper format:

  • A simple mailing, no registered mail, we will not be able to receive them, including two paper copies of the Biography and its possible appendices
  • two hard copies of the abstract
  • two copies of your telephone, electronic and postal contact information and CV
  • these documents will not be returned
  • at the following address: AFFDU/UWE, REID HALL, 4 rue de Chevreuse 75006 Paris – France

Only complete files will be considered.

Abstracts of the biographies that have competed for the prize may be published in the journal Diplômées and on the UWE website.

The members of the jury

President: Anne Nègre, UWE

Vice President: Sonia Bressler, AFFDU

Eric Peyrard, Editions Ampelos

Nicole Fouché


Here at this link terms& conditions in french

Prix de biographies de femmes

UWE Meet & Greet 2020 – cancelled

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With great regret, due to current circumstances, Corona outbreak, after communicating with the Irish Federation of University Women (IrFUW) we’ve been advised that UWE Meet & Greet 2020 event due to be held in May will be cancelled for this year.

We would like to thank the Irish Federation of University Women for the amount of work and for the organisation there has been already planned, the safety of our members is VITAL.

Even though our meeting is in May, we strongly feel we need to be cautious about planning future events.

For the members who have already payed their registration, arrangements has been confirmed with the organizers, they will get their refund through bank transfer.

Our thoughts are with our members, soon it will be announced an online forum  to share our thoughts during this difficult time.

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response

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UNESCO/Shutterstock.commThe number of children, youth and adults not attending schools or universities because of COVID-19 is soaring.

In response, UNESCO convened a global video conference of high education officials to step up the emergency response and share strategies to minimize learning disruption worldwide.

Seventy-three countries were represented including 24 education ministers and 15 vice ministers from China, Croatia, Egypt, France, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

According to data released up to date by UNESCO, the crisis is now impacting close to 363 million learners worldwide, from the pre-primary to tertiary level, including 57.8 million students in higher education. One in five students worldwide is staying away from school due to the COVID-19 crisis and an additional one in four is being kept out of higher education establishments.

Governments in 113 countries have closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the global pandemic. Since March 16, fifteen countries have ordered nationwide school closures and 14 have implemented localized closures, spanning Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

We are entering uncharted territory and working with countries to find hi-tech, low-tech and no-tech solutions to assure the continuity of learning,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “As countries try to prepare their response, international cooperation is vital to share the most effective approaches and support students, teachers and families. UNESCO is stepping up its support to ensure this crisis promotes innovation and inclusion and does not exacerbate learning inequalities.”

To steer the global response, UNESCO announced the creation of a UNESCO-COVID19 Emergency Task Force that will support national responses and share effective policy responses with a focus on the most vulnerable countries. A wider community of practice will be established to enhance knowledge sharing, peer learning and capacity building on distance and open learning. UNESCO aims to mobilize all actors involved, including the private sector. Partners such as Microsoft have already lent technical support to the Task Force.

Government representatives shared approaches and best practices during their exchange to ensure continuity of learning during school closures, the duration of which is unpredictable at this stage.

UNESCO published a list of educational applications and platforms to help parents, teachers, schools and school systems facilitate student learning and provide social caring and interaction during periods of school closure. While these solutions do not carry UNESCO’s explicit endorsement, they tend to have wide reach, a strong user-base and evidence of impact. Most of the solutions are free and several support multiple languages.

Also a list of national learning portals and tools to help assure the continuity of education during COVID-19 school closures.

International Women’s Day 2020: 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration

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In 1995, the UN’s 4th World Conference on women adopted Beijing Declaration, a resolution regarding the empowerment and advancement of women around the world. It set out strategic objectives to achieve gender equality in 12 areas, including the economy, violence against womenwomen in power and women and the environment. 


In light of increasing global concerns of the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a conference to mark the anniversary of the Beijing Declaration planned by European Parliament’s women’s rights committee for 5 March was cancelled, the 64th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64) was significantly sized down to a one-day procedural meeting with Member States’ New York-based representatives. Although the political statement and multi-annual work programme has been approved at this meeting, women’s civil society organisations from around the world missed this unique moment to bring the collective voices of women and girls, in all their diversity, to the international political table.

Sadly so far, the UN and UN Member States have not been forthcoming to reassure us or propose other ways in which Women’s Civil Society voices will still be brought to the . This lack of commitment is part of the broader concern of the increasingly shrinking space of women’s civil society. The UN system and the Member States must take proactive steps to support feminist women’s organisations, to ensure they are included and financially supported within upcoming UN processes for 2020, including the Generation Equality Forums in Mexico and Paris, and the UN General Assembly in New York.

In times like this, we must remain vigilant and stand strong in the face of uncertainty, adversity, and instability. We continue to recognize the incredible work of women’s activists and feminists everywhere, and their ongoing efforts to ensure a feminist world where women and girls live free, equal and dignified lives. While we are physically divided, we are united in our vision for a feminist world.” Gwendoline Lefebvre, President, European Women’s Lobby

Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, EWL has published its report 25 years of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995-2020): THE TIME TO DELIVER IS NOW!” The report looks back at progress made in the EU in the last five years in relation to some of the BPfA’s critical areas of concern, highlights key actions of EWL and its members, and identifies remaining obstacles, to which we present our demands.

Meet & Greet Programme

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UWE Meet & Greet Dublin 15th – 17th May 2020

Illuminations and Inspirations’

Illuminated and Inspired – we are women

Hosted by the Irish Federation of University Women (IrFUW)

Cónascadh Banchéimithe na hÉireann

Friday 15th May 2020

1.30: Registration. Tea & Coffee, University Club, University College Dublin (UCD).

2.20: Welcome and Outline of the Day: Frances Patton, IrFUW President,

Past President UCD Women Graduates Association (UCD WGA)

2:35: Welcome to Belfield: Dr Linda Deeks (UCD).

2.50: Dr Anne Nègre, President University Women of Europe (UWE).

3:00: Dr Margaret Ward, Hon. Senior Lecturer QUB, Feminist Historian and Author:

Maud Gonne – An Irish Feminist.

3.45: Comfort Break

4.00: Dr. Mary E. Daly, President The Clinton Institute, Professor Emerita UCD, former President Royal Irish Academy: An Historical Perspective.

4.45: Open discussion, chaired by Dr. Meadhbh Hand, President Trinity Women Graduates (TWG).

5.30: Closing Remarks.

7:30: Drinks Reception (Location: to be confirmed)

8.00: Welcome Meal in University Club, Belfield


Saturday 16th May 2020

09:15: Registration

10.00: Welcome and Outline of the Day: Dr. Máire O’Connell, IrFUW Vice-President, Former CER, Galway Association of Women Graduates (GAWG)

10:10: Dublin City Councillor Hazel Chu, Chairperson of the Green Party / An Comhaontas Glas.

11.00: Tea & Coffee

11.30: Dr Síghle Bhreathnach-Lynch, Art Historian and Author, former Curator of Irish Art at the National Gallery of Ireland: Inspired by Art. (TBC)

12.15: Panel Discussion: Chaired by Martina Fitzgerald, Author ‘Madam Politician’

Introduced by Oonagh Ferrity, Queen’s Women Graduates’ Association (QWGA), Member UWE Constitution Committee.

Panel: Alice Leahy, Martina Devlin + 2 others to be confirmed.

1.15: Sharon Bowers, TWG, GWI Representative at CWS64, CSW64/Bejing+25.

1:30: Closing Remarks.

* Own arrangements for lunch. Club Café open until 3 p.m.

Afternoon: See List of ‘Places of Interest’ provided for your choice of individual visit.

Or Guided Walking Tour: UCD Belfield Campus / Trinity College Campus

7.30: Drinks Reception in University Club, Belfield.

8.00: Dinner at University Club, Belfield.

Sunday 17th May 2020


Optional Tour of Newbridge Silverware, Newbridge, Co. Kildare

(Optional, but highly recommended)

For more information visit:


10.00: Pick up by coach at UCD University Club, Belfield (TBC)/Talbot Hotel

11.15: Newbridge Silverware Factory Tour

12.15: Lunch may be purchased on site at Café Carleton.

1.45: Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons Tour

3.00: Return to Dublin

4.15: Drop off at UCD University Club, Belfield /Talbot Hotel (TBC)


Cost of the Newbridge Silverware Tour is €35 per person and includes:

  • Transportation
  • Factory Tour
  • Museum of Style Icons Tour

Numbers are limited. Places allocated on first come first served basis.

* Must be booked in advance.

Some items in the Museum of Style Icons, Newbridge Silverware.

Lady Diana’s India Dress, Engagement Blouse and ‘Revenge Dress’

Marlyn Munro’s dusty rose coloured chiffon jacket from ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ (1957)

The Beetles’ wool and mohair suits worn on their promotional tour of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (1964


See List of ‘Places of Interest in Dublin’ for Saturday afternoon and/or Sunday visits if not travelling to Newbridge Silverware.


Supporting Information

Price Early Bird – €120 before 5pm, Friday 17th April 2020

Standard Rate (after 17th April) – €135.

Price includes Dinner and Drinks Reception both evenings, teas/coffees.

Optional Tour of Newbridge Silverware

€35 per person, includesTransport, Factory Tour and Museum of Style Icons Tour. Lunch purchased separately on site in Café Carleton.

Payment Details

Irish Federation of University Women

Current Account: 64 27 33 90

Branch: Bank of Ireland University Branch Montrose





Booking Form

Please submit your registration online HERE

Recommended Accommodation

We suggest staying at the Talbot Hotel, Sillorgan. See the reduced rate below.

149 Single occupancy per night / €159 Double occupancy per night.

This rate is available when booked before 31st March 2020 with Reference.

Reference when booking: Meet and Greet 2020

To book Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, Dublin 4.

Phone: 353 (0) 1 2001800


Additional Suggested Accommodation

Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road –

Hampton Hotel, Morehampton Road –

Radisson St.Helen’s Hotel, Stillorgan –

B&B’s in Donnybrook or Stillorgan

*Aircoach 700 from Dublin Airport, Direction Leopardstown/Sandyford

*Aircoach 700 stops outside Talbot Hotel and UCD Stillorgan Rd. Entrance.

Tickets €10 single / €16 Return. Tickets may be purchased online and on the bus.

Save the date: UWE Conference &AGM Paris

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We are pleased to invite you to the next UWE Conference and AGM , Paris, on 17th – 20th September 2020 to celebrate together the centenary of the French Association of University Women (AFFDU) and 40 years since University Women of Europe (UWE) was founded as regional group of International Federation of University Women (IFUW).

Known as the “City of light”, Paris is often referred to as an “open-air museum” thanks to its architectural and cultural outstanding heritage, its streets overflow of culture, art, beauty and history. Located in the heart of Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris, Reid Hall, a cultural and educational hub, former a residential center for university women after the 1st World War (also housed the French Association of University Women), which hosted international conferences for more than a century, it became Columbia Global Centers – Paris and it is confirmed as the main venue for this event.  

We are looking forward to meeting you with interesting topics: 100 years of women’s rights, gender equality, artificial intelligence and the place of women in the 20th century.  The speakers and a detailed programme will be announced very soon, including information about the registration.

The Conference is open to all members of the University Women of Europe and their friends.


Save the Date: UWE Meet &Greet 2020

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We are pleased to invite you to the next UWE Meet and Greet event in Dublin, Ireland on 15th – 17th May 2020.

UCD University Club, Belfield, and the University Club are already confirmed as venues for this event. With literature in its blood Dublin is one of 6 UNESCO cities of literature with four Nobel prizes. The city has four Universities, DCU,TCD, UCD and TUDublin (the Technological University Dublin).

We are looking forward to meeting you. A theme, speakers and a detailed programme will be announced very soon, including information about the registration.

We hope that a number of you will be able to join us in Ireland this May. The Conference is open to all members of the University Women of Europe and their friends.