All 7 club presidents from are 06 together with 32 members of Area 06 were present at the Zonta District 27 conference. All United in Sisterhood.
I could not have been more proud as area director.
It was an overwhelming weekend with topnotch keynote speakers, Farida Lamkanfi at the Opening Ceremony on Friday and Professor Catherine Van de Heyning as keynote speaker on Saturday.
We were so proud of all the cyclists from the Zonta Cycling Team who were personally welcomed by the GrandeDuchess of Luxembourg.
At the Welcoming Ceremony the Grand Duchess received her certificate of Honorary Member of Zonta International from the International President Ute Scholz who reminded us all how important it is to care for each other and be supportive towards other women in the world.
As for Farida Lamkanfi : She created by her mindblowing keynote speech an unforgettable moment. Through her words she inspired and she shared her thoughts on the topic: “Women’s rights are also a personal affair. Sisterhood is not a destination. But a journey. How can we connect the dots from past to future, from local to global?”. Nothing Iess than a 5 minutes long standing ovation was the reaction of the 300 zontians present. She herself was overwhelmed by the immensely positive feedback and the standing ovation from the audience and she was moved to tears by the joy and gratitude that filled my soul. Through her Facebook post she was also delighted to meet and connect with so many inspiring women, each with a unique story, but all with the same vision for a better world for women and girls. Thank you ZONTA for this amazing opportunity and experience. I feel strengthened to continue this work.
H.R.H. the Grand Duchess Maria Teresa is a woman of heart and conviction who is committed to the protection of the most vulnerable and the defense of women’s and girls’ rights against all forms of violence. Her speech touched deeply our hearts referring in her speech to Dr. Dennis Mukwege, someone we all admire for his endless efforts to help women victims of rape in war regions in Africa. “Fight for the things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
To my delight, our governor, Ute Noeske, chose public health as the main theme for this conference, which lead me straightaway to reach out to the keynote speaker on Saturday afternoon, Professor Catherine Van De Heyning. She is a professor of European fundamental rights law at the University of Antwerp. Next to being a public prosecutor, a member of the Expert Advisory Committee of the UN Human Right Council, and a member of the board of the Belgian Federal Institute on Gender Equality, she is also a high level expert in sexual digital violence. Her research focuses on the impact of digitalization on human rights protection, in particular in the field of criminal justice. In recent projects she focused on online forms of cyberviolence such as hate speech and online sexual violence. The issue of cyberviolence is very close to my heart. When the Belgian ZONTA Clubs Area 01, Area 05 and Area 06 D 27 joined forces last November for the ZSN campaign, we stood up for all those who suffer gender-based digital violence. The lecture of Professor Van de Heyning was very interesting and an eye opener for all of us.
Together with the different other initiatives ( great girls meet great women, workshops, Gala dinner) , the 15th Districtconference was a wonderful opportunity to share and learn from ideas and insights with many women with the same mission dedicated to empowerment, service and advocacy.
Régine Claeys, Area 06 Director