There are moments in time when the character and vision of an organization, and the staff who have arrived fortuitously together, create something quite unique and memorable. So it was at Counterpart’s 50th Anniversary Global Meeting, held in November.

More than 100 staff joined together, with representatives from 20 field offices from around the world, to learn from each other and look ahead to the next 50 years. The #50FORWARD event combined training and strategic discussions with that all-important personal time spent getting to know each other. As Diane Lamberg-Liszkay, our Chief of Party (CoP) in the Democratic Republic of Congo noted, “It was very exciting to not only meet my fellow CoP colleagues from around the world but also to meet face-to-face with colleagues at headquarters whom I had only spoken to over Skype. I could finally not only picture Counterpart in terms of individuals representing the organization but also the philosophy of the organization and its spirit.”

Joan Parker, Counterpart’s chief executive officer, pointed out that the 2015 Global Meeting was an opportunity to touch our guide stars and founders – Betty Silverstein and Father Stan Hosie – and reaffirm their vision. At the 25th Anniversary celebration, Betty Silverstein said that many people felt the organization’s approach “represented the wave of the future for international development agencies.” As Joan emphasized, “That wave brings us here today, still embracing their philosophy that local people should solve local challenges. We are building the capacity of the social sector to be a vibrant and unwavering force for social good.”

The 50th Anniversary Global Meeting was “a true experience of diversity, knowledge-sharing and awareness of our success – success in the fact that our work is meaningful, but also the success of the staff Counterpart has around the world,” said Oriane Boudinot, a program associate at HQ. “It was such a great opportunity to meet the different leaders of our projects and it makes me proud to be part of such an ecosystem that strives to make a difference,” added Oriane.

For Bedilu Shegen, the COP for Malawi, the meeting was an “inspiring week…like one big family event where we share our experiences, passions and hopes about the work we do with Counterpart.”

For me, the meeting was the coming together of months of planning that culminated in an experience I will never forget. I had the honor of being with courageous people who work in difficult and dangerous situations all over the world – Counterpart staff truly in service, never losing hope and always holding on to a vision of a better, more just and peaceful world.

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