News and events

21 February 2023 - 9:37pm

Report from GWNZ Convenor International Relations (CIR), February 2023

Prepared by Shirley Gillett, Convenor for International Relations (CIR), GWNZ

In November 2022 between 11th and 13th the Graduate Women International(GWI) 34th Triennial General Assembly and Conference took place. For the first time it was held virtually. The theme was “from growth to sustainability” and there were more than 300 registrations from 40 countries registered.

Having attended several GWI triennium conferences in person I could not see how this could work or succeed as a virtual event. I also felt dubious about the cost required to attend. Fortunately I was proven wrong. It really was an amazing and inspirational experience. To quote the official GWI feedback and reflection,“ the GA and Conference were interesting, successful, great workshops, well organized; fully packed business sessions and conference; showed passion; excellent, loved Conversation Café, “


The business meeting worked well with the country representative voters (delegates)all assembling in the voting room and having a roll call (the room was virtual!). The business sessions were held in the main assembly room and breakout groups occurred with various workshops and a cultural presentation by the host country,  India,  was beautiful and spiritual. The chat was going like crazy with comments flying around the world as for several hours prior to the official start many of us were exchanging greetings and comments in amazement at how this was possible.

For the voting and business there were 10 new policy resolutions, 5 internal resolutions and 10 constitutional resolutions. Each Board member and president presented a reports as did each committee convenor.  Stacy also presented an excellent report. Each nominated board member All those standing for positions were required to give 3 minute presentations. had to present 3 minutes and some were competitive whereas for others there was only one candidate.

There were 9 new Board and 34 Committee members elected and appointed.


  • President: Patrice Wellesley-Cole (BFWG),
  • VP Advocacy: Shaila Rao Mistry (WG-USA),
  • VP Education: Shirley Gillett (GWNZ),
  • VP Legal & Governance: Ujwala Shinde (IFUWA),
  • VP Membership: Meera Bondre (IFUWA),
  • VP Marketing: Shruti Sonthalia (IFUWA),
  • VP Fundraising: Nneka Chiedozie- Udeh (NAUW),
  • VP Projects: Mildred Asmah (GAUW),
  • Treasurer: Sudha Srivastava (BFWG)
  • STAFF Executive Director: Stacy Dry Lara


For myself it was competitive and wonderfully I was successful as GWI board VP education. As a step up from convenor of edcom this involves monthly 2 hour board meetings(this was 4AM but I managed to argue for 5 AM); support for and guidance of the education committee(EDUCOM);  projects around the millennium goals for SDG 4 quality 4 education; and general GWI governance. I am very excited, to add in particular, to add to the renew and rebuild working emphasis of the new board. One aspect I specially like is the move to more direct involvement with the NFAs and directly communicating with  members.


25 workshops & seminars were held from members and the YMN.

As convenor of EDUCOM I was involved with organising these which was a great deal of work however I must credit Louise Mcleod having the vision for how the conference part needed to be structured with the various time zones putting the super complex puzzle together. Presenter countries spanned  a 21-hour time period starting with Geneva time (CET) - eastward to Asia Pacific and westward to western United States and Canada.

From a GWNZ perspective we had 17 “kiwis” GW members registered and 5 New Zealand presentations.  I am including them here in case any branches would like to repeat them.

Session 6 : 9 30-11 AM

Women's Organisations are diminishing. Why is that? Alyson Manning (New Zealand)

Assessing the Gender Gap in Academia and the Effects of COVID-19 Rae Duff (New Zealand)

Tackling Growing Inequalities in Education in New Zealand and Sierra Leone, Yeabu Tholley (Sierra Leone), Dr Shirley Gillett (New Zealand)

Workshop 16 : 11 15-12 45

Learning for life - enhancing social citizenship. Dr Linda Robertson and Professor Sian Halcrow.

The workshops and papers were all excellent and I personally loved the presentation by world renowned sculptor Glenda Heckscher on Peace and Art which was brilliant. We were introduced to her actual large city sculptures.