Impressions from Centenary Celebration, Conference and GA – Geneva

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Goup photo at the end of 33rd Triennial General Assembly & Conference, Geneva 2019
Goup photo at the end of 33rd Triennial General Assembly & Conference, Geneva 2019

More than 400 GWI delegates, independent members and friends from more than 50 countries celebrating together a century of international friendship between graduate women who believe in Peace through Education at the 33rd Triennial General Assembly (GA), Centenary Celebration and conference – Geneva, 25-28 July 2019, the University of Geneva (UNIGE).


UWE Board was honored to take part at this historic event hosted by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) which was possible thanks to the organizers: the Graduate Women International (GWI) Board , Swiss Association of University Women (SVA) and all their interns and volunteers.

Formal Opening by GWI President Geeta Desai Genneral Assembly Geneva

On a first day at GWI 33rd General Assembly, after welcome speeches by GWI President, Geeta Desai and Doris Boscardin, President of the Swiss NFA, Lisa Mazzone, member of the Swiss National Council, evoked women pioneers, role models that paved the way for women, a century ago there were only 10 percent of women in universities, thankfully this has changed. She mentioned the historical mobilization in Switzerland on 14 June 2019 when half a million people gathered to bring awareness about equal pay.

Next speaker about “Education: A Tool Against Misogyny” Brigitte Mantilleri, Director Gender Equality – UNIGE illustrated us the gender inequality and misogyny in the portrayal of women through history.

By lunch we were invited by GWI Vice President Eileen Focke-Bakker to take part to a short Regional Leaders Group Meeting and share our top five issues of each region.

UWE President Anne Negre and conference friends Centenary Celebration Geneva

During the evening we embraced this lifetime opportunity to be invited at the WTO for a Keynote Discussion on Women’s Empowerment followed by a reception, the discussion highlighted the work of the WTO on trade and gender and the role of trade in fostering education, peace and women’s empowerment. Speakers were Roberto Azevèdo, Director General, WTO via video message, Ambassador Sunanta Kangvalkulkij, General Council Chair, WTO; Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director, International Trade Centre; Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director, Enhanced Integrated Framework; Gabrielle Marceau, Counsellor, Legal Affairs Division, WTO; Anoush der Boghossian, Trade and Gender Focal Point, WTO; Geeta Desai, GWI President.

Zamaswazi (Swati) Dlamini Mandela

The Peace through Education conference started on 27 July with an emotional speech of keynote speaker Zamaswazi (Swati) Dlamini Mandela, granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, Human Rights Activist, Founding Partner and Shareholder of Qunu Workforce, South Africa’s leading consultancy creating equality in the workforce for those living with disabilities, who shared her remarkable heritage and the influence of her grandfather and grandmother on her life, highlighting how the fight for education, empowerment and freedom for all is deeply rooted in their ideals and life’s work.

Vice President Aisha Alshawaf and Secretary General Roxana Elena Petrescu at World Trade Organization Geneva

Very interesting to hear the experts from the first panel discussion – The Evolving Roles of Education and Gender Equality in the Prevention and De-Escalation of Conflict and in Building Sustainable Societies. Dr. Barbara Mercer- Moser, Founder of In – Zone, who has pioneered innovative approaches to multilingual communication and higher education in communities affected by conflict and crisis. Dr. Christelle Rigual, Researcher and Coordinator at the Gender Centre at the Graduate Institute. She has researched the relationship between gender inequality and armed conflict and how gender equality can de-escalate conflict. Adiba Qasim, from Sinjar District in Iraq, student at UNIGE and young leader in foreign and security policy at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, with a unique perspective as a woman in a conflict zone and an understanding of the role of women in security, she experienced the invasion of her district.

According to GWI, more than 68 workshops, papers and seminars during the conference,  shared their experiences and expertise in research, policy development and inspired us to develop strategies to prioritise education, women and peace.

Swiss Cultural Night on steamboat “Simplon”

During the Swiss Culture Night we sailed on smooth peaceful waters and enjoyed the wonderful tour of the Lake Geneva, Swiss Cuisine and traditional music on boat steam Simplon with efficient and strong engine put into service in 1919, same age as GWI.

On Sunday lunchtime we had our successful short Annual General Meeting in the presence of our delegates from all over Europe and Israel, with interesting topics on the agenda, emphasizing the work on the collective complaints and  on the Erasmus Project “NET POWER” aiming to create a network for promotion of women empowerment recognition in partnership with Italian in Italy, Les Femmes Chefs D’Entreprise Mondiales, University Women Romania Association, Finnish Federation of Graduate Women and University Women of Europe.

UWE Board, GWI President Terry Oudraad and Marion Gibson JG laureate 2019 – UWE Annual General Meeting Geneva

Marion Gibson, leader,motivator and peacemaker, nominalized by the Irish Federation of University Women received the Jans Gremmée Award from Terry Oudraad, new GWI President and Annelies P. Bults was reelected Treasurer with unanimous support.

Thank you all for coming, congratulations to them and to the newly elected GWI Board of Directors, Committee Convenors and Committee Members for the next term: 2019 – 2022, see you next year at the UWE Conference & Annual General Meeting  – Paris, 18-20 September, when we will celebrate 100 years of AFFDU and 40 years of UWE!

More pictures on our facebook album HERE

GWI brings together global and local experts for thePeace through Education conference

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Members of the UWE Board will proudly join the Graduate Women International (GWI)’s 33rd Triennial General Assembly and Centenary Conference, 25-28 July 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland , which will bring together world leaders in the fields of peace, education and human rights who will speak in support of the conference theme: “Peace through Education” – the founder’s vision for world peace and friendship through education.


GWI President, Geeta Desai, will open the General Assembly followed by remarks from Doris Boscardin, Present of the Swiss Association of University Women and Chair of the Local Arrangement Committee; and Lisa Mazzone, member of the Swiss National Council. Madame Saniye Gulser Corat, Director, Division for Gender Equality, UNESCO will deliver the first day keynote address on “Linkages between Education and Peace” with Brigitte Mantilleri, Director Gender Equality, University of Geneva, speaking on “Education: A Tool Against Misogyny”. On Saturday, 27 July, Zamaswazi Dlamini Mandela, granddaughter of Nelson Mandela will present her views on Peace through Education.

Professional and independent experts will present during this 4-day event on the main theme as well as five subthemes that respond to how education advances the status of women and girls towards preventing conflict; how curricula evolve to support human rights and deconstruct patriarchal paradigms; what it means to live in a connected world; how young professionals can be empowered to understand connections between education, gender equality, and cultural and environmental issues. The aim is that delegates will increase their knowledge about what graduate women do to influence global society, working at the intersection of education, peace, advocacy and action on local, national and global policies.

Conference delegates should leave the conference informed, enthused and committed to look beyond short-term goals and become involved in policy and legislative agenda concerning education and peace; and eager to promote actions that support the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDGs 4 and 5 which relate specifically to Quality Education and Gender Equality. These integrate and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development economically, socially and environmentally”- Geeta Desai.

With the coming event in Geneva, the UWE Board will host its Annual General Meeting on Sunday 28 July: 12:30- 14:30 (lunch time and Regional Caucuses in the official programme).

Please see here the Agenda, we received one valid candidacy for Treasurer from PhD. Annelies Pierrot Builts to be re-elected and Marion Gibson PhD. MSSc Dip SW Advanced Dip Psychological Trauma Management , nominated by the Irish Federation of University Women will receive the JG Award 2019.

Due to time constrain NFA reports will only be included in the Minutes this time, please try to send them to by email until 28 July 2019, our AGM time.

Looking forward to seeing as many of you in Geneva next week!


Call for facilitators and participants for young women’s engagement workshop

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Call for facilitators for young women’s engagement workshop – deadline 15 July

European Women’s Lobby has just published a call for facilitators to develop and deliver the workshop on young women’s engagement this November. You can find all the information on their web page, including the full call for facilitators and application process.

=> Action: Please read the call for facilitators and share with your own members and networks – deadline for applications is 15 July.

Call for participants for young women’s engagement workshop – deadline 8 July

The full call for participants includes a description of the workshop and the questions asked in the application form. Here is the key information:

  • Who can apply? Young women aged 18 to 30 linked to your organisation or to your members can apply so please share with your members and networks. There are also spots for members who do not have to be under 30 years old – for example Board members, working group members, observatory experts, members of members, etc – so if you or someone you know is keen to take part, you also need to apply using the same application form.
  • Deadline? The deadline for ALL applications is 8 July by midnight.
  • Dates of workshop? The workshop takes place from 8 to 11 November included, in Brussels.

=> Action: please share the call for participants with your members and networks, and if you want to apply directly, make sure to do this by midnight on 8 July using the online application form.


Memorandum of understanding UWE and IAUW

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The Boards of University Women of University Women of Europe (UWE) and the Israel Association of University Women (IAUW) hereby announce that a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Presidents of the two organisations, Anne Negre (UWE) and Yemina Peretz – Gabay (IAUW).


The purpose of this agreement is to establish a framework within which IAUW can enhance friendly relations and cooperation within UWE framework including it’s members of European Associations.  IAUW is a member of GWI and promotes lifelong education for women and girls, international cooperation, friendship, peace and respect for human rights for all, irrespective of their age, race, nationality, religion, political opinion, gender and sexual orientation or other status, advocates for the advancement of the status of women and girls and encourages and enables women and girls to apply their knowledge and skills in leadership and decision-making in all forms of public and private life.

UWE will welcome a representative of IAUW to attend and to participate in CER meetings held during its Annual General Meeting. This will promote the mission of organisation in relation to education and professional opportunity for women.

The Boards of UWE will  welcome NFA and IAUW initiatives, projects and visits that will cement this cooperation and develop it further to achieve its full potential. 

Special thanks to our Vice President Aisha Alshawaf and all the members of the Constitutional Committee for their remarkable work on issuing this document.


Call for candidates – Treasurer for UWE Board

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The UWE Board is pleased to invite applications from candidates for the UWE Board. As our Treasurer elected in June 2016 has three years mandate, the UWE Board will have a vacancy for the post of Treasurer.


  1. Applications for the positions of Treasurer, should consist of a CV, photograph and a letter indicating the candidate’s willingness to accept the post should she be elected. The NFA which nominates the candidate should send an accompanying letter pointing out how the candidate fulfills the requirements and criteria of a the post.

  1. Candidates will also be required to make a five-minute presentation at the Annual General Meeting- Geneva 28 of July 2019 in which they introduce themselves, outline their experience and qualifications for the position and indicate how they would propose to contribute to promoting the overall aims of UWE if elected.

  1. Applications should be made to by 16 th of July 2019 at the latest.

  2. Each board member will be asked to fulfill the requirements as described in the Profile of the UWE board member and the duties of a board member. In addition the Treasurer has specific profiles and duties.

PROFILE UWE Board member

Ideally a candidate for the UWE Board should have experience of working within her own National Federation/Association (NFA) or in a similar organization. She should be committed to furthering the aims and objectives of UWE, familiar with the European situation regarding gender equality and interested in lobbying for equal opportunities for both women and men in all aspects of society. She should enjoy travelling1 and be keen to work as a member of a European team. In order to avoid conflict of interests it would be preferable if she did not have an official function within her own NFA.


  • Excellent Fluency in English (both written and oral) and preferably also in French;

  • Competence in I.T.: e.g. Skype; WordPress, Facebook, Excel etc.

  • Competence in collective governance and administration of organizations

  • Knowledge of the EU, Council of Europe and European Women’s Lobby


  • high level of competence in teamwork and networking;

  • knowledge of the workings of EU subsidies and project funding possibilities

  • experience in budgeting and bookkeeping

The specific duties:

  • Collecting the dues

  • Budgeting

  • Payment of the budgeted invoices/reimbursements

  • Managing Travel Fund

  • Collecting the membership-dues

  • Encouraging donations

  • Applying for subsidies, tax opportunities etc.

  • Two monthly report on finance to the President

  • Compiling a Financial Report for the General Assembly

  • Contributing to the UWE strategic and work plan


UWE gives a small remuneration which partly covers travel costs. In practice a member of UWE spends approximately 1500 Euro per year additionally.

Reflection on EWL GA Brussels 7-9 June

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Board members EWL and Aisha Alshawaf, Observer

Two of our board members attended the General Assembly for the European Women’s Lobby in Brussels 7-8 June:  Annelies Pierrot – Bults, executive member of the assembly, Treasurer  and Aisha Alshawaf as an Observer.

The theme was making Europe work for women, EWL envisions a society in which women’s contribution to all aspects of life is recognized, rewarded and celebrated .
We had an interesting, stimulating and productive agenda dealing with strategic review emphasizing gender equality in EU manifesto and Gender equality in trade policy .
Our time during those days contributed to Alliances with other organisations to influence change we defiantly have shared strategy with like minded organisation cross the board from European countries. A time well spent and will bring positive energy to UWE, hopefully you will join us in Geneva and get more details from Annelies on her work with EWL economic working group.

Call for candidates Jans Gremée Award

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The UWE Board and the JGA Committee call for candidates for the Jans Gremée Award 2018. Nominations should be entered before the 16 th of July 2019 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 16 th of July 2019 at