December 18, 2015
Zonta Club of Nassau celebrated 33 years as a service club in The Bahamas in 2015. In recognition of this milestone, Zonta International and the Zonta Club of Nassau honored 12 distinguished women in the organization who would have served for 25 or more years. A ‘Recognition of Excellence Awards’ ceremony was held, December 10, at Government House Ballroom. Presenting the awards was Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor General. Also presenting were Karen Pati, District 11 Governor, Zonta International, and Bernadette Gibson, President of Zonta Club of Nassau.
Judy Munroe, the Charter President, along with four charter members who established the club in 1982 were given special recognition as trailblazers who worked steadfastly to uphold the Zonta’s theme ‘Empower women through service and advocacy,’ consistent with the ideals of the parent organization, Zonta International -- 1,200 clubs in 67 countries -- which has been a powerful advocate for change throughout world since its inception in 1919.
The Zonta Club of Nassau has an impressive record of advancing the status of women and girls and also in improving conditions generally in local Bahamian communities.
Most notable was the creation of two foundations: The AIDS Foundation created by Zonta in 1992 is at the forefront of the fight against HIV and AIDS, through health education and prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Another success story is the PACE Foundation which provides support for teen mothers enabling them to continue their education, become responsible mothers and contributing members of the society.
Zonta gives an annual award of a science scholarship for a Family Island female to The College of The Bahamas, an annual UN Essay Competition that enables winners to visit the United Nations, and has formed Zonta youth Clubs within the educational system. The Golden Z-Club at The College of The Bahamas and the Z-Club at St. John’s College encourage young women to participate in public and political life and instill in them, at an early age, leadership qualities and the importance of service.
Violence against Women has been an important platform for Zonta at the international and local levels. Both the Zonta Club of Nassau and the Zonta Club of New Providence have partnered with the Women’s Crisis Centre to raise awareness of, and improve education about, violence against women and children, a serious issue throughout world that deserves serious attention.
Zonta Club of Nassau has also been an advocate for uplifting the less fortunate in the society – both women and men, through its literacy programmes in primary schools, health and empowerment workshops, environmental projects and partnership programmes with various agencies. The Salvation Army, the Red Cross and the Persis Rodgers Home for the Aged receive annual financial grants from the Club.
Zonta Club of Nassau is a diverse group of professional businesswomen -- educators, bankers, lawyers, hoteliers, tourism executives, insurance professionals, entrepreneurs and senior government officials.
Bahamas Information Services
Front row, seated from left: Judy Munroe, Charter President/Zonta Club of Nassau, Bernadette Gibson, President/Zonta Club of Nassau, Her Excellency, Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor General, Karen Pati, District 11 Governor/Zonta International, Ruthann Rolle, President Elect/Zonta Club of Nassau. Standing, from left: Carmen Gomez, Honoree; Earla Bethel, Honoree; Stephanie Unwala, Charter Member & Honoree; Majorie Davis, Charter Member & Honoree; Vylma Thompson-Curling, Charter Vice-President & Honoree; Malvern Bain, Honoree; Karen Carey, Honoree; Angela Cleare, Honoree; Camille, Lady Barnett, Honoree; and Patricia Francis, Honoree. Missing from the photo: Orinthia Nesbeth, Charter Member & Honoree. (BIS Photo/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)