About ICW
New About ICW
December 10, 2009

Dear ICW Members,

Reaching Out
You may have recently received a letter from the UK Board of Trustees telling you that ICW’s International Support Office (ISO) in London is closing down. We received this letter at the same time as you. We write as a united staff (London and internationally based), and members of ICW’s guiding body, the International Steering Committee (ISC) , democratically elected by the membership, to reassure you that ICW is revitalizing and working with, and as, women living with HIV and AIDS across the world.

The UK Board of Trustees and the London International Support Office are closing down. ICW, the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS is NOT closing down and will continue in existence.

The International Steering Committee, with the support of all ICW staff, has made a democratic decision to move the office to Buenos Aires in Argentina and is in the process of doing so. We are committed to re-establishing a revitalized, vibrant and well-run international network outside of the UK. Of course, this move will take time, new funding, and patience. We’re working on it!

ICW – We’re on the Move to Argentina
A process is now underway to move ICW’s from London to Buenos Aires. This decision was initially made at a special meeting in Argentina at the end of August, which was attended by staff and members of ISC. Together the ISC with the support of ICW’s London and international staff, voted to start the process of moving the ICW International Support Office from London to Buenos Aires, a region where ICW members are numerous and leadership is strong. This decision was prompted by financial and political problems in the organization. The UK Board attended the meeting in Buenos Aires but did not take part in the decisions made at the meeting.

In 2014, after five years in Argentina the office will move to another autonomous ICW region. In this way no one region will become the sole location of international responsibility. We remain the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS.

New Leadership – ICW Welcomes the New ISC Chair, Patricia Perez and Vice Chair Siphiwe Hlophe.
At the Buenos Aires meeting the ISC elected ICW founding member Patricia Perez (Argentina) and Siphiwe Hlophe (Swaziland) as the new Chair and Vice-Chair of the International Steering Committee. Patricia stepped down from her official position within ICW Latina and has fully committed herself to the international work as Chair of ISO. Many of you know Patricia already through her activism in Latin America as an HIV positive woman, her work connecting issues of HIV and AIDS and Global Peace, her years as an active member of ICW and its various elected bodies, her writing in ICW News and through meeting her at international conferences and meetings.

Change carries with it apprehension about the future but change and movement are also the life blood of our network of women living with HIV and AIDS. We are hopeful and excited about this move and believe it is necessary for ICW's survival and the consolidation and re-establishment of its multi-faceted role:
•involving and empowering isolated communities of HIV positive women across the world,
•aiding and linking the national and regional organisation of all of us,
•representing and advocating for women living with HIV and AIDS on the global level.

For a number of years ICW has stated that it wanted to move to the Global South. Now is the time to put this oft-stated aim into practice. The three remaining UK Board members have apparently decided not to engage in this process, concentrating only on the closure of the UK office and not taking an active role in facilitating the transition from London to Argentina. It is time to let go of the past and concentrate on ICW’s future.

ICW Welcomes Regional Autonomy
At the same time the Buenos Aires meeting made the timely and historic decision to put into practice another oft repeated aim: ICW welcomes regional autonomy within the overall international vision and aims of ICW as an international network. ICW will support and welcome regional autonomy in any currently existing ICW regions and any newly formed regions which are able to set up the necessary infrastructure for legal, self-supporting and democratic autonomy.

In Touch – Now and in the Future
We assure you that although you have not received a newsletter since Issue 45 some months ago, ICW has not forgotten you. ICW is changing and growing and will soon (how soon we cannot predict) be in touch with more details of what has been going on and our plans for a vibrant and exciting future.

We send our deepest regards, love, care, and concern to all members. ICW is your network and you are the life force of the network. We wish we could sit down with each and every member and explain what led up to our move from London to Buenos Aires. We would welcome the chance to discuss with you the decision to loosen central control of ICW and create the rights and responsibilities for regional autonomy. Hopefully as time goes by we will be able to do these things. Please be assured that you are in our hearts as we approach the New Year. As soon as possible a new newsletter will be produced and the ICW website will be open again with a new Internet address. We are working to rebuild ICW’s strength and financial security on regional and international levels, and the confidence and solidarity to fully resume our place as the only international network of women living with HIV and AIDS.

Sincerely,

Anandi Juvaraj
Arely Cano
Beri Hull
Bertha Chete
Candrika Phalita Ratri
Carmen Tarrades
Corinne Miele
Gcebile Ndlovu
Gledcia Catarina Mendes
Irene Romero
Jessica Whitbread
Lillian Mworeko
Lorena Ferretti
Louise Binder
Marcela Silva Almenacid
Maura Mea
Marina Soto
Martine Somda
Mpendwa Abinery
Mony Pen
Patricia Perez
Siphiwe Hlophe
Sue O’Sullivan

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