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I have just terminated attending the second Leadership and Accountability Programme Committee (LAPC) meeting to prepare  for the next International Aids Conference. It has been 2 days of hard work. Yesterday from 9 until 7 pm and today from 8,30 until 4. But I am amazed about how much work we have  done. It is very inspiring to be locked up in a room with such a bunch of committed people.

Our job was distributed between planning plenary sessions (the massive sessions at the beginning of the day where everybody participates), working on 10 sessions which are called ‘Non Abstract Driven Sessions’, and 10 Skills Building Sessions.

The final word on the plenary sessions is given by the Conference Coordinating Committee, and the basic outline of 9 sessions were already given. However we were able to recommend speakers and also to signpost  the topic of 3 plenary sessions. I also really pushed for the recommendation that each plenary should have a positive speaker. I am very happy about this. I have also made a recommendation for a speaker for a plenary session. She is an amazing activist…I will say no more and keep my fingers crossed.  But I have let other positive women from other committees know about her so that they can also support her.

The ‘Non Abstract Driven Sessions’ we planned are also really interesting and include an Open Call for an elected leader to come out about their HIV status. This would have an incredible impact on stigma in countries with high prevalence,  especially Africa. We also have sessions about developing leadership in ‘Key’ population( I have learn that ‘key population’ is a better word for ‘marginalized’).  Other very exciting ideas are:  a session were the youth will hold leaders accountable and another one about De(criminalization), which will include drug use, sexual transmission, sex work,  and really explore the relationship between criminal law and public health.

The 10 skills building sessions were divided into two groups: 5 focusing on accountability skills  and 5 on leadership. I am really happy because we were able to push on the agenda a  ‘Leadership Skills for Women” session, and we hope to have it facilitated by a network of positive African women. Another skill building session we have put on the agenda which is very close to my heart  is leadership skills for drug users, which we hope we can also  offer in Russian.

Those are the highlights of the work we have done, but I tell you, we have been discussing for something close to 18 hours (and probably more since the discussions carried on during dinner lunch and breakfast). My head is still buzzing.

After the meeting I decided to find out the route to  Pure Yoga, the Ashtanga Yoga Studio of Vienna. I studied the map, took the underground, walked around a bit, and now I know the way. Tomorrow, before getting on the plane, I will treat my self to some Austrian Yoga. So I know that when I will get back here for my next meetings, and  maybe even during the conference, I can squeeze a good yoga practice in. That’s all I need to be happy…

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