Clags Participates in the Ford Foundation Convening at Hanoi

For two days before the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS) conference in Hanoi, the Ford Foundation Global Sexuality, Research, and Advocacy Portfolio organized a convening for its grantees. I was lucky enough to attend this event, which was organized around the theme Sexualities and Reproductivities: Strengthening the Quality of Global Research and Advocacy.
Despite the inelegance of its title, the convening itself was an
exciting mixture of Ford grantees from around the world, especially the global South. It was organized around several
panels that engaged central issues for those of us working in sexuality studies and sexual reproductive health and rights: what are the most useful paradigms for imagining questions of gender and sexuality? How do we effectively share resources and knowledge? How can non-profit non-governmental organizations working with such hot-button issues as sexuality and reproductive rights survive and thrive in these challenging financial times? How do we make and maintain lasting transnational connections, given the inequities of resources between countries and regions?
This meeting was an ideal environment to promote the work of the IRN, and to connect with scholars, advocates, and activists working in the fields of sexual rights and sexuality studies. In the various panels and in the more informal lunches and breaks, I met Ford grantees for whom the IRN could be a valuable resource, not only for sharing their experiences working in the field, and the results of more formal research, but also as a source of scholarly analyses of the regions in which they were engaged. It was also a crash course in the jargon of foundations and NGOs!
The convening also marked the transition of leadership for the Global Sexuality, Research, and Advocacy portfolio from the redoubtable Barbara Klugman to the intrepid Margaret Hempel. Barbara has long been an advocate of the IRN and a supporter of the IRN’s philosophy of the decentralized dissemination of knowledge among transnational networks, both interpersonal and electronic. We’ll miss her greatly, but we’re excited to get to know Margaret, whose experience and dynamism are impressive.
I hope, too, to maintain the connections I made at the convening.
These two days (and the IASSCS conference that followed) reminded me again of how vibrant and innovative are the networks that the IRN is entering into and, if we can be ambitious in our goals, expanding and enriching.