In the autumn of 1970, a small group of women, most of whom had been active members of the United Nations Women’s Guild in New York, held a series of meetings to consider the desirability of founding a similar guild in Geneva. As a result of their deliberations, a meeting of about 50 women was held on 9 December 1970 in the American Community House, at which the suggested statutes and by-laws, based mainly on those of the New York Guild, were approved. The first Executive Committee was elected; a minimal membership fee was accepted and the UNWG of Geneva came into being in its present form. From 9 February 1971 regular meetings have taken place.

Since 1970 location for meetings have changed several times; the American Community House served only for the first meeting. The Villa Rigot also proved too small and the Monthly Meetings (Coffee Mornings)  were held in the Salle de la Tour, 15 Chemin du Pommier. During the year 1975-1976, ILO kindly allowed us to hold our Coffee Mornings in the recreation room of their building.

Also in 1975, the UN allocated an office for our use, first in the Palais itself and later in the annex at Petit Saconnex.

Like the New York Women’s Guild, the Geneva Guild has the twofold aim of welcoming and forming a social and cultural center for women, who are “connected by work or relationship with the UN, the specialized agencies, the permanent missions to the United Nations and intergovernmental organizations with headquarters in Geneva” and of “assisting children in need throughout the world”. Since that first meeting in 1970 the Guild has expanded, developed and diversified its activities, but has never strayed from the guidelines then adopted.

Fundraising, which began in 1972 in a school next to the Matutina Parc residence in Petit-Saconnex collecting about 16 000 CHF, has developed into the present Bazaar, visited by about 6000 persons. Approximately 300 000 CHF is being regularly raised to be distributed to different children’s projects worldwide.

Villa les Feuillantines

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