Background Stories

The Seed of 5WWC Began in 2001 with the Millionth Circle Initiative
by Ann Smith

At the birthing of the Millionth Circle Initiative held in March 2001 in Novato, California, we came up with our mission statement that included this intention: "to bring the circle process into United Nations accredited non-governmental organizations and the 5th UN World Conference on Women." Ann Smith, Elly Pradervand, Avon Mattison, Elinore Detinger were in the original circle related to the UN. They represented three UN NGOs. Elly, Women's World Summit Foundation, (WWSF), Ann Smith, Global Education Associations (GEA); and Avon Mattison and Elinore Detigener Pathways to Peace.

From this circle they brought the desire to influence the UN to the whole group and it was included in the Millionth Circle mission statement. We also endorsed producing the women's round calendar that was created by Sr. Helena Marie, Ginny Doctor and Ann Smith for the Episcopal Church USA. Elly Pradervand, Beverly Engel and Ann Smith designed the 2002 calendar that included Millionth Circle Intention Statement and Principles and the UN's Platform for Action Twelve Areas of Concern. The GEA delegation to the UNCSW was made of the Millionth Circle and was in partnership with WWSF and Pathways to Peace. This was in 2002. Our buttons and our energy made a very good impression. The Millionth gathering in Circle at Deer Hill followed our presence at the UN. Women from Canada and England and Africa joined us to made us an international gathering..

At the first Gather the Women Congress initiated by Women of Vision and Action (WOVA) in San Francisco in October of 2003 with the presence of Angela Weber from Brazil, we started a petition for a fifth world conference on women. At the January 2004 WOVA Board meeting in Dallas that included preliminary planning for the second Gather the Women Congress, I called Jean Bolen to discuss the need for a website for gathering support for a 5th World Conference on Women. She recommended I talk to WOVA's Executive Director, Carol Hansen Grey. When I arrived at the meeting I found myself sitting next to Carol. It didn't take much convincing on my part to get her to volunteer to design, develop and maintain a website as well as to set up a list serve and mailing lists through Living Directory. It had already been in her consciousness. We felt it was important that we have a website up and running before the March CSW meetings in New York, so we could direct people to it.   Within a couple of days she had set up a list serve and within weeks she had a preliminary website up and running!