Roxana Elena Petrescu
On day one, we were welcomed on a sunny weather at the University of Dundee by Dr Ajit Trivedi Director Department of Equality and Diversity, showing us no wonder why we are here, gender stuff profile being mostly women.
Then Dr Fiona Sutherland introduced UWE Board participants : VP Aisha Alshawaf with a message from President Anne Negre not being present, VP Pina Foti, Secretary General Roxana Elena Petrescu with a short presentation of UWE and our work, Treasurer Annelies Pierrot Builts joined us immediately after the tea break.
After Catherine Bell former President of GWI sharing her identity and her story and Dr Eileen Focke-Bakker reminding us about the most expected event of the year “GWI Triennal Conference – Geneva”, we were getting excited to see inspirational women telling their stories about how their career/life has not taken the route they initially planned.
Erica Hensens, Director of Quality & Academic Standards at the University of Dundee telling her story from leadership of a male dominated Students Union to directorship of one of the top MBA programmes in the world.
Dr Sarah Haq, Saudi Arabia origin moved to Pakistan, studying Dental Public Health, currently a Masters Student at the University of Dundee , involved in many philanthropic and fundraising activities: offering free dental treatments and helping families to have access to clean water facilities and dental health in Pakistan, calling education “a long journey to become herself”.
Angie Foreman with an impressive empowerment work with women, she has created award winning social enterprises, community empowerment models and Corporate Social Responsibility programmes for the Coca Cola 5 by 20 projects, to the benefit of hundreds of women, her vision is “pulling together “all women that want to start a business regardless of their social/cultural background or economic situation.
Dee Gates with an incredible story, changing from man to woman, today legally classified woman, somehow reminding us of the book by David Ebershoff – “The Danish Girl”.
Why My Identity, My Story? Rachel Marsh – GWS explained there will be an ebook that will commemorate the delegates who attend the 2019 UWE Meet & Greet by highlighting their lives and achievements, everyone has a unique story that has helped to shape our identity, there is still time to email it to firstname.lastname@example.org by 10 June 2019.
Later on, all the delegates where officially welcomed by Dundee City Council in the City Chambers of Dundee and first evening ended with a welcome meal in Dundee Rep. Restaurant.
On our second day, we had thoughts from three different women:
Pushing the boundaries of forensic science and daring to think with Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, Director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, University of Dundee, the only woman to receive the Pete Ganci Award for Fire Investigation and the Distinguished Forensic Scientist award from the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes.
What women don’t say publicly about careers in academic science, but should with Dr Ishbel Duncan, Director of Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance, University of St. Andrews, currently on the Gender Pay Equality committee and a veteran of Athena Swan bids, introduced MSc programmes and supervised many MSc and PhD dissertations students, she is vocal against stress caused by work overload, dealing with student stress and anxiety, her Labrador is a recognized therapist for use in the University.
Women in Games, Applied Games by Professor Ruth Falconer, Leader of Games Technology and Mathematics Division, School of Design and Informatics, University of Dundee, interested in the broader use of games technology including games engines, graphics hardware and related infrastructure to develop intuitive and playable models of complex systems, current areas of application Water – Energy – Food – nexus, Microbial Ecology, Health, Social Care. Recently appointed as an executive board member for Women in Games to ensure there is equal opportunity and treatment for those entering the games industry, she’s working to increase gender diversity on the games programming and technology courses at Abertay University.
Then the most expected moment of the day – storytelling “Pechakuchas”, 20 slides presentations for 20 seconds of commentary each (6 minutes total) and they did it admirably to the audience’s delight: Ora Sharon, Aisha Alshawaf, Fiona Sutherland, Rachel Marsh and Susie Schofield.
We went to hear another story about Dundee’s jute at Verdant Works – Scotland’s Jute Museum for lunch and an interesting tour, learning more about women on trades, it was Dundee’s womenfolk on whom the city”s prosperity was built.
Our evening Ceilidh successfully competed Eurovision song contest with sing-along-a-graduate women, everybody singing or dancing or simply having fun.
And finally, after two superbe days spent together in Dundee, some of us went on tour to visit Glamis Castle -the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother-to recharge batteries and find inspiration for our life stories.
A delegation of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe met with representatives of Romanian NGOs and public authorities in a fact-finding visit in Romania, on 12 and 13 September 2016.
University Women of Romania represented by President Alexandrina Niculescu and UWE Secretary General Roxana Elena Petrescu were invited to take part at the debates.
The purpose of the meeting was to know more about Romania’s recent experience with civil society participation in the public decision making process, clarify with the authorities the political priorities in this area and existing tools for civil society participation and to establish direct collaboration between the Romanian stakeholders and the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe.
The meetings in Bucharest were organised in partnership with the Civil Society Development Foundation and were funded by the Council of Europe, cofinanced through the NGO Fund within the EEA Grants 2009-2014. 60 NGO representatives working in various fields (human rights, education or good governance, social services, volunteering) took part in the consultations. The debates covered various difficulties that the NGOs meet in conducting their advocacy activities, means to identify the necessary resources to improve their current situation and the relationships NGOs develop with various public institutions.
The NGO consultations were followed by meetings with representatives of the Romanian Presidency, the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and the Elderly, the Ministry for Public Consultation and Civic Dialogue as well as of the Romanian Parliament.
At the end of the visit, Ms. Anna Rurka, President of the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe, stated that “the political and organizational efforts deployed by the current government to consult the NGOs are visible. We congratulate the authorities for the several innovative solutions which have been presented to us. We are impressed by the dynamism of the NGO sector, its determination to be heard and to promote its expertise. The NGO sector, which is investing a lot of resources to answer the authorities’ requests, needs to see the effects and impact of its proposals. We encourage the authorities to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the law-making process and to avoid the excessive use of the ‘emergency ordinance’, which diminishes both public and political consultation. The lost opportunities for constructive collaboration between public authorities and NGOs is too high a price to pay for both sides – and detrimental to democracy in Romania. We are aiming for more transparency and openness in the public decision making process in the Member States of the Council of Europe”.
A report about this fact-finding visit will follow soon.
The next day after Brexit, we met in England’s ancient capital for an inspiring conference about encouraging women into leadership roles.
“What an enjoyable conference!” someone commented on facebook. To be sure, everybody had a great time! Even now resounds in my mind the rendition of the song over 70 people sung in chorus at the end of the Gala Dinner:
“Winchester Cathedral We’ve come from Europe
Your church of renown To meet all our friends.
You stood and you wa-tched We’re earnestly talking
As we came to town… Until the day ends.”
Thank you all for being a part of it, this couldn’t have been possible without you. Special thanks and congratulations to our host: Sue Ouvry and the organizing team from The Winchester LA, for contributing to the success of the conference and their generous support.
Because “a picture is worth a thousand words”, I invite you to watch this short movie I made, some moments to remember, a pictures gallery also, enjoy!
As usual, the last day we had Annual General Meeting, we were delighted with the presence of Germany and the Netherlands, although they resigned from GWI. A new Treasurer was elected. The key point of our meeting was the discussion about how to adapt the constitution and spontaneously an interactive dialogue was initiated on how can UWE stays a regional group of GWI and still keeps its seat in the INGO conference representing European women graduated?. We kept calm… and voted an emergency clause, please see here the Minutes AGM 2016 . Click on the links to see the reports, invitation to next UWE Conference in Graz, Austria and other documents presented.
In the end, feel free to fill this evaluation form and express your feelings, we really need your feedback to help us improve organizing the next conference. Thank you!
For the board,
Roxana Elena Petrescu