Celebrating the Human Rights of Older Persons

report from Dr. Hava Bugajer-Gleitman


On 1 October 2018 the House of European Union in Vienna marked the International Day of Older Persons.

The event, prepared by the Vienna NGO Committee on Ageing, turned out to be very successful. The audience of more than one hundred national and international persons included UN officers, representatives of Austrian ministries and NGOs. Unfortunately, it fell during Sukkot holiday, so no Israeli official was able to attend.

Fourteen speakers reported and discussed discrimination of older persons and of aged women in past and present times as well as this group’s special needs and problems.

Dr. Alexandre Sidorenco, former head of the United Nations Program on Ageing, reported about various UN Human Rights Resolutions regarding ageing and their implementation. He pointed out the need of a United Nations Convention on Ageing.

WIZO was able to strengthen its position and profile by contributing two important speakers.


Keynote speaker was Shams Assadi, head of the Department for Human Rights of the City of Vienna, who has visited Israel in the past with a delegation of the City of Vienna. She was our guest in WIZO Austria’s DCC at Maya Rosenberg’s school and at the Weizman Institute in Rehovot.

The famous 87-year-old actress and chansonniere Topsy Küppers was our “Champion of Human Rights”. Topsy looks back at an international career. She has directed various theatres and is author of several books. Almost her entire life she has dedicated herself to authors and persons that were forgotten or excluded from society or that lost their homeland.

Topsy gave a powerful performance, reading and speaking, dancing and singing, accompanied by a band of three musicians. She spread positive energy on stage and through to the audience. With “Jerushalaim Shel Zahav”, that she was sung in German, English and in Hebrew, she pointed out her great love of Jerusalem and of Israel, where she has performed many times.

Topsy became the attraction of the entire event by transmitting  hope and good mood. I cannot remember an event in the House of the European Union that managed to spread joy and optimism as Topsy’s performance did.

“WIZO’s guests are always TOP” was among the compliments that we were happy to receive.

WIZO is listed in the alphabetic list of NGOs in the Brochure and invitation that will be placed on CoNGO’s website.

The delicious cakes for the coffee break that were delivered by WIZO’s ladies also contributed to us being “the talk of the town”.