The World Service Council (WSC) packed 100 years of history in its inspiring virtual celebration on October 15 when YWCA members and friends around the globe signed onto its zoom centennial event. The historic story was told through a narrative that traced the beginnings of the World Service Council from its inception to the present embellished by photos and interviews from former WSC chairs, World YWCA interns, World YWCA General Secretaries, and other global leaders.
YWCA USA World Board member Andrea Arbogast introduced the presentation and conducted two poll questions prior to turning it over to WSC Co-Chair Deb Stock, YWCA USA CEO Alejandra Castillo and World YWCA General Secretary Casey Harden who gave welcoming remarks and paid tribute to the Centennial Committee and the legacy of the WSC. Interspersed throughout the history of the WSC were comments from former WSC Chairs Joyce Mims and Connie Tate, former YWCA General Secretaries Elaine Steel and Musimbi Kanyaro, former interns Leanne Baumung, Muna Killingback, and Zin Mao Oo, along with former UNICEF Deputy Secretary Rima Salah, World YWCA Board Members Erica Lewis and Mtisunge Kachingwe, YWCA Japan Staff member Sumie Ogasawara, World YWCA staffer Caterina Lemp, and YWCA USA Global Relations Chair Carolyn Flowers, all who shared their personal experiences.
Casey Harden spoke to the constancy of the World Service Council through the years. While people and challenges came and went, and priorities changed over time, the World Service Council was always there to provide significant resources to support World YWCA, particularly the internship program that has mentored young women who return to their countries to take leading roles in their YWCAs like Zin Mao Oo who became General Secretary of YWCA Myanmar. Other interns have successfully found careers in gender equality development such as Leanne Baumung and gender research historian Muna Killingback. The WSC also supported the International Building Fund and educational and capacity building programs for fledgling YWCAs. A special category of support in recent years has been an emergency fund in order to respond to natural disasters, conflict and the pandemic.
WSC Co-Chair Mildred Morrison wrapped up the video by promoting the WSC’s next century of service, looking forward to continuing the celebration next year at an October in-person meeting in New York. Billed as 100+1, a highlight of the meeting will be a commemorative booklet that will acknowledge those who have donated $100 or more for our 100 years of service in addition to their regular contributions. We urge all to join this special Centennial Circle in honor or in memory of a woman who has inspired you.
It is with special thanks that we recognize the WSC Centennial Committee members, co-chairs Claudia Poster and Catherine Hickey, Elaine Carlson, Andrea Arbogast, Luna Lee, Joelle Logue, Carole Markus and Amanda Rogers for their time and creative energy in creating this video. This could not have become reality without the technical assistance of YWCA USA and its incomparable team: Alejandra Castillo, Matt Preiss and Elisha Rhodes.