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AWA Rome - 7 Day Report back on Marrakech

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ENTRY 1:

I will pass along my conference report in short, bite-sized pieces over the next week starting today with links to the keynote speakers:

Thursday, March 17:
Stephanie Willman Bordat, Global Rights' Maghreb Regional Director.
"Women's Rights in the Middle East -- A Law for Protecting Women Against Violence"

http://www.fawco.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1644:marrakech-2011-keynote-address-stephanie-willman-bordat&catid=275&Itemid=200419

She spoke about the Global Rights grassroots initiative to develop and bring to life a law specifically protecting women against violence in Morocco.

 

Friday, March 18:

Guest Speaker: Dr. Houria Tazi-Sadeq, Co-chair of two University programs as holder of Interdisciplinary UNESCO Chair for “Sustainable Management of Water”

also,

Yolanda Henry, FAUSA, Target Project Coordinator

Wells for Clean Water in Cambodia,  (click here for slide show)
She described in detail the Tabitha organization that is working in Cambodia and their well-building project that FAWCO is supporting over the next two years. I hope to show the presentation to AWAR at an event before the summer.

 

Sunday, March 20

I spoke on behalf of WUNRN, the Women's UN Report Network (www.wunrn.com) stepping in for AWAR member, Lois Herman, coordinator of WUNRN. The presentation was on:

“Marketing, media & advertising and the impact on women’s and girls’ physical and mental health” (click here for slide show)


All for today. Stay tuned for tomorrow.

Your faithful FAWCO Representative

Elizabeth Abbot

 

ENTRY 2

In addition to the keynote speakers there was a diverse offering of workshops.

On Thursday I attended "Teamwork:Personal Lessons about Partnering in Life, Politics and Diplomacy" led by US Ambassador to Morocco, Samuel Kaplan and wife Silvia Kaplan.
Organized as a fireside chat, they recounted their life as not only a couple, but also a team. Ambassador Kaplan shared their motto, "Whoever is prepared to take on the task, decides."  This made me reflect on our tendency to micro-manage and interfer with the execution of tasks for which someone else has taken responsibility. He said that this has been one of their fundamental secrets for success as a "power team". Another secret has been "Shared value systems and energy levels" -- a must for any kind of team.  Silvia noted that "Whoever controls the narrative is ultimately the boss." Silvia loves to hold parties (and has raised large amounts of political money doing so).  She likes to think of parties as, "creating a safe space where things can happen," and talked about the importance of creating rituals.  They were warm, engaging and told many interesting stories. A question and answer session followed.

On Friday I attended Inspiring Your Success Abroad with Andrea Martins, founder and director of the Expat Women website (www.expatwomen.com). We had met virtually when I submitted an article for the website, and it was fun to meet in person.  She told many success stories of women who have re-invented themselves abroad -- including her own. The inspirational part was hearing how many entrepreneurial projects she had undertaken before hitting the one that worked. Try and try again was the lesson.

At the same time there was another workshop on WEEP No More (www.africaheart.com) led by the FAWCO Representative from the club in Nairobi.

On Saturday I held a workshop, which meant unfortunately that I could not attend the other one on "Heel the Soul: Kicking the Habit of Gender Violence" offered by the co-chair of the FAWCO Team for Ending Violence Against Women and Children. In addition to this workshop, the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center (AODVC) held an information session (www.866-USWOMEN.org). I picked up a poster with the Italian crisis number -- but left it in the overhead on the plane! In any case, ask me for information.  Information Session on AODVC
(Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center)

My workshop on " Follow The Leader Within was very well attended with a number of incoming club presidents eager to tone up their leadership skills. Following the presentation (text here, that was accompanied by a fun slide show), we had a very good exercise on applying the four mosaic pieces of leadership to our clubs.

That's it for today. Tomorrow I will tell you about the parallel meetings (I attended the ones for FAWCO Representatives and got lots of new ideas from colleagues around the world).

Elizabeth Abbot
FAWCO Representative

 

ENTRY 3

Each day there was a "parallel session".
Club Presidents had sessions on, "Building a Successful Board" and "Financing your Club"
Club members had sessions on; "No Excuses, Why Running is a Metaphor for Life" and a lesson on Moroccan history.

FAWCO Representatives had "tool kit" sessions. One exercise we did was to each describe our club's relationship with FAWCO in one word. I said, "dedicated".  We have the FAWCO annual dues, conference fees for the Rep and a donation to the scholarship fund all in our budget. We have had two outstanding FAWCO Presidents (Mary Mag and Elaine Senigallia), we attend the conference every year. Yet we don't really participate and this made me ask, Why"?
The next session we formed teams of two to discuss one of the concerns that had been raised in day 1. I had the card with "relevance" and we discussed how to make FAWCO's activities more relevant to clubs.

That’s all for today and I have finished with the antipasto. Tomorrow I will start with the first course -- the four FAWCO pillars: Club support, US Issues, Global Issues and Philanthropy and what was reported at the daily General Meetings for each of these areas.  Lots -- a big plate of Carbonara!

Elizabeth
FAWCO Representative

 

ENTRY 4

Two of FAWCO's four pillars are US Issues and Global Issues and there were reports on FAWCO activities in these area and workshops.

US Liaison, Lucy Laederich,
will be in Washington next week for the "Americans Overseas Week" championing our rights and there is much to champion these days, as we learned in her workshop.  In addition to ongoing issues regarding citizenship and voting, there are new requirements on the horizon concerning our tax returns.  I would encourage EVERYONE (who is American) to stop by the FAWCO website section, http://www.fawco.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=17&Itemid=200057, register and sign up for her e-bulletins.

UN NGO Liaison, Pam Perraud,
told us about FAWCO's status as an NGO with special consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council since 1995, the FAWCO Representatives that attend various UN meetings and the new role of UN Advocate that is open for FAWCO members who do not live near a UN agency, but would like to be involved and act as a liaison with their clubs. We need to USE our recognition, or we lose it, so showing up and speaking out is important.
One of the resolutions that was approved during the General Meeting was FAWCO's support of CEDWA ratification by the US and implementation (The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) -- read more on the website page, http://www.fawco.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1319&Itemid=200014.
Other global issues within this "pillar" are listed here, http://www.fawco.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1421&Itemid=200063 and include: ending violence against women, sharing cultures and the environment.

That’s all for today, tomorrow I will tell you about another pillar -- philanthropy and the FAWCO Foundation.

a domani,

Elizabeth Abbot
FAWCO Representative

ENTRY 5

Ah yes, then there is fundraising,
Philanthropy is another of the four FAWCO pillars, that takes place both through FAWCO itself and its fundraising arm -- The FAWCO Foundation.

FAWCO itself initiates Emergency Relief Funds (the ERF), recently for Japan and last year for Haiti. You can donate to emergency relief efforts through FAWCO by donating online. Next week we will have chosen the destination organization that will receive the funds. More details later.

The FAWCO Foundation, the fundraising arm of FAWCO is actively working to achieve the Target Water Project goal  80,000$ (currently at 30,000$). Member clubs around the world are holding events and an AWAR committee is forming to decide how we will participate.  The project is the Tabitha Cambodia Project download here - Wells for Clean Water in Cambodia, Yolanda Henry (FAUSA) Project Coordinator. The team is full of information: http://www.fawco.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=238:target-program&Itemid=649.

Then, of course, the Foundation presents education awards and development grants each year.  Unfortunately this year, AWAR's candidates were not chosen, but the recipients were an outstanding group (the Development Grant recipients are now online: www.fawcofoundation.org, the education awards will be listed soon).   To AWAR's credit are not only many past recipients, but also a former Foundation president -- Lee Sorenson.

The Foundation report included the financing of 9 young African women through the NEEED program and the beginning of the www.i-give.com program (more later on that -- an easy way to support the Foundation, that doesn't cost you anything!!), To support programs, the Foundation is organizing a Mediterranean cruise in September and member clubs are working hard, with the help of "Well Deserved Desserts" fundraising program.

All for today. Tomorrow I will tell you about the fun part!!

Elizabeth Abbot
FAWCO Representative

 

ENTRY 6

It wasn't ALL work...

The conference theme was "Celebrate Tradition, Embrace Diversity" and in the late afternoon each day there was an opportunity to enjoy Moroccan traditions -- a cooking demonstration, a traditional dancing lesson and some shopping in a souk organized on-site in the hotel garden.

Dinners were events -- from a spectacular 80th Anniversary celebration at the Sofitel Hotel with a slide show on FAWCO's 80 years of activities, live music, awards (including several Circle of Honor awards) and great food to the final evening Gala at the Palais Souleiman complete with traditional music and belly dancing.

In between was the lively Foundation night with its silent and live auction events -- bringing the total funds during the conference to nearly $17,000.

That’s all for today. There will be one last summary email tomorrow -- looking forward!

Elizabeth Abbot
FAWCO Representative

ENTRY 7

FAWCO is above all about providing support to its member clubs -- like AWAR!
Through the network of 75 clubs in 39 countries representing over 15,000 women, we can share and learn from each other and work together for something larger than our local club.

If you have never had a browse around the FAWCO website, now is the time, while you are feeling a bit of the FAWCO fever from the conference, so here it is....www.fawco.org.
Most of the site is available to the public, and you, as a member of a FAWCO club, can register for a username and password to access even its most inner gems of information and sharing.

As the 2nd VP for member clubs, 2011-2013, I will have the honor of interacting with clubs around the world -- facilitating the information flow:  top - down and bottom - up between clubs and the FAWCO board and chairs, and also side to side through a new and exciting club workshop program as well as regional meetings.

Here we are: the 2011-13 FAWCO Board: http://www.fawco.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1664&Itemid=200309

AWAR is back on the FAWCO map! Make your plans for the late March 2012 FAWCO conference in Dublin so that we can make a splash with a large group of full conference participants.

and that is all. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Elizabeth Abbot
FAWCO Representative

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