Tayde de Callataÿ, new President of the International Association of Charities (AIC), the Oldest Lay Association in the History of Volunteering

by | Mar 27, 2023 | International Association of Charities - Ladies of Charity, News

The Assembly of the International Association of Charities (AIC), meeting under the theme “Citizens of the world, walking united in hope”, concluded on March 24 with the election of the new international president. Mrs. Tayde de Callataÿ, of Belgium (former Secretary of the outgoing Executive Committee, Coordinator for Europe and the Middle East, Project Manager and President of AIC-Solidarité) was elected international president by the more than 150 AIC delegates representing the presidents and national councils of the various countries, gathered in Frascati (province of Rome, Italy) from March 21 to 24. Tayde de Callataÿ takes over from Rose de Lima Ramanankavana, from Madagascar, who presided over AIC for the three-year term that has just ended.

“I would like to thank you for the trust you have placed in me,” said the newly elected President, addressing the Assembly and the newly elected Executive Committee, thanking the volunteers, the collaborators and all those she has met along the way within the Association. “You have allowed me to discover and appreciate the immense richness of the AIC network: deeply committed, creative and generous volunteers working as a team in a spirit of fraternal and spiritual communion; impressive work done day after day, all over the world, for the good of our sisters and brothers most in need; the wonderful Vincentian charism shows us the way and unites us in a special way.”

Newly elected president Tayde de Callataÿ thanked God for “the immense gift he has given me by inviting me one day to follow him through this magnificent work that the Holy Spirit inspired in St. Vincent de Paul more than 400 years ago.” The new president looked at the current situation with hope: “The current context is worrying in many ways, especially for the most vulnerable people whom we accompany. We have stressed this several times during this meeting and the testimonies we have heard confirm it. Within our association, we have to highlight and face important challenges in order to continue our mission today and for many years to come”.

She called for confidence and shared this deep conviction with the assembly, pointing out the many reasons for it: “Confidence, first of all, because we know that the Holy Spirit inspires and guides us in our beautiful Vincentian mission so that, day after day, we make the Gospel come alive;” and secondly “confidence because we can count on the example and teachings of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. The charism of our beloved Founders nourishes us, sets us on our way with joy, and gives us the strength, determination and passion we need to meet the challenges we face, even the most complex ones.” Confidence also in the initiative and adaptability of the volunteers, “because in the many crisis situations encountered in the field, the AIC volunteers have shown an extraordinary creativity and ability to adapt.” A confidence, a hope nourished also by the AIC network of more than 100,000 volunteers in more than 56 countries of the world, daily at the service of the most disadvantaged brothers and sisters to build a better world together: “because we can count on each other and help each other not only within our AIC but also within the great Vincentian Family.”

Rooted in the Vincentian charism, walking together, being open and welcoming change are the three priorities for the next three years. “We return to our respective countries convinced that, yes, we really can bring change to the lives of the poorest. It is not an easy path, but it is possible,” stressed the newly appointed president of AIC: “I wish you all the richness of sharing cultures and the enthusiasm of this meeting, both on a personal and associative level. Let us transmit the joy of having lived the experience of being part of a big family, united by the same faith and the same ideals.”

Submitted by: Elena Grazini