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President’s Message May 2022

Dear Members

Here we are already in the month of May, and although summer does not officially start until June, for many 1 May marks the beginning, with May Day celebrations that have been carried out in England for over two thousand years.

In Roman times, May Day was celebrated with the festival of Flora, goddess of fruit and flowers, which marked the beginning of summer.

For Soroptimists, May is designated as ‘Membership Month’, with Membership Director Chevonne’s theme this year of ‘Mentorship’. The idea is to encourage members to engage in some form of structured mentorship, which can be internally, where clubs host a development day, giving members the opportunity to facilitate and share their knowledge in a particular area. Alternatively, clubs can pair their membership for the month, with each member of the pair having the opportunity to mentor the other in a specific area.

The idea is that the mentorship can focus on issues of the Soroptimist organisation or on skills in general. However, the real benefit is giving members an opportunity to interact more closely with each other and learn more about their skills and attributes; I look forward to receiving feedback on what is achieved.

3 May is UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day, which acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom; it is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.

29 May is the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. It is an international day to pay tribute to all men and women who have served and continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations, for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. This day is especially significant this year, given the situation in Ukraine.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has launched a report entitled ‘Global Impact of War in Ukraine on Food, Energy and Finance Systems’.

The report focuses on the global impact of the war in all its dimensions in a world that is already witnessing increased poverty, hunger and social unrest.

The war is supercharging a three-dimensional crisis – food, energy, and finance – that is pummelling some of the world’s most vulnerable people, countries, and economies. As many as 1.7 billion people – one third of whom are already living in poverty – are now highly exposed to disruption of these three systems – which will trigger increases in poverty and hunger.

This is not a crisis that can be solved piecemeal, country by country; this global and systemic emergency requires global and systemic solutions.

The UN Secretary General states – ‘We must speak with one voice: action today will prevent suffering tomorrow. Above all, this war must end; we need to silence the guns and accelerate negotiations towards peace, now, for the people of Ukraine and for the people of the world’.

In friendship

Cathy Cottridge
SIGBI President