new ISIS executive director

today, luz martinez and the ISIS women invited me to sit down with them to prepare for the new executive director of ISIS. we have appointed a young chinese journalist, cai yiping from beijing to head ISIS and she will come in with a whole basket of goals to achieve. as luz and i started our discussion, we imagine cai yiping coming into our circle, bringing China and its civilization into our fold. we are excited because ISIS has always charted less travelled paths in the women’s movement and this is the first time a young woman, a chinese journalist will lead the institution. the founder of ISIS, marilee karl, is as excited as we are. ISIS was founded in Rome in 1974 and has pioneered in building the communication and information platforms of the women’s movement globally and locally. i have been ISIS member since 1980 and became its executive director in 1994 to 1998. my stint covered many paths and when i was executive director, my significant learnings tripled – national, regional and global development work with women’s movements. since then, ISIS has achieved many gains and have matured into a key leader in feminist dialogues and women movement building, widening the space for women to develop their strategies in a fast changing world.

“what do we want from cai yiping?” luz asked the management committee. ” we want her to focus on fundraising and networking” replied tesa and the three coordinators. we all agreed that ISIS needs to raise the bar in fundraising, not just to get partners to give money to the institution but to open up its coffers to strengthen the gains of the women’s developmetn work. “raising money for women’s programs is so difficult now “explained luz and we agreed. “cai yiping will have to learn why and how we raise funds for women in this part of the world,” i shared what items ISIS will mentor her in the politics of fundraising. ” we should also look at how the Chinese women organizations have been able to fund their development work,”I proposed.” we look at the chinese as very enterprising and we should learn from them. with a young chinese director, we should treat the first six months of her stint as mutual learning period. we have a resource in her chinese culture plus her education in mainstream western culture ( she studied in the US), not to mention in her own generation ( she is 38 years old) and has a feminist mother and a taoist father.” “that’s an exciting combination” the ISIS women remarked.

so with an enthusiastic lens, we look forward to cai yiping’s coming to ISIS this last quarter of 2008.

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