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Centenary of Zonta International observed in Paris



PARIS: This year (2019) marks the centenary of Zonta International, an association which was created in the aftermath of the World War I by a group of visionary women in Buffalo (State of New York). 

They were committed to the creation of a world of justice, equality of rights between men and women, and of solidarity among them. This centenary was also celebrated during an evening on the 15th of March 2019 at the Salons of the Palais du Luxembourg, here. The evening was organized by Zonta Paris Royal Concorde, a Parisian entity, connected to Zonta International.

The event was attended among others by Tabassum Saleem along with exceptional women, having leading professional positions (Head of Division, Head of Research at the CNRS), with Chais Elles, Café Lakay (organic coffee from Haiti) who all came to defend the rights of women. Through their presence and in a spirit of unity and solidarity, they came to support those who militate to end all kinds of discriminations against women.

The Zonta Paris Port Royal Concorde is a service club established forty years ago in Dakar, out of the common engagement of two women, Janine Ndiaye and Jacqueline Senghor, to the condition of women around the world. That period was marked by the diffusion of feminist thoughts and has been the starting point of societal changes of which the consequences are still visible today.

The project of Janine Ndiaye and Jacqueline Senghor was to unite women holding professional responsibilities in a service club, whose goal was to ameliorate the legal status of women in the world. Together, and because of their common willpower and their undeniable human values, they succeeded in mobilizing tens of women who were aware of the urgency and the size of the task.

In the last forty years, the Club Zonta Paris Port Royal Concorde has been leading a multitude of actions worldwide, contributing to the promotion of women in diverse domains: economics, culture and education (help to children in among others Guinea Bissau and Ivory Coast).

The Club Zonta Paris Port Royal Concorde is attached to its mother organ, Zonta International, founded in 1919 at Buffalo. Zonta International counts 29000 members, in 1200 clubs dispersed over 63 countries.

It has an NGO status and is represented at the Social and Economic Council of the United Nations (including an observatory status at the UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO and a participatory status at the Council of Europe).

Zonta International supports the ratification of the UN Convention for the elimination of all kinds of discrimination against women (CEDAW). Furthermore, Zonta is committed to the principle that women’s rights are an integral part of human rights. This is why Zonta is active worldwide, in several countries where women’s rights are still too often trampled.

In its fight for the improvement of the status of women in the world, Zonta, among others, strives to achieve the end of violence against women and gender discriminations, man-woman equality and to reduce the school dropouts of girls.

Since it was founded, Zonta International has contributed more than 19 million dollars to projects benefitting women globally. Zonta International has provided training, education, health, sanitation and micro-credits to women.

In partnership with UNICEF USA, Zonta International is the lead donor to the program “Let us learn”, initiated in Madagascar, which allowed 22660 young girls to receive school material and 600 families to benefit from financial aid conditioned on sending their daughters to school.

With this initiative, 300 young girls who were not going to school could change their situation, while 960 others who were being exploited could receive medical assistance. In 2020, another 1 million dollars will be allocated to that program.

In Jordan, the program “Hand in Hand” has helped 25760 Syrian women, being refugees in Jordan, and having fled the war and the atrocities happening in their country. The program put in place in partnership with UN Women, which is working with the Jordan government, has offered to those women living in camps or host communities an economic future which also benefits their families.

As the war is still going on, since 2015, “Hand in Hand” has been giving them the necessary economic resources to enable them to create stable jobs, providing them with the means to subsist, next to the food aid which is given in the camps.

The women are also motivated to exert leadership within their communities, to participate to decision taking and through this, to break down cultural barriers which were restricting them to secondary roles.

Between 1998 and 2002, Zonta International has been collaborating with UNICEF in the fight against genital mutilations in Burkina-Faso. Due to this action, the Burkina-Faso has registered a decrease of 40% in the number of girls having undergone this type of mutilation.

In 2019, Zonta International has given 2 million dollars to end violence to women in Nepal and Niger.

In Niger, Zonta International fights against early marriage, which is considered as a kind of violence, and this together with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Through a program of sanitary education, as well as formal education and alphabetization, 11000 adolescents are currently being helped.

2019 marks the centenary of Zonta International which, in the aftermath of the First World War, has been created by a group of women who were visionary. They were concerned by the creation of a world of justice, equality of rights and equal opportunities for men and women, as well as solidarity among them. PARIS: Tabassum Saleem, Ambassador of International Human Rights Commission snapped flanked with Julienne Morisseau, President of ZONTA Paris Port Royal Concorde and Nicolas Fontaine, Vice-Président de l’UFE (Union des Français à l’étranger).

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Russian Pianists Mesmerize Karachiites (VIDEO AND TEXT)



KARACHI: Music aficionados from all over the Metropolis converged at the patio of Alliance Française de Karachi (AFK) – French Cultural Centre – here on Monday (29th April). The occasion was a piano concert by Russian twin sisters Anastasia & Polina Churbanova. 

KARACHI: Humane Urduphone Consul General of the Russian Federation Dr. Aleksandr G. Khozin announced that the first piece of the evening had been dedicated to Ahmed Mir (late official of the Qatar Airways) who had sponsored the duo’s transportation – Mir died in an accident in the USA.

KARACHI: Conspicuous among others there were  Consul Generals of Russia & France, Commissioner Karachi, Bina Shah (President AFK), Behram & Goshpi Avari (who had sponsored the twin’s stay here), and family members of the late official of Qatar Airways Ahmed Mir.The soirée commenced with two sisters playing German Composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s Minuet & Badinerie  (from Orchestral Suite No.2 in B minor). The next piece was French composer & pianist Francis Poulenc’s Sonate Zu vier Händen. Alexander Scriabin’s composition (Sonata No.3 in F-sharp minor op.23) Andante was performed by Polina whereas, her sister’s solo was Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata No. 27 in E Minor op.90. The last scheduled composition played by the twin sisters was Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Barcarolle, Scherzo, Russian Theme, Romance, Waltz and Slava (6 pieces, op.11 for piano four hands). After three curtain calls the twins excused as they were too exhausted to perform.  KARACHI: Talking exclusively to this scribe Anastasia & Polina Churbanova told that they were from St. Petersburg and were playing Piano since they were six. After taking lessons for a year they took part in a globally acclaimed contest named after Lubov Brook. Later in 2003, they won first prize in the famous international competition named after celebrated Russian pianist/composer A. Rubinstein. The twins told this was their second visit to the Port City, a Metropolis where they would love to perform again in future. They give piano concerts in Russia regularly and – besides  Pakistan – had performed in five foreign countries (including Austria, Germany, Holland, & Ukraine). 


PS: It is pertinent to mention here that this performance was part of an international concert series termed as Classical Music Without Borders.


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Theresa May announces her resignation!



LONDON: Drawing three-year premiership to a close, Theresa May will leave 10-Downing Street on 7th of June. 

This was announced here today by the Premier who had to take this decision due to massive criticism for missing two Brexit deadlines failing to deliver her major policy of leaving the EU: “It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” stated.

She maintained that it had been the honor of her life to serve as PM and she would leave with no ill will, but enormous and enduring gratitude. 



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Macron faces a critical test this weekend



PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron this weekend faces a critical test of his ambitions to reform France and champion a liberal Europe in European Parliament elections where his own party risks losing to the far-right.
The latest opinion surveys show the far-right National Rally (RN) outpolling Macron’s centrist Republic on the Move (LREM) by between 0.5-2 percentage points, after months where the two were neck-and-neck.
Analysts say that two years into his five-year term, the EU election represents a critical juncture for Macron and will influence whether the 41-year-old president can continue reforming in what he calls the “second act” of his time in office.
Macron has made no secret of the importance of the polls in France Sunday, telling regional newspapers this week the elections were the most important for four decades as the union faced an “existential threat”.
At stake is the youthful president’s vision of implementing further pro-business reforms in France, while emerging as a champion of more integration among EU member states.
Losing to Marine Le Pen’s RN — formerly known as the National Front — could be a glaring blow to those ambitions.
Sources close to Macron say a bad loss could prompt a major cabinet reshuffle, with the job of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe seen as being on the line.


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