Annual Dinner, May 18, 2017
Good evening everyone! Loubna and I are honored to stand here and thank you all on behalf of the Family Network for joining us tonight. We hope you will enjoy the dinner this evening—the wonderful food, great music and good company.
We have all just watched a video message from WBG CEO, Kristalina Georgieva, and we would like to use this opportunity to thank her personally, and the rest of the senior management team, for their continued support. We are encouraged that the World Bank Group leadership recognizes the needs of its families and we are assured of their support going forward.
Tonight is a special occasion because our organization is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. This is a long time period, and we can be proud of how the organization has evolved and grown over the years. You will find a publication at your tables which tells you about our history and what we do know.
We are all proud of the many achievements of the organization. And these achievements couldn’t have been attained without our wonderful volunteers. We would like to thank all our volunteers because they are the family in the Family Network. We extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation for all of the hard work and dedication provided by the volunteers and staff serving the Family Network. Indeed, without our volunteers and their dedication, we would not have been able to have our beautifully organized dinner either!
Talking about this evening's event, we would also like to thank our GSD partners, food service, security, parking, AV, and custodial staff for ensuring we all enjoy our dinner. Thank you very much!
Forty-five years is a long time but Family Network’s original mandate of supporting families remains crucial. Our mandate inspires our organization to push for changes and adapt to the evolving needs of the World Bank Group Families. We have many educational, professional and social programs (including some that have been running for a very long time). For example, the average number of activities in a month is seventy!
But beyond that, we would like to highlight a few directions where WBFN is strengthening its presence to adapt to evolving needs. First, WBFN is becoming much more global, with greater presence in country offices worldwide. We are present in more than fifty Country Offices, with over one thousand worldwide members. Our Worldwide Program owes its rapid growth and success to our dedicated champions who have embraced the support model of the Worldwide Program and are helping build close-knit communities in country offices.
Second, WBFN reflects the developments in the evolution of WBG's recruitment strategy. This year, almost half of new members are men.
Third, for increasing numbers of WBFN members, pursuing a career is essential. We continue to provide our job search and peer learning sessions, among other resources.
Fourth, we have initiated a Pilot project in India, Brazil, and Ghana Country Offices to assess the dual career and family support needs of relocating families.
Finally, these initiatives require a lot of efforts from volunteers and we are streamlining our internal processes and enhancing the volunteer engagement program.
We love receiving positive feedback from our members. We would like to mention one that illustrates the role that the Family network plays in members’ lives:
“At WBFN I discovered that I wasn’t alone in my loss of professional identity and it was also a place where I realized that I could reinvent my professional life. This upcoming Summer I’m starting my masters and I’m thankful to all who supported me and who were a role model to me through these years that I’ve been living in the US." -Andrea.
Let me conclude by saying that the last year of being a WBFN President has strengthened my own belief of how important the WBFN mandate is. I can only repeat what previous WBFN Presidents have said—that our organization aims to make families happier, which translates into happier and more productive staff.
We are therefore confident that our organization makes a significant contribution to the WBG mission of reducing poverty and promoting shared prosperity.