Our news

127th Meeting of the Executive Committee 7 January 2016


Leila Benkirane

Alejandro Bonilla Garcia

Jean Erhardt

Sylvie Jacque

René Kirszbaum

Cécile Molinier

Paul Rolian

Christina Schröder

Per Sjögren

Manuela Tortora


  1. Agenda: The agenda (EC/127) was adopted.



  1. Membership of the EC. With a view to the forthcoming changes in the officers of the EC, it was proposed that Marc Weidmann join the EC, since he was interested in taking on the role of Treasurer. This was agreed.


  1. Officers of the EC. René had concluded his consultations, and, following some further discussion at the meeting, was in a position to propose the following slate of officers:


President                    Alejandro Bonilla Garcia

Vice-President           Manuela Tortora

Vice-President           Jean Erhardt

Secretary                    Sylvie Jacque

Treasurer                    Marc Weidmann

Assistant Secretary    Leila Benkirane


René expressed his thanks to the EC for their support and patience through the years of his mandate, and expressed confidence that Greycells would be in good hands with the new team. He and the out-going officers remained of course on the EC, and could lend a hand as required. The EC expressed its appreciation to all the out-going officers and agreed that the new team would take over as of the next meeting. Alejandro, Jean and Manuela thanked the EC for the confidence shown in them.


  1. Documentation project. René indicated that he had forwarded the report on the documentation project to the Swiss authorities, as required by the terms of the agreement with them. In the end it comprised some 30 products, and had been very well received by the Swiss. The unused balance of the funds allocated would be returned to them. He would circulate the report to members of the EC. While it was tempting to seek some way of justifying the retention of this balance, e.g. for updating work, the EC concluded that it was preferable to wind up the project neatly and to take the time needed to assess what the possible next steps might be. There ensued a discussion about the best sort of platform for the products, other than paper (very voluminous); perhaps CDs or USB sticks, to complement access through the revamped website.


  1. St Gallen 2016. The working group was scheduled to meet on 8 January for an initial brainstorming about all aspects of the programme for 2016.


  1. Presentation of Greycells to ITC. Following contacts with Lilia Naas of ITC, it had been suggested that Greycells might have something to offer in terms of some aspects of that organisation’s capacity-building activities. This would have to be explored in a preliminary way so as to determine if there were grounds for such collaboration, and if so, in what domain.


  1. Alejandro indicated that the development part of the revamp of the website was now concluded. The new version would need to be transferred to the association’s server at Infomaniak, but this was a simple matter. Generally the approach had been to make the site as user-friendly as possible. The address would remain the same. Uploading material to the site would require a password.


  1. Update list of email addresses. René encouraged everyone to make sure that their personal email lists were up to date. The EC might also have to revisit the issue of out-of-date entries in various lists, especially with respect to people who had not paid dues for a number of years.



  1. 10th anniversary of Greycells. Jean reverted to this question on which he was taking the lead. In his view the approach to the celebration of Greycells’ 10 years should be ambitious, it should be a means of marketing the association, and it should be built around a theme, to be determined. It would be important to partner with others in this, in particular as the target audiences might include present staff, and the younger generation, as well as the retirees. It might also be an opportunity to review how the membership could be expanded to include more people from outside the immediate area; technology now offered ways of involving distant participants on a live basis.


  1. Contacts with ASSAFI. A meeting had taken place with representatives of this association, which aimed to assist the populations of the Ituri region of the DRC. Their principal requirement was to have some help with their IT programmes, so as to better integrate field operations with HQ. Further thought would have to be given to this, but it was already clear that software of the kind needed did exist, and that mobile phones might also be an efficient medium.


  1. Mentor/mentee programme with IOs. The programme in the UN which might have served as an example had apparently been discontinued. Nevertheless there would be a meeting on 19 January to pursue this matter further.




  1. Administration and management. a) Re contributions for 2016, there were 13 at the moment. The usual letter would have to be sent, but this would be done once the new officers were in place. The ambition should be at least to exceed the 44 paid up members of 2015. b) As for the signatures on the account at UBS, these should be changed, but this was a somewhat complicated process, for which René would start the ball rolling. In the meantime the out-going and in-coming treasurers would need to consult.


  1. Other business and date of the next meeting. Manuela reminded the EC that the mentees were to be associated with the discussion of communication questions in general, and the website in particular.


Date of the next meeting: