A Day in Brussels – Meeting Minister Cecile Kyenge, Italy

BEWC premeeting
From left: Light Up a Girl’s Life project manager with Members of the Black European Women’s Council at the EESC.

With roots stemming back to 2007 with The Vienna Declaration the Black European Women’s Council (BEWC) is set to revive itself. The first step was a face-to-face meeting with some of the board members representing Austria, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Meeting with MEP Kyenge
Talking with Minister Kyenge.

In addition to discussing the future of the BEWC we had the honor of meeting with Minister Kyenge, Italy, thanks to our Italian board member, Dr. Susanne Mbiye.

Minister Kyenge's award
Minister Kyenge’s Global Citizenship Award for her groundbreaking work on immigrant rights fro children in Italy.

Minister Kyenge has received global recognition for becoming the first black women in the Italian Parliament and for her position on granting citizenship to the children of immigrants born in Italy. She has also received verbal abuse from her colleagues in Italy.

With Miniter Kyenge
With Minister Kyenge. She is grace personified.

Despite her hectic schedule including plenary and other meetings that day Minister Kyenge greeted each one of us with a warm handshake and parted with a kiss on the cheek. She, I can attest, is grace personified.

Black European Women’s Council continues the road to establishment in Brussels

Black EUropean Women's Network

During the past two years the Black European Women’s Council (BEWC) has held two strategic meetings; one in Holland and the second in Austria, toward its goal of establishing itself in the heart of the EU quarter in Brussels.

The BEWC also organized a conference in Brussels which was attended by EU politicians, leaders of organizations for women in the US and across Europe as well as diversity executives from corporate America and Europe.

This movement started at the historic 1st Black European Women’s Congress in Vienna in 2007.

Announcing the New Board of the Black European Women’s Council


At the Black European Women’s Council General Assembly and Capacity Building Seminar on April 9-10th in Soesterberg /Utrecht, Holland our new Board of Directors was chosen:

President : Beatrice Achaleke
Vice-President: Yvette Jarvis
Treasurer : Hellen Felter
Secretary : Sandrine Joseph

Congratulations ladies! We’re counting on your leadership.

Black European Women’s Council Gifts for the Holidays

Dear all!

It pleases me to inform you that our boutique is now online, hopefully on time for your to benefit from our Christmas offers!

You can order DVDs or Books to support the activities of the Black European Women’s Council. Order on time and we shall gladly process and deliver to you on time. 🙂

Let the sun shine
Wit best greetings from Vienna!

Beatrice Achaleke
– Executive Director
– AFRA — International Center for Black Women’s Perspectives
– Initiator Black European Women’s Council-BEWC
– Trägerin des österreichischen Bundesehrenzeichen 2008

Update launching Black European Women’s Council on Sept. 9th 2008

Dear everybody!

Greetings from Vienna
This Mail is to remind you of the upcoming launching of the Black European Women’s Council on Sept. 9th 2008 in the premises of the European Economic and Social Committee Rue Van maelant 1040 Brussels.

*Our achievements so far:*

1. Thanks to Brenda’s unending support it was possible for us to secure the cooperation of the European Economic and Social Committee for this important event. This cooperation represents a very important step towards implementing the preamble of the Vienna Declaration which states “Our gathering here is an indication of the necessity for the EU to dialog with Black Women’s Organisations EU-wide. The European Year for Intercultural Dialog therefore presents an opportunity to initiate and strengthen partnerships and alliances. We welcome purposeful efforts to engage with the EU in the implementation and in consequence in the securing and exercising of our rights as full citizens of the EU and EEA”.

2. I had a meeting with the new Director of the Fundamental Rights Agency -FRA in Vienna last Friday and am very happy to inform you that Mr Morten Kjaerum, the Agency’s Director, is very happy about our activities and is very interested to work with us to advance the cause of Black Women and Black Communities in Europe. He would love to be at the launching; unfortunately FRA’s staff is on retreat on this date. So we agree he sends a video message for the launching.

3. I am most happy to inform those of you interested to attend the official launching on Sept. 9th, that the proposal I submitted to the *EACEA- Europe for Citizens* has been approved. This means we shall be able to cover part of your expenditures in form of perdiem (according to the EU Flat rates 2008). Enclose is the agenda of the launching for your information. The registration form is under www.bewnet.eu/company/registration-form/. Please register not later than August 15th 2008 for organisational reasons. We can cover perdiems for up to 3 participants per country.

4- With the funding of the EACEA we shall be able to host the first general assembly of BEWC (a slight change of agenda) and a workshop on how to organise national coordinations of BEWC in April 2009, in The Netherlands. We shall be able to cover perdiem for up to 40 participants all together.

At the moment I am working hard to secure a funding for a reception to celebrate our launching in Brussels. Should anybody know where we can apply for the sum of 10.000 Euro to cover launch and reception, I shall be most grateful for your support.

We are currently working on the list of speakers for both the High Level Roundtable Discussion on “The role of Black Women in an all inclusive Europe, challenges faced by Black Communities” and the official speeches at the launching.  Be so kind to forward this invitation to interested black women and men around you. Should you have any questions, do please not hesitate to get back to us at anytime.

We are very much looking forward to seeing you again in Brussels for this great event.

With best greetings from Vienna


Beatrice Chalice Executive Director
AFRA — International Center for Black Women’s Perspectives
Graumanngasse 7/D/1, 1150 Wien
Tel/Fax: +43 1 9660 425
ZVR-Zahl: 488597767
office @ blackwomencenter.org

BEWC launch in September – a follow up to the 1st Black European Women’s Congress in Vienna last year

A lot has been going on since we met in Vienna last year.

Each woman was charged with doing whatever she could in her country. For my part I promised to spread the word. My efforts can be found here.

Leah in Sweden has organized a group of sisters and held meetings to draft proposals from the Black Woman in Sweden’s point of view. She is happy to report that Sweden seems to be ahead of the curve in promoting equal rights and access to Black Women.

The first strategic meeting of BEWNET (Black European Women’s Network) took place in Vienna from 13-14 March 2008. One of the outcomes was the unanimous decision by all present at the strategic meeting to change the name of our network from Black European Women’s Network to “Black European Women’s Council” for strategic reasons.

The next steps shall be to register BEWC as an international association under the Belgian Law.

The next date you should already mark on your calender is *September 9th 2008* for the official launching of BEWC in the European Parliament in Brussels. It would be great to have as many Black Women as possible present at this historical event.

Black European Women’s Network (BEWNET) Launches following the 1st Black European Women’s Congress in Vienna

*Follow-up activities*


1. To prepare for the launching of the network next year, a follow-up meeting to draft the constitution, the vision/mission, plan of action etc., and also to elect our board members will be held.

A working/strategic-meeting sometimes in March 2008* (6 months after the congress and around the International Women’s Day, for this follow-up meeting in Vienna.

This strategic meeting shall bring together one or more delegates from each country present at the Vienna Congress. The procedures of the follow-up meeting shall be communicated at a later date

*2. BEWNET will officially launch in September 2008, one year after its creation, and 6 months before the EU parliamentary elections take place (they are scheduled for mid June 2009).

*3. The report of the Vienna Congress is currently being prepared.

*4. Video documentary of the congress is equally being edited.