Conferences

I often learn and sharpen my skills by reading blog posts, listing to podcasts, watching youtube video’s and attending webinars. The positive side of the online/social media world is that you can easily gather knowledge from the web. However, live face-to-face settings with others (such as conferences, workshops and expert meetings) provide – to my mind – a unique learning opportunity. By presenting my own work, by attending other presentations and participating in meetings, I learn and improve my own skills and knowledge about my field of expertise.

Apart from the educational opportunities, conferences provide a great opportunity for networking. I enjoy drinking coffee, mix and mingle, chat before or after the panel and get to know other experts from all over the world – who later become amazing friends. Although I feel that I am sometimes “too busy” to take a (few) day(s) off to attend a conference, I still go as much as possible, because I know that taking a break will sharpen my skills. Indeed, I always return home from a conference with new ideas and approaches that make me more effective and efficient. After all, sharing knowledge is key.

Conference on Youth Engagement to End FGM in Brussels

The 11th of October 2018, at the International Day of the Girl Child, a lunchtime conference was organized in Brussels entitled ‘Youth Engagement to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)’. The European Week of Action for Girls The European Week of Action of Girls (EWAG) is a week-long programme of events and...

Wereldwijven Symposium in Amsterdam

The 5th of October 2018, I attended the ‘Wereldwijven’ symposium in Amsterdam. ‘Wereldwijven’ is a Dutch word and means loosely translated “World Wife’ or ‘Wife of the World’. The Wereldwijven is a network of Dutch-speaking women who live or have lived in different parts of the world. Five women,...

Key-note speech at side-event International Aids Conference

The 25th of July 2018, I delivered a key-note speech during a side-event of the 22nd International AIDS Conference. The theme of AIDS 2018 was “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges” drawing attention to the need of rights-based approaches to more effectively reach key populations, including in Eastern Europe and Central...

Meetings at the UN in Geneva

The last week of June 2018, I was in Geneva for several UN meetings. First of all, a side-event at the 38th session of the Human Rights Council entitled ‘Legal Frameworks to end Female Genital Mutilation: closing the implementation gab’ was organized in Palais des Nations. As the invitation below...

Conference Society for International Development in Jerusalem

The 23rd of January 2018, the Society for International Development (SID) organized the Annual International Development Conference at the Knesset (Parliament) of Israel. SID Israel is an umbrella organization of over 100 Israeli organizations, companies, and academic programs engaged in international aid and development; the Milken Innovation Center at...

Expert Meeting on FGM/C in Kenya

In November 2017, I was a couple of days in Nairobi for an expert meeting on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). I was invited by Gerry Mackie, who is a well-known associate professor of political science at the University of California (UCSD) in the United States. He specializes in the study...

Launch of GR 35 of the CEDAW Committee in Geneva

From the 14th of November until the 17th of November 2017, I was in Geneva for the launch of General Recommendation No. 35 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee). In July 2017, the CEDAW Committee adopted GR No. 35 on gender-based violence against...

2nd Academic Seminar MAP-FGM in Brussels

The 8th and 9th of June 2017, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and RHEA organized the 2nd Academic Seminar of MAP-FGM at Hotel Bloom in Brussels entitled Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) at the intersection of qualitative, quantitative and mixed method research – Experiences from Africa and Europe. A link to the...

Presentation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague

The 1st of March 2017, I was invited to give a presentation about Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Africa at our Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. Several civil servants with different backgrounds, working for different departments (including the Task Force Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, Health and AIDS...

Conference about gender-related vulnerabilities & asylum in Brussels

The 8th of November 2016, the End FGM European Network organized a conference at the Hotel NH Collection Grand Sablon in Brussels entitled Gender-related Vulnerabilities in the EU asylum procedures: Spotlight on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). A link to the programme can be found here. The conference focused on issues such as on vulnerability,...

Capacity building seminar in Brussels

The 1st and 2nd of June 2016, the End FGM European Network organized a capacity building seminar on FGM/C and asylum in Brussels. The End FGM European Network The End FGM European Network is a European umbrella organisation of 15 national NGOs working to ensure sustainable European action to end the...

Seminar African Studies Centre Leiden

Thursday the 24th of March 2016, a seminar was organized by the African Studies Centre (ASC) in Leiden. The title of the seminar was “Empty Promises? Compliance with the human rights framework in relation to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Senegal.” The seminar was held at the Pieter de la Court building...

Celebration International Women’s Day

Sunday the 13th of March 2016, I was invited by the Vital Aid Foundation to be the ‘guest of honor’ during the Celebration of International Women’s Day in The Hague. It was with great pleasure that I traveled on a Sunday afternoon to The Hague for this celebration. The...

Free from Fear, Free from Pain: Symposium in Brussels

On 20 January 2015, a symposium about Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Europe was held in Brussels. The symposium was organized by Public Policy Exchange and proved to be a unique opportunity to gain an understanding of the current EU legal framework in relation to FGM/C. The symposium also...

Annemarie had the difficult task of summarizing and rounding up the conference at the end of the day. She did this succinctly, with energy and clarity and was really able to highlight our key recommendations and demands.
Natalie Kontoulis
Advocacy and Communications Officer End FGM European Network