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History of Global Meetings. Since the first International Workshop of Women Leaders in Amsterdam in 1980, WWB global meetings have been milestones in the evolution of the WWB network. Held approximately every two years, these meetings bring together WWB’s network member microfinance institutions, Board of Trustees, funders and other key players in the sector to share best practices and advance knowledge about innovations in the sector.
Over the three decades, the WWB global meetings have become a seminal industry event, featuring the extraordinary leadership in the WWB network, and increasing knowledge in the sector by sharing experiences, milestones, and challenges.
“The goals of the United Nations Women’s Decade are peace, development and equality. In my mind, none of these will be possible without money. Women must have a solid economic foundation … we are here to think of ways of getting economic power into the hands of women throughout the world.”Dr. Esther Ocloo, Chairperson of the WWB Board of Trustees
Opening remarks, Oosterbeek, 1984
The WWB global meetings have always concentrated on reshaping development models to better serve low-income women, but our specific objectives have evolved to reflect the changing needs of the microfinance sector. In their early years, global meetings aimed to bolster the commitment and motivation of women leaders around the world as they worked to establish a network of institutions serving women entrepreneurs.
The most recent global meeting, which took place in New York City on April 27-28, 2009, had as its theme, Focusing on Women—A Winning Strategy in Bad Times and Good. Given the sector’s concern about the effect of the global economic crisis on microfinance institutions and clients, the 14th WWB Global Meeting highlighted and disseminated best practices in achieving the double bottom line of sustainability and impact while remaining focused on women.
“One generation has passed. I have been fortunate to witness the significant role of leadership played by WWB over the years. I particularly see the changing profile of WWB’s global meetings through our [members]. I see more sophistication, more men, and the younger lot of bankers.”Ela Bhatt, Honorary Trustee of WWB and Chair 1988-1998
Opening remarks, 14th WWB Global Meeting, New York City, 2009