On 20th November 2020, SCWO held the virtual 19th ASEAN Confederation of Women’s Organisations (ACWO) Biennial General Assembly. This was the first ever virtual Biennial General Assembly in the history of ACWO. At the Handing Over Ceremony, 19th ACWO President, Dr June Goh, officially passed the ACWO Presidency from SCWO to the 20th ACWO President, Datin Hajah Siti Hajar binti Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof, President of the Council of Women Development of Brunei Darussalam (CWBD). Mr Raymond Chow, Deputy High Commissioner of Singapore in Brunei Darussalam, represented Singapore in handing over the ACWO Flag and Ceremonial Necklace to Datin Hajah Siti Hajar.
During Dr June Goh’s Speech, she shared that despite the world being in the grip of a global pandemic, ACWO and the ASEAN women have shown admirable resilience and tenacity. She also thanked the ACWO sisters for their support during Singapore’s term as the ACWO President, from participating in the first virtual ACWO Board of Directors meeting with full attendance, to enthusiastically attending the inaugural ACWO Masterclass 2020, a 1½ day virtual masterclass, in September 2020. At the 35th ASEAN Summit in Thailand 2019, the chairman said that they supported the vision of ACWO to leverage on its network to bridge the advantages of smart technologies for women, to enhance the quality of women’s lives in ageing and to empower women in the economy. This was a huge milestone for ACWO and Dr June Goh emphasised that ACWO must keep up and must continue to be relevant to the women in ASEAN that we serve.
The ACWO General Assembly is a biennial event that brings together the ACWO members from the 10 ASEAN countries to share best practices and learn about the success and challenges faced by each country while working on improving the status of women in ASEAN. The walk-in parade of the ASEAN flags kickstarted the 19th ACWO Biennial General Assembly and the SCWO Board Members and staff represented the 10 ASEAN members and donned the respective national costumes.
It was followed by the Welcome Remarks by Mr Richard Tan, Singapore Focal Point of the ASEAN Committee of Women (ACW) to mark to opening of the ceremony. He expressed that ACWO, as an ASEAN accredited entity, the ACWO network can shape and influence the public, private and people sectors in all ASEAN Member States to serve the cause of women. There is so much that ACWO can do and to realise the ACWO vision by 2025, ACWO can develop regional action plans or roadmaps in partnership with various ASEAN and UN Bodies and ASEAN Dialogue Partners (read his full speech here).
Datin Siti Hajah, incoming ACWO President, shared that the presidency could not have come at a better time as Brunei Darussalam will be Chair of the ASEAN Summit in 2021 and CWBD will continue to cooperation and work together with sister national women NGOs in ASEAN member countries for peace, stability and prosperity.
Earlier that morning, each ASEAN member states presented project proposals as outcomes of the ACWO Masterclass 2020 during the ACWO Confederation Council virtual meeting and it was very inspiring to hear the empowering projects that will be setting the direction for the 2025 Vision.
SCWO has been truly honoured to be the 19th ACWO President (2019-2020) and we wish CWBD and the 20th ACWO Board of Directors all the best for the upcoming term!