EI International Congress

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The 2015 Education Internationa World Congress

by Bobbie Margo

 

The 7th Education International World Congress was held in Ottawa, Ontario Canada in the Shaw Centre from July, 21-26, 2015.  Ottawa has a population of over 1.2 million and is on the banks of the Ottawa, Rideau, and Gatineau Rivers.  The city is the Capitol of Canada and is the home of the Government of Canada, Parliament, the Senate and the Supreme Court of Canada.  Ottawa is also rich in culture and in heritage with its many national museums, parklands, waterways, and historic architecture.

Education International (EI) was founded in 1993 in Stockholm as an association of national teachers' unions and a merger of their international umbrella organizations, still in competition at that time. In other words, IFTU (International Federation of Teachers' Unions-AFT was a member) and WCOTP (World Confederation of Teaching Professions-NEA was a member)-joined to form a more powerful organization.  E.I.'s World Congress is the supreme governing body of Education International and is now held every four years in a different world location.  E.I.'s 6 regions include Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, North America/Caribbean, Middle East-Arab countries.  Previous E.I. Congress locations have included Zimbabwe, Washington, D.C., Thailand, Brazil, Germany, and South Africa.  Education International is a federation of 396 associations and unions in 171 countries and territories.  E.I. represents some 32.5 million educators and support professionals in education institutions-Pre-K to University.

At this 7th Congress, NEA was represented by 50 official delegates and 65 registered observers.  To bring this a little closer to home, 5 Education Minnesota Retired members attended this year's Congress-Myrna Doran, Julie Jagusch, Sharon Kjellberg, Bobbie Margo, and Judy Rohde. (we funded ourselves) This year's 7th Congress brought together 1000+ delegates from unions in 154 countries.

In the order of business, the Congress program included plenary general sessions, caucuses, breakout sessions, social events, receptions.  The Congress dealt with 45 resolutions, 95 amendments, 7 policy paper resolutions, and the emergency resolution dealing with the Nepal Earthquake Recovery.  The official language of the Congress is English, but translation equipment is also provided.  An awards dinner/ceremony is also held.  This year's recipient of the  "Albert Shanker Education Award" was Luisa Bautista-Yu (from the Philippines). The "Mary Hatwood Futrell Human and Trade Union Rights Award" was presented to Ahmed Jassim Salih Al-Shiblawi (from Iraq). Elections were held for several Executive Board Positions.  NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia was elected as E.I.'s Vice-President for North America.  AFT President Randi Weingarten was also elected to a Board position representing North America-Caribbean region.

On behalf of my 5 Education Minnesota Retired colleagues, I encourage you to get your passport papers in order and to check out E.I.'s website-www.ei-ie.org.  To attend an E.I. Congress is to experience the true meaning of unionism and solidarity worldwide!  The next four years will be here before you know it!