Zonta Club of Brussel Zavel Finds an Original Way to Celebrate YWPA Winners

On 22 April, the Zonta Club of Brussel Zavel hosted their annual Young Woman in Public Affairs (YWPA) Award ceremony over Zoom with 46 participants.

Despite the COVID-19 burden on the shoulder of schools and their principals, they had a winner this year: Eveline Soetens of the Royal Atheneum in Etterbeek, Brussels. The club found that Eveline met the conditions of the YWPA-award perfectly;

She is an enterprising and socially committed young student because:

  • She takes the lead within her school.
  • She is committed to leading roles outside the school walls.
  • She is clearly familiar with and interested in other cultures.
  • She stands up for equal rights of women.

What struck the Zonta Club of Brussel Zavel most was her audacity in recent years. Every five years, Eveline tends to move to a different country. As she wraps up her five years in Belgium, she will be moving to Amsterdam for medical school, and says her next stop for her studies will certainly be the United States.

For the second part of the ceremony, the Zonta club counted on the contributions from previous YWPA-winners. They were asked to prepare a speech answering the following questions: What are you doing today? What did winning the YWPA award mean to you?

The Zonta Club of Brussels Zavel received testimonials from Lina Kestemont (2006), Rozanne Descheemaeker (2009), Charlotte Landsheere (2012), Celine De Keersmaeker (2014), Kaat Lambrechts (2017), Shaurnally Koumar (2018) and Emma Wijers (2019).

The club was very touched by these personal, enthusiastic, warm, and inspiring testimonials and they could only conclude how wonderful these YWPA winners are, who they have chosen in the past.

In addition to the YWPA selection, Angelique Van Ombergen, was the guest speaker for the meeting. Since 2019, Angelique has worked at the European Space Agency (ESA). Her Ph.D. involved research on how the brain of astronauts adapts to space travel. In 2018, she won the Flemish Ph.D. Cup, a prize for the scientist who succeeds in making their research understandable to the wider audience. In February 2019, she was listed by the business magazine Forbes in the '30 Under 30', influential and promising people under 30", in the category 'sciences and healthcare.

Angelique was a 2016-2017 recipient of the Amelia Earhart Fellowship. She is also the former president of Young Antwerp Golden Z Club.

Angelique gave an inspiring presentation with one important moral of the story: Yes, You Can, and a Zonta award can certainly help you on the road to a dream.

In honor of showcasing the local female entrepreneurs in Belgium, the club chose two businesses that encompasses their objective, “Honor and Empower Women!” To represent Brussels, Maison Cantillon, founded by Soraya Cantillon was chosen. The company chosen to represent outside of Brussels was La Buena Tierra, founded by Maria Jané.

It was a memorable day in the YWPA history for the Zonta Club of Brussel Zavel.

The winners repeatedly said that they will remember this YWPA recognition forever and they appreciated the efforts of the jury of the club who helped them in their personal and professional growth.