Do you want to get involved with Soroptimist International and the United Nations? Did you know that as a Soroptimists you are able to nominate for attendance at the Comission of the Status of Women (CSW).

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Radio New Zealand journalist Sally Round recently interviewed Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific President Anusha Santhirasthipam on the Federation Project Sanctuary: Shelter for Women in Fiji.

Discussing the support these shelters will provide to women and children who are victims of violence and natural disaster in Fiji.

Click on Read More to read or listen to the interview.

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Download updated programme here:  21st Soroptimist International Convention 2019 Programme, the Convention Committee are delighted to share with you some highlights of their highly eminent and immensely popular Keynote Speakers who all love our Convention Theme "Global Connections, Empowered Women - Soroptimists Enable a Sustainable World".


3 New Exciting A-lister Speakers Just Secured.

  1. Special Keynote Speaker Graca Machel, Founder of Grace Machel Trust.
  2. Keynote Speaker Christina Lamb, award-winning author and Sunday Times UK journalist
  3. Grace Forrest, Walk Free Foundation Australia 


Princess Mabel van Oranje

HRH Princess Mabel van Oranje sml

Princess Mabel van Oranje, Founder and Board Chair of Girls Not Brides highly recommended by SI President Mariet Verhoef-Cohen. SISWP President Anusha Santhirasthipam met with Princess Mabel recently in Kuala Lumpur, participating at the Global Meeting of this worldwide partnership to end child marriages. Soroptimist International is a member of this global network.

"Watching Princess Mabel LIVE in action, it is evident she is a natural star - insightful, captivating and fully committed to end child marriages so that every girl child is able to achieve her full potential" says Anusha.

The World Economic Forum has counted her as one of the top hundred "Global Leaders for Tomorrow". Princess Mabel is a member of the worldwide Forum of Young Global Leaders, a think tank and lobby group that tackles global issues.

SISWP President Anusha Santhirasthipam with Princess Mabel van Oranje


 Helen Pankhurst

SI Convention 2019 Speaker Helen Pankhurst sml

Helen Pankhurst is a women’s rights activist and senior advisor to CARE International, based in the UK and in Ethiopia

She has also worked for international development charities including WaterAid, Womankind Worldwide and ACORD. She is currently a Trustee of ActionAid and WSUP.
Helen is the author of the book released in 2018 "Deeds Not Words, the Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now".

Ms Pankhurst is the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, leaders of the British suffragette movement.
Ms Pankhurst has taken part in re-enactment work for current day awareness raising, including at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, the 2015 film Suffragette and leading the annual #March4Women ahead of International Women’s Day in London.

Helen Pankhurst
Photo Attribution by:





Simonetta Di Pippo

SI Convention 2019 speaker Simonetta Di Pippo Director UNOOSA smlSimonetta Di Pippo is brilliant, passionate and stands up for women in a male dominated bastion. SISWP President Anusha Santhirasthipam writes she was honoured to get to know Ms. Di Pippo in July 2017, when she visited her at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) where she is Director.

She is fully committed to gender mainstreaming through STEM education and advocates for capacity building programmes to ensure women excel and take leadership roles in space technology and innovation careers. She heads the UN "Space for Women Project" a global empowerment programme.

Ms Di Pippo encourages women to take up careers and run businesses in big data management as it is an economic growth sector with vast potential for women.

She is spearheading UNISPACE+50 for the benefit of humankind. During this meeting, Ms Di Pippo revealed to Anusha that she wishes to create an "Open Universe" global database for scientists, students and public citizens to access with user-friendly interface. Anusha believes that Ms. Di Pippo will be enthused about our own 'Soroptimist Lab"currently in the works!

Ms. Di Pippo was Founder of Women in Aerospace, Europe and was knighted in 2006 by the President of the Italian Republic for her exemplary work as an astrophysicist and for her successful career in aerospace management spanning more than 30 years.

SISWP President Anusha Santhirasthipam with Simonetta Di Pippo (right) 


Mary Robinson

SI Convention 2019 Speaker Mary RobinsonMary Robinson served as president of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002. She now leads a foundation devoted to climate justice.
SISWP President Anusha had the honour to meet and get to know Mary Robinson at the Rio+20 UN Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janiero in 2012. Her speech resonated so powerfully and she speaks with down-to-Earth common sense says Anusha. She has a keen interest in the programmes that Soroptimists clubs do at grassroots level. Discussing with Anusha that the "global commons" belongs to everyone and that we must all collectively influence climate action to ensure a sustainable world for all.

Mary Robinson is president of the Mary Robinson Foundation: Climate Justice, and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change and is now a member of The Elders and the Club of Madrid. She is also a member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

In 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama, and between March 2013 and August 2014 she served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Mary Robinson
Photo attribution :
By World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 


The 21st Soroptimist International Convention Committee is sure that these Keynote Speakers will inspire all Convention delegates. Fresh perspectives, innovative solutions and sustainable project ideas await you.

More stories to be published in the coming weeks. Visit 21st Soroptimist International Convention 2019 Website. And watch this space.


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