Networking breakfast at AICI 2011

November 25, 2011Gender Equality and Career Development Committee (GEC)


Networking breakfast organized by the IUIS Committee on Career Development and Gender Equality in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, on November 5th 2012

Breakfast-AIC-Victoria-Falls-2A highly successful African International Conference on Immunity (AIC) was held for the second time in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, November 3-7, 2012.  The first one took place in 2007. Dr. Elopy Sibanda from Zimbabwe and Dr. Rudolf Valenta from Austria served as scientific organizers of both meetings, ably supported by the Scientific Organizing Committee.  The meeting was generously sponsored by the European Federation of Immunology Societies (EFIS) and the European Journal of Immunology (EJI).  In addition to exciting scientific sessions and a rich educational and social program, the IUIS Committee on Gender Equality and Career Development (GECD) organized a networking breakfast that was attended by equal numbers of senior women scientists and their junior colleagues.  There was an informal exchange of personal experiences and useful advice on what it takes under many different social and geographic circumstances to have a fulfilling professional and personal life.  The most useful part of this meeting, as indicated by the participants, was that junior women scientists currently struggling with these issues got to meet their senior colleagues who have successfully handled them.   In other words, they could see that this was possible.  In addition, women were made aware of several ongoing IUIS activities, especially of the IUIS Education Committee, which they were advised to follow closely on the IUIS website for career development opportunities. 

Because GECD is a new IUIS committee and still developing its plan of action, the participants were asked for suggestions on what the committee could do at least in short term to assist them in their efforts.  The suggestions were: 1) to develop the GECD web site into a resource page with direct links to international organizations that aid women in their professional development; 2) to create a list of established women scientists who would be willing mentors for junior women; 3) to maintain as much as possible person-to-person contacts that get established during organized meetings such as this one; 4) to organize these gatherings as often as possible.  GEDC will work on all these suggestions.

Breakfast-AIC-Victoria-FallsBreakfast attendees (incomplete list):

Olivera (Olja) Finn, Distinguished Professor, Co-Chair GECD, USA (
Catherine Sautès-Fridman, Professor, EFIS President, France (
Christine Gwawrura, Chief Scientist, Zimbabwe (
Faith Osier, Postdoctoral Fellow, Kenya (
Lucy Mupfumi, Research Fellow, Zimbabwe, (
Yvonne Dube, Undergraduate Student, Zimbabwe (
Shenu Dron, MPhil Student (University of Botswana), Zimbabwe (
Portia Ndlovu, Medical Lab Scientist, Zimbabwe (
Lynette Munamati, Technical manager, Zimbabwe National Quality Assurance Program, Zimbabwe (
Eva Wollmann, PhD Student, Austria (
Daniela Gallerano, PhD Student, Austria (
Sabelle Jallow, The Gambia (
Maria Montoya, Spain (
Noma Ndiweni, Biochemistry Lecturer and Dean, National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe (
Rebecca Tadokara, PhD Student, Zimbabwe and South Africa (
Ursual Wiedermann-Schmidt, Austria (


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