Frederick A. Swarts, Ph.D.
of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from throughout the world, as well as
prominent governmental, intergovernmental and corporate leaders, converged on
Budapest, Hungary from October 21-24, 2004 for WANGO Annual Conference 2004. In
all, 235 select leaders from 55 nations participated in this four-day gathering.
Including WANGO staff and local speakers, over 270 attendees were involved in
making this a most memorable, unique and valuable program.
on the theme Healing a Hurting World: The Role of NGOs, the conference
participants examined issues of fundamental import for the worldwide NGO
community. Although the theme of the conference was selected independently of
the host city, Budapest provided an apt
metaphor for our conference theme. For this beautiful capital of Hungary
originally consisted of two cities built on opposite banks of the Danube. The
bridging of diverse entities, epitomized by the Chain Bridge, Budapest’s first
bridge across the Danube, is uniquely symbolic of the healing and unifying of
our fractured world. Equally fitting is the fact that Budapest is world-renowned
as the City of Healing, with its many medicinal baths and thermal springs.
The Opening Plenary Session was held in the spectacular Hungarian Parliament Building, in the Session Hall of the former Upper House. Europe’s largest Parliament building, the Hungarian Parliament is a remarkable neo-Gothic structure on the banks of the Danube River. Other sessions of the Annual Conference took place at the Danubius Thermal and Conference Hotel Helia, which was likewise situated along the Danube River, overlooking Margaret Island.
Annual Conference serves as the flagship event for the World Association of
Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO). The 2004 Annual Conference, which was
held for the first time in Europe, drew participants from all regions: Asia,
Oceania, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America, Latin America and the
Caribbean. Unfortunate problems in obtaining VISAs limited participation from
NGOs in some
countries, but representatives of 142 NGOs were in attendance. These NGOs
spanned the vast spectrum of the non-governmental community, from small, local
NGOs to major international bodies, and encompassing the diversity of human
activity, from humanitarian NGOs, to environmental NGOs, to those involved in
education, health care, human rights, conflict prevention, and development
The 2004 Annual Conference involved a wide variety of session formats, including 2 plenary sessions, 9 training workshops, 5 special symposia, 5 interactive sessions, 3 panel sessions, and 2 roundtables, as well as various opportunities to network at regional meetings, meal functions, dessert mixers, and field trips to Budapest cultural and historical sites. The Annual Conference was also the setting for the Annual Business Meeting of the membership, as well as the 2004 WANGO Awards Banquet, in which NGOs were recognized for their spirit of service and effectiveness in addressing societal ills. Overall, the program included 62 invited speakers, as well as leaders of 19 member organizations who utilized the panel sessions to present on their NGOs or a topic of interest to them. Specialized trainers from the United Kingdom, India, Hungary, Malaysia, the United States and elsewhere provided workshops on fundraising, strategic thinking, utilizing the new technologies, disaster involvement, partnering, media relations, and other topics of relevance to NGOs. Special sessions for WANGO Chapter leaders and National Representatives provided opportunities for close coordination and feedback between WANGO officers and WANGO’s field leaders in the field.
Special recognition goes to Mr. Denes Bank, President of the WANGO Hungary Chapter and Local Arrangements Chair of the conference. His tireless effort on all levels – from securing conference venues and arranging local speakers and entertainers, to production of the actual conference, to providing a warm welcome to delegates – was fundamental in the success of WANGO Annual Conference 2004.
Opening Plenary, which was convened in the Hungarian Parliament building,
addressed the general theme The Role of NGOs in Healing a Hurting World.
theme incorporates the recognition that, although we live in an age of
extraordinary technological, scientific, medical, economic and social
revolutions, the challenges confronting humanity remain enormous, and in many
cases have exacerbated. Among these are the fact that, today, an estimated 800
million people suffer from malnutrition, 900 million are illiterate, and over 1
billion people live on less than one dollar a day. One-quarter of the world
lives in poverty, and there is striking economic inequality between the haves
and the have-nots: one state, Texas, has greater economic output than the entire
African continent. Despite medical breakthroughs, over 20 million have died from
AIDS, and an estimated 40 million more have HIV/AIDS. Genocide, war, terrorism,
and weapons of mass destruction remain too often reminders of the human capacity
for mass killing, and an estimated 700,000 to 1 million women and children are
trafficked each year. Environmentally,
this is a time of collapsing fisheries, shrinking forests, accelerating
extinction, extensive population growth, and falling fresh water tables. Over
70% of major fish species are over-exploited and half of the world’s coral
reefs are dead or dying.
The remarkable “NGO revolution” now taking place represents substantial hope for addressing the serious problems plaguing humanity. The non-governmental community is involved in healing this hurting world to a level that was never imagined a century ago. Since the middle of the twentieth century, NGOs not only have multiplied many-fold, but they have also diversified their activities and greatly increased in influence. They now are involved in all areas of human life: humanitarian relief, education, human rights, environment, health care, research, advocacy, conflict prevention, and so forth. Their flexibility and connections to grassroots communities aids them in mobilizing resources quickly to affected areas, and their often single-minded commitment and strong motivation affords them a civic power that other institutions may lack. They often are willing to address threats that other groups overlook, and they are able to work across borders. In many cases, NGOs have proven more adept than government and business in responding to particular needs.
session provided an overview of the serious challenges humanity faces and the
role of NGOs in tackling those problems. Non-governmental, governmental, and
were presented, emphasizing the desire of WANGO to promote cooperation in
The President of the Parliament, Dr. Katalin Szili, who is also Hungary’s Deputy Head of State, opened this remarkable session. Dr. Alfredo Sfeir-Younis, who is Senior Advisor to the World Bank’s Managing Director’s Office (and former Special Representative of the World Bank to the UN and WTO), and Thomas Glasser, Head of Representation for the Representation of the European Commission in Hungary, offered insightful analysis from the intergovernmental sphere. A keynote address that dealt with fundamental issues and solutions from the non-governmental perspective was provided by Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak, Chairman of WANGO’s International Council. Taj Hamad, Secretary General of WANGO, served as Chair for the session. Subsequent to the thought-provoking presentations, attendees were treated to a guided tour of the Parliament, which is truly one of the most beautiful Parliaments in the world.
Session Two was convened on the theme, Beyond a Hurting World. This
session looked at such stimulating questions as: What will this world look like in ten or fifteen or twenty years? What
are the economic, technological, social, health, and geopolitical trends, and
how will these impact the future work of NGOs? Can we envision a world free from
want, free from fear, and with a sustainable environment, as well as universal freedoms of speech and religion? Can we foresee a world in which extreme
poverty and hunger are eradicated, there is universal primary education, child
mortality is greatly reduced, and the digital divide is effectively bridged?
we are living in a time of great opportunity and great risk. This session
provided an overview of the trends that are shaking the foundations of society
as we know it, and the future of NGOs in addressing global challenges. Presented
was a vision of the future world, and a framework for assessing global prospects
for humanity, as well as the opportunity to investigate how NGOs can become
creators and transformers of their vision rather than just stewards of their
organization’s mission. This session examined the outlook
for the next era of globalization and questioned the role of southern and
northern NGOs in this new era. Overall, this session was designed to stimulate
thinking about the future, and to help prepare NGOs for that future.
The guest speakers who addressed these issues were Jerome Clayton Glenn (Executive Director, American Council for the United Nations University and Director of the Millennium Project), Natalie Ambrose (Director, Emerging Issues & Strategic Planning, Council on Foundations), Ellen Hayakawa (President, The Centre for Spirituality and Sustainability), and Zia Rizvi (Director General, Independent Bureau for Humanitarian Affairs). The session was chaired by Michael Marshall (Editor-in-Chief, United Press International and Executive Director of the World Media Association).
WANGO Annual Conference 2004 featured five special symposia.
The first special symposium, European Integration and NGOs, examined the historical, present and future role of NGOs in the process of European integration, including perspectives from early and new members and candidates.
evolution of the European Union (EU) from a trade body into the major economic
and political partnership
that it is today has been an historic achievement.
Considered as a unit, the EU has the largest economy in the world; were
it a country, it would rank third in population and seventh in area. The EU,
which was originally constituted as the European Economic Community (EEC) and
later the European Community (EC), now comprises 25 states based on the European
Communities, with ten countries have joined in 2004. Additional nations are on
the list as candidate countries, these being Romania and Bulgaria (slated to
join in 2007), as well as Turkey. Founded to enhance political, economic and social
cooperation, this is the most powerful regional organization in existence, and
is a force for peace and democracy.
In addition to an overview of NGOs’ role in European integration, this session included a discussion of NGOs involvement on current issues of relevance to the EU, such as its enlargement south and east and the European constitution; the consultative mechanism between NGOs and Public Administration; the NGOs’ roles in forming public opinion; and the benefits and detriments of engagement with the EU.
Chaired by Michael Barabas (Director, European House and Director of CIVICUS European Regional Office) of new EU member Hungary, this session also included informative presentations by Professor Aurora Martin of Romania, a candidate country (Vice President, Romanian Women’s Future), and Alain Calmes of Luxembourg, an original member (Secretary General, European Federalists Union, Luxembourg).
The second special symposia, Healing the Family, dealt with challenges to the fundamental institution of the family, and the role of NGOs in tackling these challenges.
Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” However, the family unit in many nations is undergoing major challenges, with increasing divorce rates, spousal and child abuse, and father-absent families being among the stresses. Furthermore, since the adoption of the Universal Declaration in 1948, even the traditional concept of what constitutes a family, marriage, and the parent-child relationship is being countered by radical new conceptions. One of the major policy frontlines in the 21st Century centers on the issue of the definition of family and marriage, and what moral and social norms are to be protected. The expansion of the definition of family beyond father, mother and child, and the new development of same-sex marriage, now legal in five nations, have brought this issue to the forefront.
This session examined current global and national trends with respect to the family, the societal value of the traditional family, and efforts by the non-governmental community to heal the family with respect to family breakdown, child abuse, father-absent families, and other challenges. It also looked at concerns, expressed by leaders of various nations and religious bodies, that certain political units, including intergovernmental bodies such as the United Nations, are moving in a direction inimical to the nuclear family and advancing an agenda that would promote family breakdown. The contrasting perspectives and influences of NGOs in this regard were part of the discussion.
at this second special symposia included Cheryl
Wetzstein (National Reporter, The Washington Times), Dr. V. Mohini
Giri (Chairperson, Guild of Service, and Founding Trustee of Women’s
Initiative for Peace in South Asia), and Dr. Thomas L. Christensen
(Co-Founder, United Families International). Dr. Wajeeha Al-Baharna, who
could not attend due to an unanticipated problem with her VISA, submitted a
paper for the session. Also contributing substantially was Dr. Christensen’s
daughter, Jennifer Christensen, whose address brought a fresh perspective
to the issue. Massimo Trombin, WANGO’s European Regional Coordinator,
served as Chair of the Session.
The third special symposia, Healing Societies in the Aftermath of Conflict, dealt with the daunting challenges and opportunities facing countries emerging from inter- and intra-state conflict. After conflict, political, military and educational infrastructures may be in chaos, the health care system overwhelmed, the economic infrastructure devastated, and there may deep scars from human rights abuses and environmental destruction. Yet, there may also be unprecedented opportunities. For example, Nancy Bremeo has noted that “of the seventy-three democracies founded after 1945 that still exist today, over half emerged either in the immediate aftermath of a war or as a means of bringing an ongoing war to an end.”
The non-governmental community has a fundamental role in healing societies in the aftermath of conflict. NGOs offer humanitarian aid, engage in peacekeeping and high-level mediation, work to foster an ethical culture in the governmental and corporate worlds, take on educational tasks and health care, rebuild the artistic and historical culture, and play myriad other roles.
session looked at such issues as the conditions needed for guaranteeing
long-term peace and prosperity within societies emerging from conflict and for
the construction of a stable, post-conflict democracy. Included was a
comparison of democracies arising from conflict versus democracies arising in
peacetime, and the importance of fostering a strong civil society, as well as
such complex challenges as redressing human rights abuses, recreating the social
fabric and environment, and building effective, accountable and transparent
by Dr. Nicholas Kittrie (Chairman, Eleanor Roosevelt Institute for Peace
and Justice), the panel treated attendees to presentations from Professor
Huma Ahmed-Ghosh (Department of Women’s Studies, San Diego State
University), Michelle L. Stevens (Author, Healing the Land, Healing the
People), and Zia Rizvi (Director General, Independent Bureau for
fourth special symposia, Youth NGOs and Volunteerism, was organized by Denes
Bank. In addition to serving as the conference’s Local Arrangements Chair,
Mr. Bank serves as Vice President of the Children and Youth Parliament. Despite
his youth, Denes Bank is very accomplished, having formed his first NGO at the
age of 17, and holding leadership positions in a number of NGOs.
tensions grow day by day between the different cultures and societies, and as no
immediate answers can be formulated, more and more attention is paid to
preparing the new generations to answer these challenges. Many reports warn us,
though, that young people get further and further from the virtues that could
serve as a basis for that on the global level.
organizations have a crucial role in the informal education and upbringing of
youth. Within these frameworks, they can learn democracy, tolerance,
responsibility, listening and much more. This symposium addressed the main
problems of Hungarian youth and the solutions carried out by NGOs; the key
starting points and milestones of the Youth NGO sector in Hungary; and the
experience in high-level networking. The importance and ways of training and
researching were also highlighted.
art of living together in peace is the art of living for one another.
Volunteerism is an activity, a movement and a way of life where people give
their own virtues into the hands of others for free or well below their normal
price or even cost. And in this relationship new virtues are born. Quite an
enormous percentage of volunteers are young people. This symposium outlined what
makes the world of volunteerism move and what its nature is like, what practical
role it can play in the life of youth, and also what findings can be realized
from a research that is of international importance.
by Denes Bank, the session included presentations from Laszlo Pracser
(Co-President, Hungarian Children and Youth Convention), and Andras Toth
(Director, Volunteer Centre Foundation), among others.
The fourth special symposia, Women NGOs and the Peace Process, examined the prominent role played by women NGOs in peacemaking and peacekeeping, and how they can be more effective in advancing peace. Although women are less represented than men in government structures, women have played an important role in the civil society and women's groups have taken a lead in civil society conflict resolution efforts.
Secretary General Kofi Annan has observed: “Women, who know the price of
conflict so well, are also better equipped than men to prevent or resolve it.
For generations, women have served as peace educators, both in their families
and in their societies. They have proven instrumental in building bridges rather
leaders and the media have often given attention to the plight of women in war,
as victims. It is noted, for example, that women make up a disproportionate
amount of those displaced by war -- indeed, women and children constitute about
80% of the world’s millions of refugees and other displaced persons.
What often has been overlooked is the vital of role of women as
peacemakers. With this
new millennium is a growing
demand for women to be represented in peace negotiations, and a growing
recognition that women and men
have diverse interests to be considered.
Dr. Mihaela Dimetrescu (Vice President, Romanian Association for European Integration Democracy) chaired this session, which featured presentations by Sylwia Spurek (Expert in Office of Polish Government Plenipotentiary on Gender Equality), Liliana Pagu (President, Women’s Association of Romania, and National Coordinator of the Women’s NGO Network of Romania), and Elisabeth Riedl (Vice President, Women’s Federation for World Peace, Austria).
practical workshops were featured at WANGO Annual Conference 2004.
workshops on Essential Fundraising Skills
for NGOs workshop were conducted by Ms. Neelam
Makhijani (Programme Director, The Resource Alliance) of the United Kingdom
and General Surat Sandhu (Executive Director, Concept Consultants) of
India. One of the most critical issues that non-profits face is ensuring
financial sustainability for their good works to continue. This interactive
session covered essential issues facing organizations and fundraisers, providing
an overview of the principles and
techniques of fundraising, the key strategic activities to achieve the desired
goals, and prerequisites for success. Included was a discussion of the changing
environment, maximizing income, an ideal charity,
communicating your brand, the rationale for giving, identifying the
stakeholders, and a plan for fundraising, as well as ethics, transparency and
accountability and managing relationships.
Neelam Makhijani and General Sandhu also offered a workshop on Nonprofit
Leadership. This session familiarized participants with a range of skills,
knowledge and competencies to improve the performance of their organization and
self. Utilizing an interactive format, answers were sought to what nonprofit
leadership means, personal effectiveness, leadership in fundraising,
communicating the vision, and conveying personal presence. Among the issues
dealt with were distinguishing leadership and management, establishing and
adapting leadership style, strategic versus operational thinking, modeling
effective behavior, setting personal goals, the role of the CEO in fundraising,
sharing vision in an inspirational way, forms and styles of vision, engaging
boards and staff in vision, influencing skills, making an impact, and you as a
(Marketing and Fundraising Director, The Retail Trust, London) offered two
workshops, one dealing with Strategic Thinking for NGOs: A New Paradigm
and one dealing with Media Relations and NGOs. Retail Trust, which was
established in London in 1832, is a charity with the mission to support those
working in, or retired from, the retail industry when they or their families
need care or assistance. Ms. Nadolski has 20 years marketing/fundraising
experience developing successful strategies for NGOs in the UK, USA and India.
Nadolski’s first session, on Strategic Thinking, dealt with the ability of
organizations to think ahead and respond to rapidly changing situations – a
vital quality for NGOs in today’s world.
While strategic planning is important as an analytical tool for the here
and now, strategic thinking is a creative tool for leaders and managers to
envision the future for their organization and how to turn that vision into
reality. This interactive workshop explored the various models of strategic
thinking and how they can be applied.
The workshop covered (1) What is
Strategic Thinking?; (2) How is it different from Strategic Planning? (3) Two
models of Strategic Thinking; and (4) Aligning strategic thinking and strategic
planning. At the end of the session, delegates had insights into
the tools and rules of thinking creatively and influencing change.
Nadolski’s second session, on Media
Relations, dealt with the fact that news
media is unmatched in its ability to shape public perception of NGOs. Good media
relations is essential if an organization wants to position itself as a player
in the issues that matter. It can
support fundraising appeals or place the organization as an authoritative source
for future stories. This
interactive workshop provided tools to develop an effective media relations
strategy. The workshop covered such
themes as (1) media basics; (2) packaging and selling your message; (3) building
relations; (4) crisis communications; and (5) avoiding common pitfalls. At the
end of the session, delegates had the tools to develop a media relations
strategy for their organization.
(President, Active Voice) served as the trainer for a workshop titled Utilizing
the New Technologies for Nonprofits. Clearly, new
technologies offer ways for NGOs to work more effectively and efficiently in
caring out their missions. New technologies can help an NGO to sustain and
deepen relationships it already has; identify and cultivate new prospects; cast
a much wider net, over time making people aware of its work who might otherwise
not know about it; help an NGO stay current about the environment in which it
functions; allow the tracking and analyzing of the outcomes of its work; and
assist in identifying strategic partners and remain aware of who is working in
the field; among other values. This session focused on a framework for a
technology strategy for NGOs. It examined fundraising online, as well as
developed a handout of the basic technological toolbox, with strategies for
using service providers, partnering with universities and businesses, and
looking at international fundraising as a means to acquire resources.
This session dealt with a wide variety of technology solutions, and with
such issues as Digital Divide funding, in-kind gifts, and low-cost ways to
establish a net presence.
(Executive Director, Christian Disaster Response International) coordinated the
workshop NGOs and Disaster Involvement. The
number and severity of natural and human caused disasters are increasing each
year, with a mounting cost in lives and resources. By equipping organizations
with preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation information and
instruction, the cost of disasters can be greatly reduced. Since NGOs are often
called upon to assist disaster victims it is vital that they have the necessary
tools to be effective when disasters occur in their geographical area.
Patterson’s experience in international disaster response and recovery spans
three decades and four continents. He has conducted Disaster Preparedness and
Response Seminars in nine countries, and directed over 46 major domestic and 15
international response and recovery efforts. Through this session, Dr. Patterson
provided information on the physiology of disasters, followed by an overview of
how NGOs can become involved in one or more aspects of the disaster cycle.
Regardless of the so-called status of a country – first, second or third world
– this program is applicable. Included was a discussion of natural and
man-made disasters, the disaster cycle, resources (local, national, and
international), training opportunities; and steps for practical application.
Richard A. Zeif
(Chair, UN/NGO Task Forces, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs)
offered an instructive workshop on NGOs Partnering Together and With Other
Elements of Society. Under
the leadership of the Non-Governmental Organization Section of the United
Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “Strategic Task Forces,”
each having their own goals and activities linked to the Millennium Development
Goals, are being formed. The Task Forces (i.e., Poverty Reduction, Education,
Health, Gender Equality, etc.) are composed of representatives from all the NGO
communities, United Nations, Government, and Civil Society. Through this
workshop, Mr. Zeif provided information on how NGO leaders can learn to make
their voices more powerful and their activities more effective: By joining with
others of like interest and spirit in supporting goals and activities, which
have been fully accepted and agreed upon through the United Nations, by the
governments of the world.
(General Secretary, Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum) provided detailed
information on the Accreditation Process
for NGOs with ECOSOC and DPI of the United Nations.
This session examined the various ways in which NGOs partner with the United
Nations, with emphasis on the accreditation process for attaining consultative
status with the Economic and Social Council and establishing an association with
the U.N. Department of Public Information.
Interactive Sessions on government-NGO cooperation have proven to be an integral
part of WANGO annual conferences. These
off-the-record roundtable discussions bring governmental representatives and
NGOs together to discuss how they can best work together to tackle humanity’s
problems. Whether the issue is human rights, environmental affairs, families,
conflict resolution, poverty, or HIV/AIDS, greater cooperation between these two
arenas can advance solutions toward many difficult issues with which each
nation’s citizens are faced.
five interactive sessions held during WANGO Annual Conference 2004 focused on practical
avenues to increase cooperation between governments and competent NGOs that have
substantial capabilities in their areas of focus and with which cooperation
would be appropriate and mutually beneficial. They explored how governments can
integrate NGO experience, knowledge and expertise into their operations to
increase effectiveness in dealing with issues and priorities in their agendas.
They looked at what mechanisms are
in place for government-NGO cooperation and how to strengthen the process for
government-NGO consultation and dialogue. They also examined how governments can
develop a new compact with their civil society organizations to treat them as
allies, rather than as adversaries, and thus using their strengths to benefit
the citizens and deliver services.
were five interactive sessions. The interactive session on Conflict
Resolution, Peace and Security, featured an introductory presentation by Dr.
Elsadig B. E. Abdalla, Press and Cultural Counselor at the Sudan Embassy in
London. In this role, he supervises all
media functions at the Embassy in London, and is also media and information
advisor to the Sudan embassies in Europe and North America. Previously, Dr.
Abdalla has served as Press Advisor to the President of the Sudan, and the
Director of the President’s Office for Media and Information, and as
Information Director for the Prime Minister’s Office in Sudan. This
off-the-record session was moderated by Dr. Nicholas N. Kittrie, Chairman
of the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute for Justice and Peace.
The interactive session on Human Rights, moderated by Dr. Kashinath Pandiata of the Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum, featured an introductory presentation by Dr. Muhammad Habib Chirzin, Commissioner of the National Commission on Human Rights of Indonesia. The session on Families, Women and Youth, moderated by Dr. Gordon Anderson, Secretary General of the Professors World Peace Academy, began with presentations by Dr. Teodoro Ulsino Reyes, a Congressman from the Dominican Republic, and Ms. Sylwia Spurek of the Polish Government’s Office on Gender Equality. Mr. Vincent W. S. Yang, Assistant Director General for the NGO Affairs Committee of the Republic of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provided insights for the session on Development Issues, which was moderated by Charles Abbey, Executive Director of the African Development Program. The fifth interactive session was on Environmental Affairs, and was moderated by Mr. Karl W. Oppermann, President of the environmental NGO, ANDECO.
WANGO Awards, presented annually, are one of the more prestigious awards for the
NGO community. WANGO’s Awards
honors non-governmental organizations from throughout the world that demonstrate
extraordinary effort, innovation, leadership, and excellence in providing
service to humanity. WANGO not only recognizes prominent international NGOs, but
also the smaller, lesser-known NGOs in the least developed countries, whose
exemplary service and success may have gone unnoticed and unappreciated on the
addition to recognition of NGOs, WANGO also honors outstanding individuals whose
work involves them with the non-governmental community. The Universal Peace
Award is WANGO’s highest award to individuals, and is presented annually to an
individual who contributes substantially to world peace and global well-being.
The 2002 Universal Peace Award was presented to Prof. Dr. Federico Mayer
Zaragoza, former Director General of UNESCO, and H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri
Sirindhorn of Thailand received the 2004 Universal Peace Award.
the 2003 WANGO Environment Award
was presented to the Green Belt Movement
(GBM), and received by Dr. Wangari Maathai, who became the
2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
2004 WANGO Awards Banquet was held on the evening of October 23, and was one of
the highlights of the conference.
The 2004 Civil Society Development Award was presented to Star Kampuchea, a Cambodian NGO that is leading the effort to strengthen civil society in that nascent democracy. Through its numerous programs, including the development of an NGO Code of Ethics, Star Kampuchea has been at the forefront of improving the coordination, effectiveness, and credibility of NGOs, and tackling issues of critical importance to the civil society sector and the people of Cambodia. The award was received by Nhek Sarin, Star Kampuchea’s Executive Director.
The 2004 Family & Peace Award was presented to United Families International, one of the world’s leading, non-governmental organizations devoted to maintaining and strengthening the family as the fundamental unit of society. This non-denominational, public charity has been conducting a very active agenda of programs oriented toward strengthening the family and overcoming the obstacles to the integrity of this irreplaceable institution. The award was received by Dr. Thomas L. Christensen, a founder of UFI, who was joined on the platform by his daughter, Jennifer.
2004 Environment Award was presented to Buccoo Reef Trust, a
Caribbean non-profit organization, which is tackling the serious
challenges facing our marine environments in that region, with particular
emphasis on the threats facing Tobago’s coral reefs. Coral reefs are among the
most diverse, productive and biologically significant communities on earth. The
coral reefs surrounding Tobago are economic and ecological treasures, and the
10,000 year-old Buccoo Reef, for which the trust is named, is the largest coral
reef in Tobago. The Buccoo Reef Trust, which is registered in Trinidad and
Tobago, is addressing the threats facing Tobago’s coral reefs and exploring
opportunities for the sustainable development of marine tourism, fishing and
aquaculture in the Caribbean region as a whole. The Buccoo Reef Trust is
particularly active in the restoration of its namesake, the Buccoo Reef. This award was received by Honorable Gerald George
MacFarlane and Ms. Kaye Trotman, Directors.
The 2004 Peace, Security and Reconciliation Award was presented to PeaceWorks Foundation. Through its innovative OneVoice initiative, PeaceWorks Foundation has been tackling one of the most pressing and intractable issues of our day – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. PeaceWorks Foundation seeded One Voice with the cooperation and leadership of over 200 Palestinian, Israeli and international experts and community leaders, and it now has three offices in the Middle East: an Israeli office, a Palestinian office, and a regional coordination office. What is unique about OneVoice is the development of a concrete platform and methodology designed to empower the moderate majority of Palestinians and Israelis to come up with a viable and acceptable mandate for co-existence, and achieve consensus for conflict resolution at the grassroots level. The award was received by the Founder of PeaceWorks Foundation, Daniel Lubetzky, and by One Voice’s Mideast Regional Director, Mohammad Darawshe.
Sessions and Events
Frederick A. Swarts
coordinated a roundtable on the theme of Toward an NGO Certification Process, which dealt with the issues of NGO
codes of conduct and NGO certification and rating programs. This
session featured a presentation by Cyril Muller, Vice President for
Products and Strategy for Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS).
Founded in 1878, SGS is the global leader in inspection, testing and
certification services, and now has 37,000 employees and operates a network of
almost 840 offices and subsidiaries and over 320 laboratories around the world.
Mr. Muller elaborated on SGS’s new NGO Benchmarking product to provide an
independent assessment of an NGO’s performance.
Saturday Afternoon Panel Sessions offered NGO leaders an opportunity to make
presentations on their own organizations and the activities that they are engaged in, or on
any topic of particular interest. Presentations were made on such topics as The Role
of NGOs in the Development of World Culture, NGOs Building a European
Citizenship, Europe Against Drugs (EURAD), Combating Youth Unemployment, and
Education Can Kindle an Attitudinal Change Regarding Women’s Rights in India.
These presentations were offered in concurrent sessions divided according to the
themes of Culture of Peace (chaired by Mr. Mohammed Attah,
Executive Director of NGO Guide 2000), Human Dignity (chaired by Ms. Marian
Barnes, Executive Director of ANDECO), and Children and Youth (chaired by Ms.
Sheri Reuter, Vice President of Women’s Federation for World Peace, USA).
field trips offered an opportunity for the NGO leaders to visit local historical
and cultural sites, such as Castle Hill and Castle Quarter area on
the Buda side of the city, and the Plaza of Heroes and St. Stephens
Cathedral on the Pest side of the city.
Among the sites seen in the Castle Hill section were Matthias Church (a
700-year old structure, now in neo-Gothic style, where royalty was crowned), Fishermen’s
Bastion (a neo-Reomanesque style structure on the foundations of the
medieval castle walls with a superb viewpoint of the city including the
Parliament on the other side of the Danube), and the former Royal Palace
and its attendance buildings (which now include the Hungarian National Gallery,
Castle Museum and Museum of Military History, as well as Sandor Palace, once the
resident of the Prime Minister and now the office of the President).
six regional meetings proved a useful time for delegates to network and discuss
issues of common concern with other attendees from their geographic area. These
regional meetings were held for delegates from Europe, Asia & Oceania, the
Middle East (Western Asia and Northern Africa Regions), Africa, Latin America,
and Northern America and English-speaking Caribbean.
General Assembly, the business meeting of the Association, was held on the final
day of the conference. The meeting was coordinated by Michael Marshall,
Editor-in-Chief of UPI and a WANGO board member. The WANGO members
in attendance, which included both voting and non-voting representatives, were
presented with the agenda for the meeting, a list of recommended revisions in
the Bylaws, the draft WANGO Code of Ethics and Conduct for NGOs, and a
pie-chart diagram on the distribution of expenditures for 2003, the last
full-year of financial data.
Hamad, Secretary General of WANGO, provided an overview on the activities of
WANGO since the last annual meeting, which had been held in Bangkok, Thailand in
2003. Among the activities traced
by Mr. Hamad were the presentation of the Universal Peace Award 2003 to Her
Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, his visits to 12
countries and the World Economic Forum in Jordan on behalf of WANGO, the Latin
America and Caribbean Regional Conference held in Montevideo, Uruguay, and WANGO
activities in Guatemala, among other topics. Department and Project Reports were
given by Anne Smart (Membership Report), Jean Rondon (Publications Report),
Frederick Swarts (Code of Ethics Initiative), Robin Graham (Play Soccer, Make
Peace! Project), and Kevin Pickard (Video Project).
International Council elections also took place at the General Assembly. Two
current board members, Dr. Kathy Winings and Dr. Nicholas Kittrie, were
re-elected to a new three-year term, and three new board members were elected:
Dr. Wajeeha Al-Baharna, President of the Bahrain Women’s Society
(Bahrain); Cesar Regalado, Director General of Tiempos Del Mundo, Dominican
Republic, and Marian Barnes, President of Andeco (Spain).
voting members of the Association also approved three revisions in the Bylaws,
one of which was designed to improve WANGO’s mission statement and two of
which were designed to allow national chapters greater flexibility as well as
clarify the relationship between national chapters and the international
next item on the agenda was recognition of the new national representatives,
which had been approved by the International
Council during their annual meeting on Thursday, October 21, 2004. These newly
authorized national representatives included Marian Barnes (Spain), Dr.
Kashinath Pandita (India), Nhek Sarin (Cambodia), Mr. Syed Shahnawaz Najmi
(Pakistan), and Mr. Evans Lombe (Zambia).
Four new chapters also were recognized, having been approved by the International Council during their annual meeting on October 21. These four new chapters were established by members in the nations of the Dominican Republic, Hungary, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka. Representatives of the first three of these chapters were brought to the stage and received official certificates recognizing their chapters. The representative from Sri Lanka was absent, due to a VISA problem.
the conference, attendees were also treated to a number of other addresses,
including by Dr. Kathy Winings (Vice President of the Board,International Relief
Friendship Foundation), Denes Bank (Vice President, Children and Youth
Parliament), Taj Hamad (WANGO Secretary General), Juan Larancuent (Executive
Director, Bloque of NGOs), Misook Kim (WANGO Asia and Oceania Regional
Coordinator), and others.
Gordon Anderson, Secretary General of the Professors World Peace Academy,
presented the Rapporteur’s Report at the Closing Banquet, and Mr. Zia Rizvi
(Director General, Independent Bureau for Humanitarian Affairs) offered several
Resolutions for consideration by the distinguished attendees.