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What Puts the "I" in LLLI Conference?

From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 19 No. 6, November-December 2002, pp. 227

Every LLL gathering is similar to a family reunion. No matter their background or other differences, all who attend believe that breastfeeding is best for the baby, the family, and even the world.

The LLLI Conference is unique in that it is the gathering of the world family of breastfeeding. The "I," after all, in LLLI stands for International. Representatives come from well over 60 different countries and all corners of the globe.

At the upcoming Conference in San Francisco, California, USA (July 3-6, 2003), speakers from Austria, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, Swaziland, Sweden, and the United States will present sessions. There will be simultaneous interpretation in Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish of all major sessions. Press releases will be available in English, French, and Spanish for all Leaders attending the Conference. The Alumnae Association will hold an orientation meeting for all new attendees that is especially helpful to attendees from outside the US. Poster Sessions will allow participants from around the world to share their programs, studies, and special projects as well as afford them extra opportunities in seeking funding sources to attend the Conference.

In addition, global sessions that offer participants a chance to take a more active role are also planned. The general aim of these sessions will be to discuss breastfeeding promotion through diverse actions. These interactive sessions focus on taking action:

  • Through collaborative activities to ensure a place for breastfeeding promotion, protection and support;
  • To ensure breastfeeding in populations where hunger is a fact of life;
  • To address breastfeeding as a human rights issue and to explore informed consent versus informed choice;
  • To ensure breastfeeding through legislation and public health policy and international documents;
  • To ensure breastfeeding through projects, studies, and surveys (10 poster presentations); and
  • To ensure breastfeeding through the health care system.

Each presenter will discuss an aspect of the session topic, after which at least 10 suggested actions will be brainstormed with participants. Participants then select five proposed actions, which will be assigned to each table for discussion, development, and completion. Perhaps participants will decide to form an email discussion group, write a letter to the United Nations, or design a Web page.

Whatever they do, they will immediately begin to support breastfeeding on some level, thus helping to create a world where breastfeeding is the norm. Each table will designate a leader of the discussion, who will also report to the whole group at the end of the session. At each session there will be at least one focus table that will be conducted in a language other than English.

No matter how far you will travel, no matter how different your culture from the host country, no matter your native language, come share your particular diversity and strength at La Leche League International's 18th Breastfeeding Conference: Strength through Diversity; Creating One Breastfeeding World, July 3-6, 2003.

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