Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was interested to learn that the theme of this year’s conference is Accept the Challenge, Secure the Future and sends her best wishes to all concerned for a most successful and enjoyable event.
Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall sends her very best wishes for our 76th conference. She states “you have made a difference to many women over the world and I would like to thank you for your tireless commitment and for all that you have achieved for them”.
David Cameron, GB Prime Minister: “All too often women and girls are held back from fulfilling their ability. The Government is committed to breaking down barriers to help unlock women and girls’ potential so that they have the chance to rise as high as their talents and ambition allow them. The Soroptimist International is working hard towards a similar vision and I wish them every success in the valuable work that they undertake. I also wish them all the best for this conference.”
Ed Milliband, Leader of the GB Labour Party wished us well for the Conference.
Theresa May, GB Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities pointed out that women in 21st century Britain still face many obstacles to equality which isn’t just bad for women, it’s bad for business. Government can’t tackle workplace discrimination on its own it needs trailblazing successful women to organise, network and share their skill and experiences which is why the work of Soroptimist International is so important and why she wants to wish us all the best both for this conference and for the future.
Paddy Ashdown (Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon), former GB MP for Yeovil, sends special wishes to Jackie and said Yeovil is very proud to have one of its citizens as President of this important national event and sends good wishes for a great conference.
The High Commissioner for Jamaica said it was an honour to send a message from the Government and People of Jamaica. Today, in many professional fields in Jamaica, women are the majority membership. To the Soroptimist movement must go the credit for ensuring that gender equality is not a privilege but a right. He asks that we continue our good work as the human race will certainly benefit from the unleashing of talent which comes from the greater use of the talents of women.
The High Commissioner of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka says that the initiatives of our Federation to make a positive change for women in Society by promoting social justice, empowering them through economic independence and promoting their participation in decision making at all levels in countries around the world is commendable and he wishes the very best to each and every participant at the Conference, and success in all our endeavours in the future.
The High Commissioner for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago extended his best wishes and congratulations to Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland on behalf of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for a most successful conference on the occasion of its 76th annual conference. Celebrating 76 years of existence was a major milestone of which Soroptimist International must be very proud. He also extended a special welcome to all delegations including those from the Caribbean and especially from Trinidad and Tobago.
SIGBI’s patron, Barbara Stocking, Chief Executive of Oxfam, said it is with regret she is unable to be with us in person. Soroptimist International and Oxfam have both had the opportunity to learn that a constantly changing world continues to put challenges in the way of women and men enjoying the same rights and opportunities. Despite the considerable progress made in recent decades, gender inequality persisted and women continued to be the majority of those living in poverty. Soroptimists have found a million and one opportunities to make a difference in the advancement of human rights and the status of women and the 2nd part of the title of our conference – Secure the Future – is an exhortation to continue to do so. She is sure that our conference will offer ample opportunity to build on our distinguished record and she wishes success to all our members and guests.
Rick Foulsham, Chief Executive of Hope and Homes for Children is delightedwith the progress which has been achieved through Project SIerra – a Family and a Future thanks to the truly fantastic support of Soroptimist International. Our commitment to this project is transforming the health and life chances of thousands of deprived and impoverished women and children in one of the world’s poorest countries. Having the long-term commitment from Soroptimist International has given tremendous stability to the project which has enabled the raising of awareness about the plight of women, children and families. He sent his most sincere thanks for our support and sent his best wishes for a successful and inspirational conference.
Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid sends sincere thanks to all the members of SIGBI for wonderful support during our 75th anniversary year. They were delighted and proud to have been chosen as one of our preferred charities and to work alongside such passionate and dedicated women. She commends those across the world who are making change happen for their communities. She hopes to continue the partnership with us long into the future.
We have also received greetings and good wishes for a successful conference from Yvonne Simpson, President of Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific who is unfortunately unable to join us. She hopes it will achieve the strengthening of networks and the bonds of friendship and that it facilitates an increased understanding and commitment to our programme of service.
The High Commisoner of Sierra Leone, Mr H E Edward M Turay said “it is indeed a pleasure for me to send this message of felicitation and warm greetings to all of you in attendance. I wish you have a successful and rewarding Conference. Please allow me to pay special tribute to all those involved in the Soroptimist Clubs in Sierra Leone with the suipport of “Hope and Homes for Children”. I may not be with you physically, but I am with you in spirit and soul. May God direct your deliberations.”
Bill Turnbull sent an email after speaking at conference saying “It was a great pleasure to be with you all this morning in Manchester. What a lovely audience! I’m just sorry I was unable to spend a bit more time with you all, as everyone was so friendly. I hope the rest of the Conference has gone well.”
Lesley Abdela sent an email after speaking at conference “I very much enjoyed my visit to Manchester to the Soroptimists Conference – who couldn’t come away feeling re-energised from time spent with such an energetic group of women working to make a better world!”