„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


15th July 2021

YMCA Europe’s first Women In Leadership Conference gathered more than 40 participants from 35 different countries in Europe and globally.


In fact colleagues joined us from the US, Latin America, Africa and Asia, following a diverse and inspiring programme that included speakers, panel discussions and examples of women’s empowerment within the YMCA and different social contexts.


The event was hosted by YMCA Europe’s President Emma Osmundsen who highlighted some figures about female leadership in Europe and around the world.

Patricia Pelton, President of World YMCA focused on the increasing role of women at all levels within the movement although there is still a long journey ahead of us in terms of balance between men and women.


The European President of the YWCA Jill Bedford welcomed the growing cooperation between both organisations and presented a project based on “women’s leadership in NGO’s and communities” led by the YWCA. In her message to the particitants,

Purificacion Angue Ondo a diplomat and activist for women’s rights from Ecuatorial Guinea, shared her own example as a leader in her country and internationally.


A panel facilitated by Mathilde Thue and joined by Kerry Reilly (NGS YMCA Scotland), Vladi Vidlakova (President YMCA Czech Republic) and Dorina Lluka Davies (Secretary General YMCA Kosovo), focused on the status of female leadership on their own social and cultural contexts with some examples of their own journeys at the YMCA in their countries.


Lika Zakaryan from Karabakh shared about the reality that she faces as a young leader in her context in the Caucasus and her growth within the space that the YMCA has provided her.

Also inspiring messages were received from Nirina Rakotomalala, Secretary General of the African Alliance of YMCAs and Silja Markkula, President of the European Youth Forum thanking YMCA Europe for this initiative and encouraging our movement o continue this journey.

In her closing remarks President Emma Osmundsen thanked all participants, speakers and organisers, highlighting that YMCA Europe will continue providing spaces and dialogue on socially relevant issues as part of the newly adopted Strategy 2021-2026.


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