Written by Lisette Shirdan-Harris|April 17, 2018|News

Over 100 U.S. judges and their guests converged upon Buenos Aires, Argentina for the 14th IAWJ Biennial International Conference “Building Bridges Between Women Judges of the World”. The delegation was joined by 800 other judges from around the world representing 73 countries to share experiences, renew old acquaintances, and make new friends. It was also a great chance for NAWJ members to spend time with fellow members NAWJ members from around the country.

The weather, although rainy for most of the conference, did not deter the 900 attendees from taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Argentina, including the view outside of the conference venue, Puente de la Mujer (Bridge of Women), Tango Shows, and outdoor “hippie fairs.”

The sessions started with the Opening Ceremony at the beautiful Teatro Colon with greetings from 2016-2018 IAWJ President Susana Medina of Argentina and the Vice-President of the Supreme Court Argentina, Elena Highton de Nolasco, followed by a rousing Roll Call of Nations.  Topics for the conference ranged from a showing of the movie “The Judge” that documented women judges breaking barriers in Palestine, to a session on “New Technologies and Gender”, which was moderated by NAWJ International Director Judge Lisette Shirdan-Harris.  The U.S. Embassy in Argentina hosted a lovely reception of which the U.S. delegation attended.

At the North American Regional meeting, the U.S. delegation met their Canadian counterparts and elected the North American delegates to the board for 2018-2010. Judge Lisette Shirdan-Harris was re-elected to a two-year term as NAWJ delegate to the IAWJ Board, and Justice Julie Thorburn was nominated by her association’s President and elected to a two-year term as the representative for the Canadian Association. The Biennial provided an opportunity for NAWJ President Justice Tanya R. Kennedy to hold a brief meeting with the U.S. judges in attendance.

At the Closing Business meeting on Saturday, NAWJ Past President Judge Vanessa Ruiz, was installed as IAWJ President for 2018-2020, and celebrated with the entire U.S. delegation joining her on stage with matching red, white, and blue scarves, U.S. flags and musical instruments singing along to Ricky Martin’s “Vida” and ending with Sister Sledge’s “We are Family.”  The entire audience began dancing and singing along.  Everyone in attendance said farewell and thank you to Judge Susana Medina of Argentina for her service as IAWJ President over the past two years. She and her fellow AMJA members planned and hosted a conference that won’t soon be forgotten. The grand finale was the Closing Gala with a Parade of Nations.  Each attendee dressed in their country’s native attire and the came in to cheers from all. The U.S. came in with all of our fabulous individuality! There were glitches, flaws, fun, learning, exchanges, and most of all, sisterhood in Argentina.

Other NAWJ members and their guests included the Hon. Patricia A. Broderick; Hon. Kristen Byrdsong; Hon. Joy Campanelli; Hon. Cheryl D. Cesario; Jane Charles-Voltaire; Hon. Judith C. Chirlin; Hon. Mary McGowan Davis; Hon. Cindy D. Davis; Lisa Davis (IAWJ Ex. Director); Hon. Marian C. Doherty; Hon. Marguerite Denis Downing;  Hon. Mary Ann Driscoll; Hon. Robin K. Sheares; Hon. Mary W. Sheffield; Hon. Marjory D. Fields; Hon. Ellen Flatley; Hon. Patricia L. Garcia; Hon. Victoria L. Ghartey; Hon. Bonnie Lee Goldstein; Hon. Anne Goldstein; Hon. Sophia H. Hall; Hon. Nancy Hendry; Hon. Heidi Henle; Hon. Mary E. Henry; Hon. Michelle Capers Hollar-Gregory; Hon. Catherine J. Hoskins; Hon. Patricia Ann Hurst; Hon. Susan Iannelli; Hon. Tamila Ebrahimi Ipema; Hon. Sally (Salwa) Kader; Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy; Hon. Lydia Y. Kirkland; Hon. Sabrina Bebe Kraus; Hon. Linda K. Lager; Hon. Elizabeth K. Lee; Hon. Cassandra Lewis; Hon. Brenda Stith Loftin; Hon. Patricia Lynch; Hon. Patricia A. Macias; Hon. Rosalind K. Malloy; Hon. Peg A. Mangan; Hon. Mary Masulla; Hon. Jamoa A. Moberly; Hon. Linda Strite Murnane; Hon. Brenda P. Murray; Hon. Amy L. Nechtem; Hon. Lori Alison Oesterreic; Hon. Heidi M. Pasichow; Hon. Doris A. Pechkurow; Hon. Karen K Peters; Hon. Joanne D. Quinones; Hon. Lisa M. Rau; Hon. Rosalyn Richter ; Hon. Gloria M. Rincones; Hon. Mary Rowlands; Hon. Vanessa Ruiz; Hon. Jeanette Ruiz; Hon. Enedina Pilar Sanchez; Hon. Lisette Shirdan-Harris; Hon. Bea Ann Smith; Silvana Stanga; Hon. Laura Stein; Hon. Janice A. Taylor; Hon. Carolyn Engel Temin; Hon. Bobbi Tillmon; Hon. Sally E. Unger; Priyanka Vakil; Hon. Michele A. Varricchio; Hon. Margaret Walsh; Hon. Elizabeth Allen White; Hon. G. Helen Whitener; and Hon. Sue Pai Yang.


For more information about the National Association of Women Judges contact NAWJ at For more information about the International Association of Women Judges contact IAWJ at  

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