Guest speaker stops the show
SHE currently holds the position of detective senior sergeant with the Australian Federal Police, is a dedicated wife, mother and proud grandma of five but on Sunday morning, Tanya Swift took time out of her neverending schedule to visit the Whitsundays to speak at Zonta’s International Women’s Day high tea.
She wowed audiences with her war torn tales, sending goose bumps and shivers down spines as she talked about facing suicide bombers, kidnappings, missile and small arms attack while living in Afghanistan. Zontarian Cath Fernbach said on behalf of the club that they were honoured to have Ms Swift’s presence and wisdom on the day.
“[She] demonstrates the many qualities that successful women aspire to; courage integrity and compassion,” she said.
Ms Swift was the first woman to hold the prestigious role of chief co-ordinator for the International Police Coordination Board.
In this role, she was responsible for overseeing the process of Afghan Police re- form. Her presence in Afghanistan challenged cultural norms for Afghani society where women are often not encouraged or valued in the workplace.
The International Police Coordination Team that Ms Swift led was responsible for guiding the Afghani Police Service towards developing a professional police force that reflected Afghani values without imposing Western values and systems.
A champion for women’s rights at ground level, Ms Swift’s work in Afghanistan put her at great personal risk and for this she was awarded a bravery award by the Australian Council for Women and Policing.
However, despite all she had seen, she was ever-so humble and courteous – spending the day meeting with other striking individuals and inspiring younger women.
A strong crowd of around 120 people attended Waterline on Shingley for the International Women’s Day celebrations. This was the eleventh event held by the Zonta Club of the Whitsundays that honoured the day.