Welcome to the Afro European Sisters Network (AESN).
The Afro European Sisters Network (AESN) is a network for black women in and outside of Europe. With the mission to create more visibility on the internet for black women in general.
The third Europe-wide meeting of the Black European Women’s Council – BEWC took place in Soesterberg/Utrecht, The Netherlands, from 9th-11th of April 2009.
This meeting brought together 31 member organisations of the BEWC from 12 EU Member States. The opening session of the meeting focused on a Capacity Building Conference for BEWC Member Organisations coming from Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The conference started with the development of the BEWC Mission Statement.
“BEWC was defined as a vehicle for the recognition and the visibility of Black Women in Europe, through which they can reach their optimum potential.”
During BEWC General Assembly, participants jointly developed a BEWC strategic plan consisting of a BEWC “elevator pitch” (a focused message concise enough to get across in the length of an elevator ride); funding proposals for a BEWC implementation programme; specific commitments of the working groups; a schedule for the adoption of proposals, resolutions and the election of the Management Board.
On the second day of the BEWC General Assembly, participants and delegates elected the Management Board of BEWC, their alternates. 9 EU Member States are represented on the Management Board of the BEWC.
The first Management Board meeting that followed the elections appointed the Executive team as follows: President: Beatrice Achaleke (Austria), Vice President: Yvette Jarvis (Greece), Treasurer: Hellen Felter (The Netherlands) Secretary: Sandrine Joseph (France).
In her first speech as the newly-elected president, Beatrice Achaleke, reminded BEWC members of the distance the organization had come since the first Black European Women’s Congress in Vienna in 2007, organized in the framework of the EU Year of Equal Opportunities for All. In 2008 during the EU Year Intercultural Dialog, the strategic meeting of the BEWC was also hosted in Vienna, focusing on developing goals and establishing a constitution. That same year, the group officially launched the BEWC in Brussels in cooperation with the European Economic and Social Committee.
“Today,” Achaleke said, “we have shown our determination and capacity to stand up for the rights of, the recognition and full inclusion of Black Women in their diversity in European debates. The journey within the European Union framework and/or European Commission institutions is still very long, but I am more than convinced, we are ready for the challenge.”
The General Assembly came to a close with a priority plan of action focusing on institutionalising the BEWC in Brussels and defining areas of work for the next few years.
The priorities include: • Setting up its headquarters equipped with the needed staff in Brussels. • Capacity building, • Female empowerment, • Youth leadership/empowerment strategies, • Women’s health issues, • Annual reports and data on the situation of Black Women and Communities in Europe.
The BEWC intends to achieve these priorities within existing EU and national legal frameworks and programs combined with effective networking, lobbying and partnership with EU institutions and other European and international networks.
The BEWC General Assembly furthermore passed a Resolution with regards to the ongoing European Women’s Lobby’s 50/50 campaign, urging the campaign to take into consideration the diversity of Europe, with particular reference on visible minorities.
Also inline with the Vienna Declaration of Black European Women, a letter of support was drafted to the main opposition political party Fine Gael in Ireland. The BEWC letter of support is in favour of Ms. Benedicta Attoh’s candidate to the upcoming municipal elections in Ireland.
The Black European Women’s Council, BEWC, is a European-wide Umbrella Organisation of Black European Women. Initiated by AFRA and co-organised by TIYE International, the 1st Black European Women’s Congress took in the Framework of the European Year of Equal Opportunities 2007.
The founding partners are: AFRA - International Center for Black Women’s Perspectives in Austria TIYE International, the platform umbrella NGO of National organisations of Black, Migrant and Refugee Women in The Netherlands.
For additional information on the BEWC contact:
Ms. Beatrice Achaleke BEWC President elect
CONTACT: Beatrice Achaleke, President elect of the Black European Women’s Council (BEWC)