By Denise Grocke
Prof. Cheryl Dileo was appointed President of the WFMT at the World Congress in Vitoria, Gasteiz, Spain. She served from July 1993 to July 1996. Below is a transcript of an interview with her as she recalls her time as President. The interviewer is Denise Grocke.
There was an increase and growing involvement of individuals from Latin America and from countries that were not typically represented in the Congress in Spain, and a growing commitment for all of us to become more connected internationally. The WFMT had been in existence for 3-4 years, and people were looking to WFMT for guidance, support and direction. WFMT provided a structure with which countries could be a part of the WFMT, and could provide a ready means of communication as well as guidelines for practice.
In the period previous to my term, there was intensive work by the commissions to develop guidelines for education and ethics. We developed a questionnaire to compile information on training courses, and drafted guidelines for ethics and research, as well as formalised the structure of WFMT. We created a mechanism for inviting members onto the Council to represent all the major areas of the world, with particular consideration for those countries in which activities were beginning to emerge.
One highlight was the formalisation of incorporation of the WFMT as a non-profit organisation in New Jersey according to American law. Also, I had the opportunity to visit many countries (e.g., China, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Japan), during my time as President and to meet and speak directly with international colleagues. We had opportunities to have council meetings 3-4 times between conferences and to engage in frequent dialogue and communication among the council members, even before the onset of the internet!
The Constitution and By-Laws of WFMT were voted on in Spain. Ruth Bright (the previous President) brought a draft of these documents, which was revised and voted on at the WFMT meeting in Vitoria. The formalisation of the WFMT with a Constitution and formal status was very important, as was the expanded Council structure.
Other seeds that were sown were the Guidelines for Ethics and Research, and the creation of a Newsletter. I served on the Council of WFMT for 18 years altogether, as Commission Chair, President and then business manager.
Giving voice to countries that up until then had not been included in discussions of the WFMT stands out as the legacy from my Presidency. I actively sought involvement of colleagues from South America, China and Japan, and representatives from various areas of the world were included in the membership of Commissions so that the Council had direct information about developments in those countries.