News and Features

  • August 19, 2013

93rd Annual Meeting & Appeal

Dara and Paulette  image003  Table #5  Connie & Mercedes

We are sending you a special annual appeal based on the inspiring 93rd Annual Meeting of our World Service Council.We heard some exciting speeches about World YWCA work and YWCA USA changes from our leaders and guests, and only wish that all of our members could have been with us. As you read the following brief report, please consider a generous gift to the World Service Council for the coming year since you will see that we have increased our goal to meet some urgent needs.

One of the first speakers was the new head of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuko from South Africa, who told of youthful days at the YW and of starting her impressive career at the World YW office in Geneva, where she was the first Youth Coordinator at the World YWCA and the architect of their programs to increase the work and involvement of Young Women leaders. As she said, she owes her start in life to the YWCA! Then Abigail Disney told us of her ongoing work with films on women’s issues but also of her new film endeavor – a picture of the “Gun Culture” in our country. She also told of how our World YW leadership conferences and women have inspired her so greatly! You would have been truly proud!

We were delighted to have Dara Richardson-Heron, YWCA USA CEO, give a stirring report of the progress made in reinvigorating our national organization and the challenges that still lie ahead. We also heard from a remarkable young, new WSC member, Jenna Foster, who helped lead the recent YWCA Barbados Conference for Young Women that was such a success. And we had our World General Secretary, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, give us her moving words about the long path that so many have to take out of poverty and how the World YWCA works steadily to help women gain their rightful place in the world. You would have joined with us in applause but also in wanting to do so much more for our World YWCA to help this work along!

In the afternoon, we also had our first “Seminar,” showcasing the work of some of our outstanding members, and it was a great success with Debra Stock, past YWCA USA President, as Chair and four exciting speakers: Mercedes Marquez, current Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles; Rima Salah, our UNICEF and UN Mission leader; Anna Weyher, speaking of her PhD work with chimpanzees and young women in Zambia; and Mary Lou Judd Carpenter, telling us of the book she has written on her mother’s remarkable letters, called “Miriam’s Words.” For all the many members who attended, it was an inspiring session on issues vital to women along with the lively discussion that followed.

So now it is our turn as WSC members to help. We are ever so grateful for the contributions so generously given by many of you, and are making this first appeal before the end of the calendar year for those who give at this time. For this year of 2013-2014 we are increasing our overall goal to $175,000 to $200,000 to answer the following requests:

*  World YWCA work in three areas: young women’s leadership training; strengthening fragile young associations and establishing YWCAs in countries without one; plus providing for emergency work such as that currently going to the Philippines. Goal of $175,000 or more.

*  Help for the YWCA USA with $25,000 needed for two major technical systems: to strengthen fundraising efforts, and to evaluate and support local associations in capacity building with the goal of  building a stronger national movement and global collaboration.

*  Lastly, for those who like helping needy countries with building loans, there is the International Building Fund where this past year, the World Service Council sent $75,000 in gifts for facility projects in Italy, Belize and Benin.

Because of the extra need for funding in 2014, we are also asking members who give a specific amount each year to consider increasing their contribution by at least 10% so that we can adequately meet the requests that have been made. Enclosed is a donation form to send your gift to: YWCA USA, 2025 M Street NW, Suite 550, Washington, DC 20036, or you can go to the YWCA USA website,, click on donation, and find the WSC designation f

or your gift. Your donations to the World Service Council go directly to strengthen women where they live and address issues like HIV/AIDS, violence against women, racial and economic justice, education, health and wellness. The World Service Council makes a difference for women across the globe because we can count on our loyal and giving members who are all ambassadors for the YWCA movement!

With all best wishes to you and yours this holiday season from your World Service Council Executive Committee,

Most sincerely,

Connie Anderson Tate, Chair, World Service Council


YWCA of Palestine to host international conference on UN Resolution 1325

The YWCA of Palestine, in coordination with the World YWCA, calls on YWCA Associations around the world, human rights activists and institutions, ecumenical partners and churches, to join us as we continue to work towards Peace and Justice, and support women to achieve their rights, especially their rights for security, freedom, and dignity, and holding violators accountable.

United Nations Security Resolution 1325 (NSCR 1325) coincides with the agenda of the Palestinian women’s movement, as it combines the requirements of national liberation and women’s needs to achieve a just and comprehensive peace, social progress and rights to enshrine values of democracy and equality. UNSCR 1325 recognizes the right/need for women’s participation in peace, as well as protection from, and prevention of violence (including gender based violence).

The Conference will be held for Three Days in Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine, between 29 September and 1 October 2014. Participants of the Conference should plan to arrive on Sunday 28th September.

A Pre-Conference Witness Visit will be organized for YWCA and other ecumencial international partners from 26th – 28th September. Participants of Witness Visit should plan to arrive on Thursday 25th September

Departure Date is Thursday October 2. (Note: On Friday noon 3 October 2014, the Israeli airport and borders will be closed for Yom Kippur Holiday).

This 3-day witness visit is intended to offer participants an opportunity to experience life in Palestine under occupation, as well as offer them an opportunity to witness the unique challenges the YWCA Palestine faces in providing services. Meetings will be organized with key leaders and organizations that can talk about what women face under military occupation and patriarchal structures. Some visits to selected YWCA activities/programs will also be included.

Young Women are particularly encouraged to register and participate in this Conference.

The Conference Objectives/ Expected Outcomes are to:

Contribute actively to the discourse on Women, Peace, Justice and Security;

Offer a platform especially for young people to voice their aspirations and come up with tangible recommendations that can culminate their efforts for peace, justice and dignity;

Enlighten and raise awareness amongst YWCA’s globally, and other global partners and networks on the situation in Palestine;

Create/strengthen, advocacy and solidarity networks within the YWCA global movement, churches, ecumenical partners and other international partners, to strengthen their support for Peace and Justice in Palestine including the implementation of UNSCR1325;

Contribute to the development of a YWCA position paper on Peace and Justice, that will include a strategy for monitoring of UNSCR1325 Action Plans in their respective countries;

Include a Conference Statement on Women’s Freedom, Peace and Dignity in Palestine.


Contact us at: for more information


Saluting Peg Calhoun

The Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA., on New Year’s Day featured a float honoring the women pilots of World War II. Almost three years ago (in March 2010)  300 remaining women pilots of the 1100 women pilots who served during World War II  were honored in Washington DC with the Congressional Medal of Honor. Most were in their late 80’s and 90’s.

 We in the YWCA have a special reason to celebrate, for our own YWCA leader was one of those pilots: Peg Calhoun.   

Peg Calhoun served on the boards of directors of many YWCAs during her career: Long Beach and Mid-Peninsula (Palo Alto) in California, the National Board of the YWCA of the USA all during the 1950s and 1960s, the YWCA of India, and the Executive Committee of the World YWCA.  She visited YWCAs all around the world as she traveled with her husband, Cal, an economic consultant with Stanford Research Institute. She was a good friend of Margaret Hathaway, who worked for the World YWCA to establish numerous YWCAs in Africa when colonialism ended. She and Cal helped Margaret build a camp for women in Zimbabwe for the YWCA.

How did Peg become a pilot? When World War II broke out, she and Cal spoke of what they should do.  Cal could not join the service because of an injured back.  They decided Peg should be the one to serve.

So, she took flying lessons and even practiced take offs and landings at the San Francisco airport!  And she became a pilot in the WASPs—the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots.  She flew huge bomber planes – solo – test piloting them from the end of the production line of Douglas aircraft in Long Beach, CA. to the east coast where male pilots took them overseas. She told stories about how the only navigation instrument they had was an old fashioned compass, and how some women pilots were assigned to pull targets for the artillery to practice shooting and died when the shooters missed the targets.

After the war, Peg began her many years of volunteer work with the YWCA until retiring in Claremont, CA., where she continued to enjoy the friendship of Margaret Hathaway and Elizabeth Palmer, former General Secretary of the World YWCA, as well as many other YWCA retirees at Pilgrim Place. She was able to attend several special reunions with her flying friends during her lifetime before passing away.

Peg is known for her vibrancy, positiveness, enthusiasm, humor, interesting tales, as a devotee of the YWCA — and a good pilot.

By Kay Philips

December 2013

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