Introducing WIN's Inaugural Conference

Ida Nowers, WIN's Law and Policy Co-ordinator talks about the experience of planning WIN's first conference.

Joining WIN as Law and Policy Co-ordinator just six weeks ago, I have found myself in the middle of an incredibly busy yet undeniably pivotal moment for the network. This week WIN takes a huge step towards its goal to become the civil society centre of excellence in whistleblowing – as we are hosting our first ever conference, Protecting Whistleblowers, Making a Difference: Best Practices for Civil Society Advocates, in Glasgow on the 11th and 12th September.
Over 80 delegates from 25 countries will be convening to share expertise in the law and practice of whistleblowing. The focus will be on peer-to-peer learning and skills development - specifically in protecting whistleblowers and advancing public interest disclosures.
Attendees are mostly NGOs that are committed in some way to whistleblowing but a selection of experts in the field including academics and journalists will be contributing to the interdisciplinary and cross border collaboration of the WIN networking space.
This is the first time that our Member and Associate organisations will meet to share best practices, hear about others’ challenges and successes - identifying new tools and strategies to advance whistleblowing protections globally.
Though initial interest in the event was overwhelming, WIN’s mission is to connect and strengthen civil society organisations. We wanted to ensure that our Members and Associates were prioritised and that we were providing them with skills and knowledge that would be of benefit to the work they are doing on the ground all over the world.
We are always working to expand our activities to benefit our growing number of Member and Associate organisations. We understand that whistleblowing has become a frontline issue for democratic accountability around the world so, don’t worry, we intend for this first conference to be one of many events to come and we will be engaging with the range of organisations, experts and groups that make up the whistleblowing community.
The two-day conference includes a number of plenary sessions, panel discussions and practical workshops. Delegates will learn about the different models of our founding organisations, and how they work, with contributions from our members in the US, Ireland and Serbia.
We have designed a dedicated session to the EU Directive that will focus on the civil society collaboration which made it happen, as well as its important legal elements. We will also be offering interactive workshops where delegates will engage with topics such as working with journalists, leveraging research for effective advocacy, and best practices in developing independent advice services for whistleblowers and in working with employers.
We are very excited about the session examining the LuxLeaks case from different angles. Moderated by our Executive Director, Anna Myers, key players will give an insider’s perspective of one of the most influential whistleblowing cases in the last fifty years.  
Several experts will explore the impact technological advancements have had on whistleblowing protections and explore the opportunities technology may offer for future civil society efforts in our final plenary session, ‘Whistleblowing in the Tech Age’.
We will celebrate and thank all our delegates with a closing dinner held at the Glasgow Art Club. We are delighted to have former MEP Virginie Rozière as our guest speaker, and to have the Scottish Information Commissioner, Mr Daren Fitzhenry, join us and make a toast. The dinner is to thank all those attending for all the hard work they have done over the years to advance whistleblower protections worldwide.
We are delighted to have a couple of side-events happening before the conference too! One is a meeting of associates from Latin America and Europe on advancing whistleblowing as a public good in Latin America. This will follow up on the Valencia Declaration made in April 2019 and is an exciting example of civil society supporting each other across borders!
WIN is so pleased that Transparency International is holding a meeting on a European project they are running with their chapters here at our offices at Brunswick House. These chapters and many more from across the globe will be joining us at the conference afterwards.
We will close next week with our AGM, which brings together our Board of Trustees and Member organisations together to discuss WIN’s progress so far and our plans for the year ahead. We are delighted so many Associates will also be attending.
For me, it has been genuinely heart-warming to see the overwhelmingly positive response of all those we are inviting to attend and participate in the conference as well as from the other supporters, funders, and whistleblowers who are joining us next week.
If you are interested in our conference, you can follow along any real time updates using the #WINCon19 hashtag on Twitter.
If you have any questions regarding WINCon19, the resource library or any other of our upcoming activities please contact us

9th September 2019