Message from Interim President, Mr. Saad Hani Al-Qaddumi
I would like to begin my welcome message by thanking WCC-AISBL (International) Executive Board for appointing me as Interim President of WCC-AISBL following the demise of my mother, the Late WCCI President, Dr. Ghada Hijjawi-Qaddumi on April 1, 2021.
I shall be assuming the responsibilities of the Interim President of this prestigious Organization till the end of 2021 when a New President will be elected during the first week of December 2021 by an Extra Ordinary General Assembly for the remaining current term (2022-2024).
During the short term of my Interim Presidency, I feel totally and positively charged to continue with the aspirations and action plans of the Late President, whose passion towards WCC has reflected on me urging me to continue to the best of my ability for the best interest of WCC.
Therefore, during this short term, I feel I could at least assist to set the foundation for the restructuring and developing the WCC organization from within, so as to continue evolving efficiently and always reflecting on the best interests of artisans and craft communities.
I believe it imperative and necessary, in order to achieve the above, to do so through the formation of sub-committees which would focus on Bye-laws, Policies & Procedures, Communication Strategy, WCCI Website, WCC Craft City Project, and WCC Award of Excellence Project, which will continue for as long as it is necessary to reach our goals.
We would be able through the established sub-committees to focus on dedicating and exerting all our efforts on developing our Communication and Marketing strategies, renovating WCCI Website, expanding WCC Craft Cities network by adding new Craft Cities, and maintaining/developing the Award of Excellence Project, so as to directly and effectively serve the artisans and craft communities by aiding them to financially survive, become easily recognized and contacted, and exchange techniques, knowledge and expertise with other craft communities and artisans all over the world.
During this pandemic and the difficulty to travel and achieve physical communication, it is the ideal opportunity to utilize digital technologies until such a time a new life style and more freedom of travel is reached.
The website of WCC-AISBL (International) has not been updated yet, but it will be updated as well as renovated soon so as to be more interactive and reflect the scope of work of WCCI, its vision and mission. The sub-committee that has been formed for Communication Strategy will be responsible for updating and renovating the website. Meanwhile, the website will be updated with respect to the contact information and details for each of the 5 Regions. As well, links to the regional website of each of the 5 regions will be included at the earliest.
Finally, I would like to end my message by quoting the Late WCCI President “I am looking forward to working collectively with the re-elected and the new Board Members of WCCI Board in a friendly atmosphere and cooperative spirit so as to be able to achieve several milestones, in the hope that our efforts come to fruition.
Lastly, I take the pledge with God’s help and with your support and collaborative efforts to keep WCCI active and thriving”.
Elected Interim President of WCC-AISBL (International)
Dr Ghada Hijjawi-Qaddumi’s Acceptance Speech in the WCC-AISBL 19th General Assembly
December 9, 2021
It is my honour to be here among you virtually to give my address of acceptance of the Presidency of the WCC-International for the next term 2021-2024.
First of all, I would like to thank the WCC-International President, Ms.Rosy Greenlees and the Executive Board for unanimously accepting my nomination, also to thank the WCC-Asia Pacific Region Board unanimous approval of the nomination, and lastly my thanks go to the APR General Assembly for ratifying the nomination in its last meeting, on December 4, 2020.
The robe of honour of the Presidency of the World Crafts Council International (AISBL), which you have generously bestowed on me, out of your confidence and belief in my capacity credentials, though it warms my heart and soul, at the same time, it throws on my shoulders and conscience a heavy load of responsibility for 4 more years to come.
I would like to say that accepting the Presidency of WCC-International is by itself a challenge, so how about receiving it during the Covid-19 pandemic and continuing in the Post-Covid-19 period, which left us all with a sapped economy, decreased resources, and limited income, in addition to health problems. I would like also to add that, depending on your support and collaboration, I took the risk of plunging into this troubled water bravely, facing the dilemma with you courageously, and working with full energy and determination to overcome all challenging obstacles.
Coming with the background of leadership of two successive terms from 2013 to 2020 as President of Asia Pacific Region, I assure you that with the help of your support and valuable diversified experiences in various areas of the sector, we, together, will definitely attain a steady growth of our World Organization, keeping it lively, thriving and successful.
I believe it would be prudent to begin my next term by concentrating on the two already established projects, namely the WCC-World Craft City and the WCC-Award of Excellence for Handicrafts, considering them as flowing springs of bounty and inspiration. They are permanent sources of quenching our thirst for creating more and more venues for promoting crafts and for tapping other human hidden potentials of new ideas, concepts and plans to highlight the diversified values of crafts.
I. WCC-World Craft City Project:
The WCC-World Craft City Project is inspired by the UNESCO Creative City which aims at highlighting the reputation and assets of a city’s specific craft or a variety of crafts. We shall update the WCC-World Craft City website, and put our efforts in following up with the Craft Cities and encouraging new cities to apply. I am going to exert the utmost of my effort to arrange for more and more extensive Networking among the Craft Cities, and to link them, if possible, with the Creative Cities project of the UNESCO.
While acting as President of APR, I have already started contacts to create opportunities for such Forums. For instance, I have written to Her Royal Highness Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Hemas, of Jogjakarta Special Region in Indonesia, to consider including in the Jogjakarta International Batik Benallie (JIBB), a specialized Networking Forum for those Cities specialized in Textiles, in Jogjakarta, the World Craft City for Batik. More Forums of one specialized craft could be organized in the future.
The Award of Excellence for Handicrafts Project:
The Award of Excellence for Handicrafts Project originated from the UNESCO Seal of Excellence, which aims at preserving traditional wisdom and encouraging excellence and innovation. Unfortunately, this Project is only applied regularly in Asia Pacific Region and intermittently in Latin America.
Taking into consideration that the Awarded Products provide us with rich sources (material) of learning, and research, and help us in spreading awareness of the various values and aesthetic beauty of crafts, I thought that assigning a special gallery or museum to house such fantastic products of high creative quality, must be one of our priorities.
Accordingly, in September 2019, I discussed, with Dr.Adkham Ikramov, the President Elect of Asia Pacific Region, the project of assigning a special museum or gallery to permanently showcase the awarded crafts. Being the CEO of the Uzbekistan Handicrafts Association and the Chair of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan, who advocates cultural heritage, Dr.Ikramov arranged for me, before my departure from Tashkent last year, to visit two locations, for this purpose. Lately, he confirmed that his government accepted our request. Thanks are due to the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Two Global Flagship Projects:
On having been upgraded from Asia Pacific Region Presidency to WCC-International Presidency, I carry with me two global Flagship Projects, already implemented successfully, during my 2 terms of Presidency. One is the Inter-Regional Handicrafts Events and the other is the Online Encyclopedia of Crafts.
The Inter-Regional Handicrafts Event, was implemented in 2013, continued to 2019, and will resume in 2021. Many Artisans and Experts from APR, Africa, Latin America and Europe were hosted by the Kuwaiti Government represented by the National Council for Culture, Arts & Letters. This project aims at creating a common platform for artisans, designers and experts to exchange cultural knowledge and technical expertise, in addition to building friendships, understanding and acceptance of the racial, cultural and ideological differences among different nations.
The other project I introduced, is the Online Encyclopedia of Crafts in Asia Pacific Region which had already been launched in September last year 2019 in Kokand during the First International Handicrafts Festival. To continue this project in all the other regions, I have already discussed initiating an “Online Encyclopedia of Crafts in Latin America” with Dr. Alberto de Betolaza, Immediate Past President of L.A., who has already started connecting with the writers. I hope that, in the coming years, I can work, together with the other Regional Presidents, to complete this project where, in the future, we will have in hand, a World Craft Encyclopedia.
I presume that these two new projects will add to the value of the prior two main ones, namely, the WCC-World Craft City and the WCC-Award of Excellence for Handicrafts.
WCC already has an established mission and vision. Every vision and mission crystalizes and materializes with good planning, hard work, dedication, and solid support whether moral or substantial. Our duty as its successive Presidents is to refresh the vision and add to it our visionary and strategic input to develop, strengthen and sustain it over the coming years.
As well, the objectives of WCC are to revive and preserve the human cultural heritage, and to fulfill the aspirations of the artisans, the creators and custodians of such valuable heritage. In this respect, we are responsible for protecting the rights of these creators and for assuring the availability of required raw materials for them. A good number of policies and programmes had been implemented for this purpose. Such valuable people of the society must be given due respect, acknowledgement and appreciation as they, not only meet our needs, but more importantly, they also beautify our life with the production of their skilled dexterous hands and talented creative minds.
I would like to conclude by expressing my high appreciation to the current/retiring President of WCC-International Ms.Rosy Greenlees, and thanking the Executive Board for their cooperation through the past term. Special thanks to Ms.Louise Allen, past President of WCC-Europe Region for leaving me with an active Region, i.e. Europe, whose new President Ms.Elisa Guidi will be, with the other Board Members, a good asset to work with. Lastly, I can say that without the trust, support and collaboration of the APR Board, Secretariat and Members, none of my efforts would have been successful.
I am looking forward to working collectively with the re-elected and the new Board Members of WCC Board in a friendly atmosphere and cooperative spirit so as to be able to achieve several milestones, in the hope that our efforts come to fruition. Lastly, I take the pledge with God’s help and with your support and collaborative efforts, to keep WCC active and thriving in the next forthcoming term (2021-2024).
President Elect of WCC-International (2021-2024)
Wednesday, Dec. 9th, 2020 (19th WCC G.A. 2020)