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President’s Message January 2022

Dear Members,

Welcome to 2022!

I hope you have all stayed safe and well over the festive season, and enjoyed it, in whatever way you chose to celebrate it.

As we enter the new year, the spectre of the pandemic still hangs over us, but I am confident that, as Soroptimists, you will rise to the challenges presented, as you have done so magnificently throughout last two years.

Last year, I was reminded of the words spoken over 80 years ago by a British Soroptimist and considered how relevant they are still today – ‘As a band of women whose aim is the furthering of international understanding, we must stick together and keep in active working order our Soroptimist organisation, the value of which is greater than ever before’.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in his New Year’s message, has declared that as the world welcomes 2022, our hopes for the future are being tested.

‘By deepening poverty and worsening inequality; By an unequal distribution of COVID vaccines; By climate commitments that fall short; By ongoing conflicts, division and misinformation’.

‘These are not just policy tests – they are moral and real-life tests – and they are tests that humanity can pass – if we commit to making 2022 a year of recovery for everyone’.

  • Recovery from the pandemic – with a bold plan to vaccinate every person, everywhere.
  • Recovery for our economies – with wealthier countries supporting the developing world with financing, investment and debt relief.
  • Recovery from mistrust and division – with a new emphasis on science, facts and reason.
  • Recovery from conflicts – with a renewed spirit of dialogue, compromise and reconciliation.
  • Recovery for our planet – with climate commitments that match the scale and urgency of the crisis.

The United Nations marked its 75th Anniversary last year with a global survey, asking ‘What sort of World do we Want’? What are our hopes for the Future’?

In response, millions of people everywhere called for better access to healthcare, education, safe water and sanitation. They demanded greater international solidarity and support for those in need; together with improved global co-operation to find multilateral solutions to today’s global challenges. They expressed their strong support for a reinvigorated United Nations as a platform for that co-operation.

As a Soroptimist, I am sure this must all be sounding remarkably familiar to you, but it gives renewed purpose as we strive to further implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with 2030 no longer seeming that far away.

Secretary General Antonio Guterres concludes his message with the thought:

Moments of great difficulty are also moments of great opportunity. To come together in solidarity; to unite behind solutions that can benefit all people.

Over the coming year, I am looking forward very much to working with you all, as we address the challenges and mark 2022 as a year of recovery for everyone.

Happy New Year,

In friendship

Cathy Cottridge
SIGBI President