2023 IWG AGM: Global Executive Meet In Costa Rica

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The International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport met in San José, Costa Rica on Thursday 7 December for the 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Global Executive Strategy Session.

This was the first AGM led by the UK Secretariat since the IWG moved to the country in 2022 for a four-year period and was generously hosted by Deputy of the Republic and Global Executive Member Rosaura Méndez Gamboa and Donald Rojas Fernandez, President of ICODER (Costa Rican Institute of Sports and Recreation).

The AGM, staged at the National Stadium of Costa Rica, provided an opportunity for Chair Annamarie Phelps CBE OLY and Secretary General Lisa O’Keefe to reflect on their first year in post, and also allowed for the Global Executive members to update on the progress being made towards gender equality in sport in their regions or in their field of work. It also allowed for group discussion on business matters arising including important decisions regarding the IWG World Conference taking place in July 2026 and the process for selecting the next IWG host.

The afternoon Strategy Session took place in the Costa Rican ‘Asamblea Legislativa’ (Parliament) building and enabled healthy and robust group discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing the IWG over the coming three years. The focus was on defining the priorities for the Global Executive members and the IWG secretariat in delivering the ‘Connections’ priority of the 2022-26 strategic plan.

The AGM and Global Executive Strategy Session were preceded on Wednesday 6 December by a formal welcome. Hosted in the National Museum of Costa Rica, welcome addresses were made by Deputy of the Republic Rosaura Méndez Gamboa, IWG Chair Annamarie Phelps CBE OLY, Royner Moro Ruiz, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Gloria Navas Montero, Vice-President of the Asamblea Legislativa and Leonz Eder, President of the International University Sports Federation (FISU). Donald Rojas Fernandez, President of ICODER (Costa Rican Institute of Sports and Recreation) and representative of the Ibero-American Women and Sport network, and IWG Secretary General Lisa O’Keefe then opened the event, before a voices and reflections forum on advancing towards gender equality in sports and recreation took place and finally conclusions from the session were presented.

The afternoon saw the Global Executive visit the Asamblea Legislativa building to receive presentations from women on the FISU-sponsored leadership programme.

Annamarie Phelps CBE OLY said: “This has been an invaluable two days for the IWG, and on behalf of all the Global Executive I extend my thanks to Rosaura and her team for organising such insightful and interesting activity for us, as well as hosting the AGM and Strategy Session.

“While we have enjoyed a successful first year of laying the foundations for the IWG’s four-year period in the UK, there is still so much work to do, and it was brilliant we could bring together the international expertise from the Global Executive into one place to look at what lies ahead and agree on how we will approach the challenges together. I leave Costa Rica feeling very optimistic about the IWG and reassured we have the leadership in place to ensure we are a truly global network working towards a vision of sport and physical activity contributing to a world where all women and girls thrive.”

Attendees at the meeting:

  • Annamarie Phelps CBE OLY (IWG Co-chair / IWG UK Chair)
  • Lisa O’Keefe (Secretary General)
  • Rosaura Méndez Gamboa (Americas representative)
  • Game Mothibi (Africa representative)
  • Etsuko Ogasawara (Asia representative)
  • Carol Ngiraidis (Oceania representative)
  • Sallie Barker (Europe representative – online)
  • Rosa Diketmuller (International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women [IAPESGW] representative)
  • Diane Huffman (WomenSport International [WSI] representative)
  • Lilamani De Soysa (Co-opted expert – international sport relations and development)
  • Louisette-Renee Thobi Etame Ndedi (Co-opted expert – Conference for Francophonie Sports and Youth Ministries – CONFEJES)

Apologies received from:

  • Raewyn Lovett (IWG Co-chair)
  • Fiona Allan ONZM (Co-opted expert – global Paralympic Movement)

Observers:

  • Nair Ackermann (President of the Women’s Soccer Council at the Uruguayan Soccer Association)
  • Aquilina Figueroa (Dominican Republic Politician)

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