NEWW International Steering Committee Meets in Cyberspace
Beginning in the summer of 1995, NEWW's International Steering Committee (ISC) has held five meetings on-line through the private conference, neww.isc. The ISC has held discussions on how to organize itself and taken its first actions as a decision-making body.
One of its first decisions was that ISC meetings would be open to "observers," just as democratic legislatures are open and visible to their citizens. Any NEWW member may receive the e-mail messages that make up an ISC meeting. If observers wish to state an opinion on an issue the ISC is considering, they contact the nearest ISC representative. Names, locations, and e-mail addresses of ISC members are listed below.
ISC meetings usually last about six weeks. ISC members read and revise the agenda, discuss the issues (among their local groups and then via e-mail with the ISC), and vote when appropriate. Discussion issues have ranged from the details of how many member will form a quorum and whether the ISC will vote by majority or try to reach consensus, to the complexities of who the ISC represents, what NEWW's priorities are, and how NEWW and the ISC will function and relate to each other. Some agenda items can be sttled in one meeting, while others require long-term, continuous conversation.
At the end of each meeting, the minutes are posted to women.east-west.
Meetings 2, 3, and 4 were moderated by Valentina Uspenskaya, Tver, Russia, and Sonia Jaffe Robbins, New York, U.S.A. Meeting 5 was moderated by Gosia Tarasiewicz in New York.
To give you a flavor of the ISC meetings, we present some excerpts below from meeting minutes.
Excerpts from ISC Meeting Minutes
From Meeting 2:
Two models for ISC functions were described: a centralizing model and a coordinating model. Gabi Jaenert & Doreen Westphal see the ISC as a decision-making board to which questions and issues are directed for discussion and vote. Asel Djumabaeva and Urszula Nowakowska see the ISC as coordinating the activities of NEWW members. Christina Kotchemidova specifically sees the ISC as non-hierarchical, with all members equal and able to govern the ISC on a rotating basis. (Moderator's comment: These models are not necessarily in conflict, but may be used for different purposes.)
Other functions of ISC were mentioned:
- deciding what projects NEWW will do (Victoria Vrana)
- exchanging information (Inna Zarina)
Victoria Vrana suggested that the NEWW newsletter be used by the ISC to communicate its activities to NEWW members.
Lepa Mladjenovic made the very important point that any form of governance should explicitly avoid ruining the health of those responsible, through fear of errors and mistakes.
From Meeting 4 (on the question of whether the ISC should actively develop projects or wait for proposals to be presented to the ISC):
Many ISC members think the ISC should combine the "passive" and "active" approaches. Urszula Nowakowska (East-East Legal Coalition) and Mariama Williams (New York, USA) say this approach relies on NEWW members' knowledge of local needs and conditions in addition to the ISC's unique regional and global view. Viola Cywicka (Cracow, Poland) and Regina Lopiene (Vilnius, Lithuania) emphasize that the ISC should consult and advise NEWW members in developing projects, whether the ISC is active or passive.
Olga Lipovskaya (St. Petersburg, Russia) says it is important to think about what happens after a project is approved: How will it be implemented? Mihaela Miroiu (Bucharest, Romania) thinks being active may be difficult for ISC members, because of the time and pressure of other activities. Both Julie Mertus (Human Rights Education project) and Melissa Stone (Self-Defense project) think this question discusses theory before knowing what the actual needs are. Melissa and Ildiko Szineg (Budapest, Hungary), suggest that ISC members do a "needs assessment" survey of what the groups they belong to are doing and what those groups think should be done concerning women's needs and women's issues.
BELGRADE, SERBIA: Lepa Mladjenovic & Jovana Vukovic, email@example.com
BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN: Asel Djumabaeva, firstname.lastname@example.org
BLAGOEVGRAD, BULGARIA: Christina Kotchemidova, email@example.com
BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA: Etela Farkasova, firstname.lastname@example.org
BUCHAREST, ROMANIA: Mihaela Miroiu, email@example.com
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY: Ildiko Szineg & Antonia Burrows, firstname.lastname@example.org
CRACOW, POLAND: Violeta Cywicka, ezciesla@cyf- kr.edu.pl
KHARKOV, UKRAINE: Alexandra Rudneva, email@example.com
NEW YORK, U.S.A.: Sonia Jaffe Robbins, firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC: Lenka Prusova, firstname.lastname@example.org
PRISHTINA, KOSOVA: Sevdie Ahmeti, sevdie.a@zana- pr.ztn.apc.org
RIGA, LATVIA: Inna Zarina, email@example.com
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA: Olga Lipovskaya, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOFIA, BULGARIA: Rossica Panova, email@example.com
TARTU, ESTONIA: Anu Laas, firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
TIRANA, ALBANIA: Delina Fico, firstname.lastname@example.org
TVER, RUSSIA: Valentina Uspenskaya, email@example.com
VILNIUS, LITHUANIA: Regina Lopiene, firstname.lastname@example.org
ZAGREB, CROATIA: Vivijana Radman, email@example.com
ZENICA, BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA: Selma Hadzihalilovic, firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWW EAST-EAST LEGAL COALITION: Urszula Nowakowska, email@example.com. pl
SELF-DEFENSE PROJECT: Melissa Stone, firstname.lastname@example.org
HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION: Julie Mertus, email@example.com
NEWW ON-LINE RUSSIA COORDINATOR: Galina Venediktova, firstname.lastname@example.org