NEWS FROM GREYCELLS March 2010
In line with our commitment to try to keep the membership up-to-date on what is happening in the Association, we have prepared this short note to inform you of its activities as well as those of the Executive Committee (EC).
We can say now that the Association is fully in place and open for business. So it is substantive activities that have taken pride of place, after the phase where we spent most of our energy setting everything up.
Word is getting about that Greycells exists and is available to provide activities and advice pro bono. The following is a list of the activities that we have been working on or have concluded over recent months. You will undoubtedly notice that some of them have a long shelf life; they were already mentioned in the NL of June 2009:
- The provision of used computers for a girls’ school in India has been completed, the computers having arrived in India at the end of February. Our thanks go to UNHCR for their cooperation in furnishing the computers.
- The short course (two weeks) for diplomats from Central African Republic is ready. We are having some difficulty in identifying donors to help us cover the very modest budget ($42,000). If any member has some suggestions as to approaches we might try, please contact any member of the Committee.
- Our contact with the NGOs Earth Focus and Graines de Paix (Geneva) has materialised in our participation in a recent photo exhibit focusing on walls around the world and their social, economic, and political significance. Some of you may have passed by the exhibit, which took place on the Pont de la Machine in Geneva from November 2009 to January 2010. Members of Greycells, together with Graines de Paix, acted as guides and instructors for the visits to the exhibit, which involved 32 classes of altogether 662 students from the Geneva area. This is being followed up by a further seminar, which will take place in the CICG in May of this year.
- Our project with the Université Ouvrière de Genève (UOG) for a series of lectures on the international organizations has come to fruition, and the ILO, WHO and WTO have been presented in the first three months of this year. We are in discussion with the University to expand the cycle to other organisations, and in due course we will no doubt be calling on those of you from the selected organisations for your help.
- We have pursued our outreach efforts, especially with the body set up to help delegates and missions adapt to life in Geneva, the Geneva Welcome Centre (CAGI), and more generally with any institution which wants to connect with the international community. We helped CAGI with the translation into English of their revamped website, and have been asked to contribute in a similar way with local institutions such as the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
- We would like to remind you of the existence of our website (www.greycells.ch). This has been put on a sound footing, thanks to the efforts of our colleague Claude Mercier, who with the help of some readily available and user-friendly software, has been able to pursue the good start we made last year with the pro bono assistance of an IT professional.
Greycells has perhaps not yet reached the level of activities corresponding to our ambitions, but we have a steady stream of them, which we are hopeful will increase as we become more known. We continue to want to involve members more in the actual conduct of the activities, and have been considering ways in which we can communicate better for that purpose.
The EC has met 15 times since we last communicated with you. We are continuing to reflect on how to increase the membership, which stood at 43 at the end of 2009, and on how to ensure that existing members continue to be involved. You will recall that in order to be in a better position to do this, we circulated to all of you a form to fill in some more details about yourselves. So far, only 17 of you have returned the form (two more than 10 months ago), so here it is attached once more. It really would be helpful to us, and to our clients, to know a bit more about what each of us can bring to the table. An indication also of the countries you know very well, for example those in which you have worked, would be of great interest.
The notice concerning the dues for 2010 has just gone out, and we would encourage all of those who have not already done so to send in their contributions as soon as possible.
It goes without saying that if any of you wish to comment on any issue raised in this paper, or for that matter on any other issue concerning the Association, we would very much welcome that.
In the meantime, thank you for your continued support.
The Executive Committee
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