Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hello from Hong Kong: 35th World Conference Young Women's Event

Currently, the World Assn. of Girl Guide and Girl Scouts' World Conference is under way! This year marks the 35th World Conference and it is being held in Hong Kong! The World Conference allows for all of the member organizations (AKA "MOs," basically all of the different countries that make up WAGGGS) to join together to vote on important decisions for the direction and goals of WAGGGS. World Conferences are held every 3 years and each MO is allowed to send 2 delegates to represent their vote (there are more than two people for every country here though-- you can send "observers" too who can attend conference session but cannot vote on behalf of their country). This year there are approximately 600 conference attendees from over 145 countries! The event is held from July 6-9.

Yesterday, WAGGGS hosted an opening event for young women attending the 35th World Conference-- the Young Women's Event. During the experience, young women ranging from 13 to 30 had the chance to get together on the day before the conference to work on leadership development and understand their role here at the conference. As a part of the experience, the young women and girls were given 4 destinations to get to in Hong Kong, as well as a meeting with a local female business leader/executive. UN Team member Kristen Grennan (age 24) was on team 6 and went to a Buddhist temple called Man Mo Temple (if you're in HK, I highly recommend stopping at this sight!). The team got very lost, but
was able to stumble on a delicious restaurant for lunch! In the end, the team didn't make it to more than 1 sight, but we were able to make it to our meeting with a business executive-- Amee Chande, who not only works for Tesco, but also has been involved in Girl Scouts on 5 continents and is now very engaged with WAGGGS, specifically the Dove "Free to Be Me" program. Amee spoke to the young women and girls about why, within Tesco, women make about 80% of cashiers but only 5% of executives and what can be done to change this. Young women (and a young man!) in the group shared about the struggles within their own communities.

Meeting with Amee
The Young Women's Event wrapped up with a panel of five women from around the globe who were engaged in the Girl Scouts and are now very respected in their chosen careers (all of which were very different). Afterwards, girls were given a 5 minute session on how to be more affirmative and assertive, skills needed to be leaders within your community as well as in a business setting. We finally concluded with a song "The Key" which was written by the team at Sangam, a WAGGGS World Center in India.

Be sure to follow the World Conference on Twitter at #35WoCo! If you're attending the event, be sure to share photos and quotes from the event using the hashtag!

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