Australia: An Evening With WFWP

An Evening With WFWP

APRIL 8, 2017  

Connecting community through dinner and dance


Kosina Hanson, MC, began the evening with a welcome to country and Anne Bellavance gave an introduction about the 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) at the UN in New York, which eight (8) delegates from Oceania attended. Anne also highlighted the work of WFWP International, with this year's community dinner commemorating 25 years of our international activities, plus our activities in Victoria. Giulia Iacono, WFWP Australia's new secretary and co-ordinator of the Island Projects gave an overview of ongoing Oceania Projects and two new initiatives: the Scholarship program and the micro-credit program.

This year, WFWP Oceania initiated the Global Women's Peace Network Partnership Award, which will be given to one organisation per year in each of WFWP Australia's chapters. The Global Women's Peace Network (GWPN) is a project of WFWP International and established with the goal of creating a peaceful world; aiming to strengthen and enhance cooperation among women's organisations beyond political, racial, cultural and religious backgrounds. GWPN adheres to the principle that women working together, taking initiative and empowering one another across traditional lines of race, culture and religion to create healthy families are resolving the complex problems of our societies and world.

This year's recipients were the United Muslim Sisters of Latrobe Valley (UMSLV). Arfa Khan, UMSLV President, and Khatija Halibi, UMSLV Founder, are both WFWP members and received the award from Dr. Mimmie Watts, WFWP Victoria Patron.

The UMSLV were selected to receive this award because of their goals and work to empower women and foster peacebuilding within their communities. The reading on the award sums up the purpose of the partnership: Women working together to realise one global family rooted in a culture of sustainable peace. Presented to (organisation) for your inclusive partnership with the Women's Federation for World Peace, Australia; that place people and the planet at the centre. Through this partnership both UMSLV and WFWP will support each other's work and stand as advocates for their common goals.

The UMSLV began four years ago as a united women's voice for all Muslim denominations in the Latrobe Valley, a region adjacent to Melbourne. The UMSLV have been instrumental in bringing the Muslim community and broader community together to better understand our differences, but most importantly to celebrate our likenesses. Through events such as Understanding Scarves and Understanding Journey's, a climate of acceptance, understanding and friendship has been established in the Latrobe Valley amongst a broad range of women.

Highlights of the evening included honouring WFWP Australia's board and volunteers who helped develop the activities of WFWP Victoria and Australia throughout the year. Local caterer, Bay Leaf Kitchen, provided a delicious Australian and Indian three-course meal.

In the Key of B Community Choir provided the primary entertainment during the evening; a seasoned choir directed and conducted by WFWP Australia member Ruth Kennedy.