The preparations for the organization of the conference started a year ago, during the last, two months of 2016. The organization Committee was made up of Ayfer Çarkoğlu, IIW Past Board Director 2009/2012, İclal Kardıçalı IIW District Chairman, D.244, Nergis Usul IIW District and Conference Secretary, Nadya Kaya IIW District and Conference Treasurer and Luisa Vinciguerra, IIW Past Board Director 2013/2015, as the Education Leader.
The most encouraging and wonderful news came from dear-then incoming International Inner Wheel President-, Dr. Kapila Gupta who answered very promptly the invitation by National Representative for Turkey IW Gülgün DOLUNAY; confirming her participation. They were very honored and encouraged.
Endless meetings, get-togethers, brain-storming sessions, discussions, planning sessions, consultations with academicians and with IW Luisa Vinciguerra, their education Leader and Madam President, Dr. Kapila Gupta were on the agenda at all times.
The theme chosen was “The Role of IW Women in Contributing to the Life Improvement of Displaced Women and Children; a theme in common for all IW Women that reflects a difficult reality which is shared and very much alive everywhere in our world of today.
The content of the program was divided into four sessions. After the welcoming speeches, the second session was the presentation of the historical welcome of the immigrants to Izmir, a city that has always opened her arms to displaced people with care and tolerance.
In the third session, good examples of wonderful projects by different IW Clubs and other NGO’s in Turkey and abroad were presented. In the fourth session, “Street Children” and “Healing Wounds of Displaced Children with Music” topics were discussed with a Grand Finale by the Children’s Peace Orchestra, made up of displaced children with Gypsy, Kurdish and Syrian origins. The last session asked to look for a “Better Future”, covering topics like “Women’s Place in Decision Making”, “In-class Situations and Teaching Displaced Students at Elementary Schools” and “The Role of IW Women in Promoting European Policies”.
Friendships were promoted by a “fish dinner” at the corniche “kordon” of Izmir, a gala dinner with music with classical and local colors, a half-day sight-seeing tour of Izmir and a visit to the internationally renowned Unesco World Heritage, the Antique City of Ephesus and to Virgin Mary’s House.
A bouquet of Schubert Serenade performed by Jennifer Duchateau (violin) and Iclal Kardıçalı (piano); songs common to both cultures from both sides of the Aegean Sea sung in Turkish and Greek by IW members from Ataşehir IW Club, Efes IW Club, Ege IW Club and from the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus’ Girne and Lefkoşe Clubs, conducted by Berrak Taranç; Children’s Peace Orchestra and a traditional folk dance “Zeybek” from the Izmir region danced by IW members from D.244 added artistic and entertaining touches to the conference program. In the foyer of the conference hall, an exhibition by IW artists from D.244 and a” kermesse” were organized.
Inner Wheel friends from 11 countries responded to their invitation. Their national flags, district and club banners were posted. The conference opened with Turkish and Indian National Anthems, with national flags hung following the Corps Consular Ritual. The conference had 142 registered guests with families, 106 Inner Wheel Members from D.244 Izmir, D.242 Istanbul, and representations from Girne and Lefkoşe Inner Wheel Clubs and 30 Inner Wheel Club Members from Europe, Jordan and of course from India. In the conference hall where 190 chairs. All chairs were observed to be full during the total of the conference. Rotarians, representatives of other NGO’s, state school teachers, representatives of universities and municipalities - also attended the conference. They had professional conference translators for the total of the conference. Most presentations were made in Turkish, and seven presentations were made in English. All presentations were simultaneously translated. The timing of the presentations was followed as meticulously as possible. The event was covered by printed media, online media and social media. The positive repercussions are still active.
The innovation in this conference was PBD Luisa Vinciguerra’s online presentation. When, due to a health problem, she could not come to Izmir, DC of D244 offered her to do the presentation online and got the technical infrastructure ready. It worked out perfectly.
The conference “Women for Europe 8 – Izmir” has been a platform for promoting friendship and understanding, sharing experiences and projects, learning from celebrated academicians and having fun; so Inner Wheel continues doing “good” for happier futures and LEAVE A LASTING LEGACY.