With the theme Bold and Transformative Leadership – Towards 2035, the World YWCA is busy planning for the 28th World Council that will be held at the Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao in Bangkok, Thailand Oct. 11-17, 2015. The convention centre is ideally located in the city centre with superb surroundings.
Bangkok is as intoxicatingly exciting as it is diverse, an interesting mixture of old and new where century old temples stand across giant mega malls and deluxe condo towers hover over canal shanty towns. Bangkok is also a shopper’s paradise. Chatachak Market is known as the world’s largest weekend market and as for the food, Thai cuisine is second to none boasting famous dishes such as Somtum, Tomyum goong and Pad Thai. The Floating Market is another place that shouldn’t be missed.
Highlights of the Meeting:
Envisioning 2035 – A major focus of the meeting is the Envisioning process and the adoption of the 20-year plan of action for the collective efforts of YWCAs in advancing women’s rights and leadership, as well as strengthening common identity and sustainability. Three plenary sessions are scheduled to discuss each of the Envisioning issues: women’s rights and leadership, identity and membership, and sustainability. The plenary discussion will be followed by workgroup sessions to engage discussion on the issues and build ownership of the action plan.
Mary Robinson Award – At World Council 2011, The World YWCA established the Mary Robinson Award for Young Women’s Leadership in Human Rights to recognize young women leaders and human rights activists. New recipients of the award will be honored and celebrated during the World YWCA Council in Bangkok.
Young Women’s Forum: The World YWCA will hold a Young Women’s Forum October 9-10, 2015, prior to the opening of the World YWCA World Council and organized around the theme “Her Future – Through Bold and Transformative Leadership.” The Forum will be the platform for young women from the movement to come together, network, envision and explore their role and how they can contribute to implement the Envisioning 2035 platform for action. Another important outcome will be the launching of a young women’s champion network.
Governance – The business meeting of the World Council is clearly stated in Article 21 of the World YWCA Constitution. It includes reports by the Board and General Secretary on the World YWCA activities and management of funds during the previous quadrennium. The Council approves policies and resolutions guiding the work until the next World Council. The leadership of the movement will be elected. Certain plenary sessions will be dedicated to the business agenda, and will include orientation sessions for voting delegates.
Skills Building Workshops: Building capacity and sharing best practices is an important and popular part of the program. Workshops, led by YWCA member associations, will be grouped under the three themes of women’s rights and leadership, identity and membership, and sustainability. There will also be workshops on proposed resolutions and constitutional amendments.
Transformative leadership: As part of the theme and the core mission, the World YWCA will promote and develop the concept of intergenerational and shared leadership and incorporate them into the program. At World Council 2011 conversations on transformative leadership were held between young women and other leaders in the movement separately. In 2015 the idea is to bring these conversations together. Space will be given to YWCA leaders to share and lead.
Networking – Meeting sisters from other YWCAs around the world is one of the most important aspects of World Council. There will be plenty of opportunities during coffee breaks and lunch, at the market space and during meetings, to foster interaction and contact between members.
Worship – Every morning there will be worship and reflection on the priority issues and guiding values of the work of the YWCA.
Market Place – An area will be provided for member associations to share and display their work and sell goods during specific periods.
Asian Exposure: Some of the issues that women and YWCAs in Asia have to deal with, in particular trafficking, HIV, migration and violence against women, will be highlighted during World Council.
Sudawan Khomtram is the World Council Coordinator in Thailand. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and worked at the United Virginia Bank for two years before returning to Bangkok where she worked for Thai Airways for 35 years. She has been a volunteer for the YWCA of Bangkok for 10 years and became a board member in 2011.
According to Sudawan, there are many different things that participants can look forward to, including the International Culture Night which will be very exciting as so many different cultures will be represented. A variety of different goods will be offered at the Market Place where you can “shop ‘till you drop”, but also where participants will have a chance to network and meet each other. Furthermore, participants will be enchanted by the worship sessions. These are just a few examples as we are still in the process of arranging activities.