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International Commissioner's Report
Report on the 33rd World Conference of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
33rd World Conference in South Africa
In July 2008, the Girl Guides Association of South Africa hosted the 33rd World Conference of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Called together "to join in, reach out and change lives," nearly 500 participants from 145 member countries convened at the Birchwood Conference Center in Johannesburg, South Africa.
GSUSA Board Chair Patricia Diaz Dennis and International Commissioner Debra Nakatomi led the GSUSA delegation to the World Conference. Other members of the delegation included: National Board members Donna Blackwell and Sharon Matthews; CEO Kathy Cloninger, CEO Girl Scouts of Central Indiana Deborah Hearn Smith, World Board nominee/now World Board member Sapreet Saluja, young adult member Alina Lee, Executive Vice President Norma Barquet, and Vice President Global Girl Scouting Maureen Quinn. GSUSA National Board member, Tanya Dawkins, attended the conference in her role on the WAGGGS Western Hemisphere Regional Committee.
International advocate for children's and women's rights, Graca Machel, received the WAGGGS World Citizenship Award. In her keynote address Ms. Machel encouraged participants to speak out about challenges facing girls, such as abuse, health, HIV/AIDS and education. "Every child and woman," she said, "has the right to decide what happens to them."
WAGGGS welcomed six new full members: Burundi, Chad, Dominica, Hungary, Malawi and Russia and three new Associate Members: Democratic Republic of Congo, Lithuania and Syria. The conference voted to cancel the membership of the Samoa Girl Guides Association and Vanuatu Girl Guides Association.
Strategic Plan, Cooperation with other Organizations and New Material
The World Board presented the strategic plan for the World Association. The plan has three components: leadership development of young women, strong and growing member organizations and serving as the voice of girls and young women. The World Board outlined the cooperation between WAGGGS and the World Organization of the Scout Movement, which continues via the WAGGGS –WOSM Consultative Committee. WAGGGS also highlighted its partnership with the UPS Foundation in support of membership and its work with UNAIDS to fight HIV/AIDS.
WAGGGS introduced an eight-part leadership development program designed to enable young women to increase their leadership skills and be effective decision makers in their member organizations.
The World Board announced the WAGGGS theme for the 2009-2011 triennium: "together we can change the world." This theme is linked to the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, which aim to improve the lives of the world's poorest people. The launch of an advocacy toolkit supports this goal. Participants also received a new training toolkit to educate girls about HIV/AIDS.
WAGGGS presented the logo and the theme for the 100th anniversary: "girls worldwide say 100 years of changing lives." The centenary of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting will be celebrated for three years, from 2010 to 2012, on April 8, the 100th day of the year. Girlguiding UK will host a Global Young Women's Forum in 2010 and Girl Scouts of the USA will host the culminating event in 2012.
World Conference Business Agenda
The World Conference endorsed the WAGGGS strategic plan, which focuses on leadership development, strong and growing member organizations, and being a voice for girls/advocacy, as mentioned above. The Conference voted against the 7.1% proposed increase in quota. The Guides and Scouts of Norway is leading a drive to have member organizations pay the quota increase voluntarily. Immediately following the conference, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Norway pledged to make a voluntary contribution equal to the increase in quota over the 2009 – 2011 triennium. The Conference also voted in a nine-year term limit on World Board members.
World Conference Learning Sessions and Workshops
The GSUSA delegation played an active role at the conference. At a Learning Session on the single gender and co-ed experiences, Debra Nakatomi and Donna Blackwell presented the results from the Roundtable on the Benefits of the Single Gender Experience. Sweden spoke on the co-ed experience. Italy and Kenya shared their perspectives on the April 2007 roundtable. WAGGGS outlined its policy and the participants had a chance to reflect on the issues in small groups. GSUSA's collaboration on this issue was very well received. The workshop emphasized the commitment WAGGGS has to serve girls and young women. WAGGGS is considering what it might do to continue this work.
Patricia Diaz Dennis and Norma Barquet presented our new Girl Scout Leadership Experience, highlighting the three keys to leadership: discover, connect and take action and emphasized that fifteen national leadership outcomes have been identified and will be used to measure benefits.
At the meeting of the Western Hemisphere regional group Tanya Dawkins and Maureen Quinn outlined the twinning project between GSUSA's councils and the five Western Hemisphere member organizations. Western Hemisphere member organizations discussed accomplishments in the region and planning for the 100th anniversary.
The World Board presented the Olave Award at the conference. The Olave Award is an international award to honor the memory of the World Chief Guide, Olave, Lady Baden-Powell and to keep her belief in the spirit of service alive. The award recognizes outstanding service by a group to a community. The GSUSA service project submission, USAGSO Dhahran, Saudi Arabia earned a certificate of recognition for its community service for the Lamai Elementary School of Koh Samui, Thailand. Cadette Troop 2 collected and delivered books in English for the school's new library. In addition the girls started a recycling and environmental project at the school that continues to benefit not only the school but the community.
World Board Elections
The Conference thanked Elspeth Henderson, the outgoing Chair of the World Board and Mary Lynn Myers, the outgoing Vice Chair for their service. WAGGGS presented Elspeth with the WAGGGS silver medal. Margaret Treloar of Canada was elected as the Chair of the World Board and Linden Edgell was elected the Vice Chair.
Six young women were elected to the World Board: Gabriela Derosa of Argentina; Wamuyu Mahinda of Kenya; Nadine El Achy of Lebanon; Zahara Mavani of Pakistan; Camilla Lindquist of Sweden; and Sapreet Saluja of the United States. The newly elected substitute World Board members are Eugenia Mbekeni of South Africa and Cristina Yuson of the Philippines.
34th World Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland
The World Conference, honoring the roots of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting in the United Kingdom, voted for Girlguiding UK to host the 34th World Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2011. Malaysia had also submitted a bid to host the conference in 2011 and congratulated Girlguiding UK on being selected as the next host.
WAGGGS in 2008 has a clear outward focus. The World Association is determined to forcefully address the global challenges facing girls and young women. Using its global network and membership, WAGGGS is focused on the leadership development of young women, on strengthening and expanding their member organizations and serving as the voice of girls and young women.