All of us are drawn to reflection as a new year begins and to thoughts of what we may seek or do or work toward.
I enter this new year encouraged and moved by an event on December 5 at the United Nations. The permanent mission to the UN of The Kingdom of the Netherlands sponsored a panel discussion honoring the founders of Women’s World Banking, and the launching of Founding a Movement: Women’s World Banking 1975-1990. ( see below )
Almost 400 people participated in the event and, to my great joy, many of the original founders and donors who made WWB possible were reunited. It was wonderful to be in the room and to hear people recount their memories of WWB and what WWB had meant in their lives and their countries.
Participants included Zohreh Tabatabai, Mary Okelo, Barbro Dahlbom Hall, Hon. Dag Nissen, Ron Leger, Ann Roberts, Mary Houghton, Ron Grzywinski, John Hammock, Russell Phillips, Mary Ellen Iskendarian, Peg Snyder, Chokyun Rha, Sara Stuart and Gretchen Maynes. Several children and grandchildren of the founders also came.
The Dutch played a major role in establishing WWB, which was incorporated there in 1979, and all of us are grateful for their continuing commitment to fair development, opportunities for women, and an ethical approach to world trade.
The UN event and other talks and visits in December reinforce my belief that our message has value for the current generation of international development professionals, investors, leaders and students. By working together and creating networks based on trust, by learning from and relying on local entrepreneurs to know their business, and by seeing one another as peers rather than experts v. learners we can continue to solve problems.
There are always problems, but we do not need a whole new set of techniques to solve them.
We need honesty, trust, focus on results and constant clear communication