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WILPF Announces Appointment of New International Board Members

Now that the WILPF International Congress 2022 has come to an end, we are pleased to announce the new members of our International Board.

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
24 July 2022

Geneva, Switzerland (24 July 2022) – The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – the world’s longest-standing feminist peace organisation – is thrilled to announce its next International Board. The organisation is also announcing the appointment of Sylvie Ndongmo of WILPF Cameroon as its new International President. 

The new members include: 

  • Sylvie Ndongmo of WILPF Cameroon as International President
  • Jamila Afghani of WILPF Afghanistan as Vice President
  • Melissa Torres of WILPF US as Vice President
  • Janette McLeod of WILPF Australia as International Treasurer 

Regional representatives:

  • Annie Matundu Mbambi (WILPF DRC) as Regional Representative for Africa
  • Edwick Madzimure (WILPF Zimbabwe) as Alternate Regional Representative for Africa
  • Janet Slagter (WILPF US) as Regional Representative for Americas
  • Beatriz Schulthess (WILPF Costa Rica) as Alternate Regional Representative for Americas
  • Ludmilla Kwitko (WILPF Australia) as Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific
  • Celine Kearney (WILPF Aotearoa) as Alternate Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific
  • Ariana Durani (WILPF Sweden) as Regional Representative for Europe
  • Rosa Logar (WILPF Austria) as Alternate Regional Representative for Europe
  • Hanan Awwad (WILPF Palestine) as Regional Representative for MENA
  • Diala Chehade (WILPF Lebanon) as Alternate Regional Representative for MENA
  • Pushpa Motiyani (WILPF India) as Alternate Regional Representative for South Asia

Sylvie Ndongmo, whose three-year term as International President commences as of 24 July 2022, has served on the International Board between 2018 and 2022 as Regional Representative of Africa. She has been a member of WILPF since 2012 and set up WILPF Cameroon in 2014. She is taking over the position from outgoing president Joy Onyesoh, who served in the role for the past four years. 

“The WILPF you want to see will be made through all of us, without any exclusion. I wish to reiterate that “United we stand, divided we fall.” Together, and only together, we are going further,”

stated Ndongmo in her speech to the Congress after the election. 

“The current context is full of challenges, I hope to reiterate with great force and great determination, and with deep fundamental conviction, that women have a primary place in the restoration of peace, justice, and equality throughout the world.”

The appointments were approved at WILPF’s 33rd International Congress, which took place from 16 to 24 July. Meeting every three years, Congress is the highest decision-making body of WILPF. 

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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani

VICE-PRESIDENT

Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo

PRESIDENT

Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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Demilitarisation

WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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